"You look at last year, 9-21, to winning 21 games this year. The growth of these players is incredible." -WKU Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard.
A season that went further then anyone every would've dreamed in October, ended Sunday in Hot Springs, Arkansas. WKU fell 74-54 to the Lady Trojans of UALR. First-Team All-Sun Belt selection Alexis Govan gave it all she had scoring 29 points, or 53% of the team's total scoring. Yet, she received little help from the rest of her team on the offensive end. The Lady Toppers struggled defensively as well, giving up 74 points on 47% shooting by UALR.
"This has been an incredible year for our young team. A team of players that never gave up and never quit. That's what I am so proud of them. Even though we didn't perform the way we wanted to today (Sunday), we kept fighting." commented Coach Michelle Clark-Heard.
WKU got off to a nice start, jumping out to a 7-2 run. Govan hit a top of the key 3-pointer, followed by a short jumper. After that, Chastity Gooch got in on the action. UALR began to pull away but Gooch scored two baskets to keep it within single digits. Then the scoring stopped for WKU and flourished for UALR. At the half the count was 37-25. The momentum leaned neither way. That all changed during the opening four minutes of the second half. The Lady Trojans ran out to a 15-0 run and never looked back. WKU committed 19 turnovers and merely shot 35% from the floor. Saturday's hero Bianca McGee was held scoreless, despite the fact that she played 33 minutes. The semifinal exit was heartbreaking for the tournament's number three seed, but certainly exceeded the preseason expectations for the Lady Tops.
"You look at last year, 9-21, to winning 21 games this year. The growth of these players is incredible." added a surprisingly upbeat Coach Clark-Heard.
Govan and fellow First-Team All-Sun Belt selection Chastity Gooch will return for the Lady Toppers as will … the rest of the entire team. The Lady Toppers did not have a single senior on their 2012-2013 roster, making Sunday's painful loss hurt just a little less. Another reason for optimism is the fact that the Lady Toppers could receive an invite to the WNIT when the teams are announced Monday, March 18, late in the evening. Sunday's loss may have ended a conference tournament run, but the Lady Toppers just may have another left in them. All they can do now is wait.