Two freshmen leading the point for women’s basketball

Freshmen Women Basketball players Jamie Hutcheson and Josey Hull. Photo by Brian Smith.

Freshmen Women Basketball players Jamie Hutcheson and Josey Hull. Photo by Brian Smith.

Matt Lofgren

Back when the team first came together in September, the Kent State women’s basketball players quickly realized they were without a veteran point guard to run a complex offense.

With six incoming freshmen, someone had to make the big jump from high school standout to college starter in a matter of a few weeks. Freshman Jamie Hutcheson stepped up. Averaging 8.7 points per game and 2.2 assists per game, Hutcheson and the Flashes’ offense are just getting into full swing after a slow start to the season.

“It was really hard at first. I turned the ball over a lot and it was hard to learn how to play point guard and learn how to play the Princeton offense especially,” Hutcheson said. “But I think it is getting better now.”

Hutcheson has shown flashes of excellence by starting all 19 games for the Flashes this season with three solid performances of her career high of 13 points. A big factor in Hutcheson’s improvement has been her cut down in turnovers from 5.3 turnovers per game in non-conference, to a slimmed-down 3.0 turnovers per game in the Mid-American Conference.

But Hutcheson wasn’t the only freshmen making the leap from high school to college and playing the point. Josie Hull comes in for relief for Hutcheson to act as a spark for the offense.

“The Princeton offense is a whole different perspective from high school to college; different offense, different defense especially,” Hull said. “It’s very important for us to run the offense and I do my best.”

The Flashes are 5-13 overall and 4-5 in the Mid-American Conference with two games left in the MAC West schedule.

Up next for the Flashes is the reigning WNIT Champions Toledo Rockets at 14-7 this season, 7-2 in the MAC at 12 p.m. tipoff Saturday at the M.A.C. Center where the game will be featured on SportsTime Ohio.

Flashes are 2-2 so far in a five game MAC West stretch.

The first thing most teams notice about the transition from Hutcheson to Hull is the height. Hutcheson stands at 5-foot-9 and plays a traditional drive to the basket role while Hull comes in at 5-foot-3 and uses her quickness and height to be affective.

“I like it because sometimes they think that they take me for granted, so I try to make it a spark and embarrass them,” Hull said. “I know that being short you’re quicker and you also have the advantage that the ball is right there. I like to come in on defense and work hard.”

Although she hasn’t seen a lot of minutes yet, Hull has hit some clutch 3-pointers to be that player that coach Bob Lindsay can rely on to take some heat off of Hutcheson.

Regardless of minutes on the floor, the two most important things for a point guard to do is have good ball control and run the offense. Both players have worked extensively with the junior guard Tamzin Barroilhet on the ins and outs of the team’s offense.

“Tamzin definitely helped both of us,” Hutcheson said. “I think because she ran a little bit of the point last year and she helped us learn what we had to do and what coach liked.

“They’ve been in the situation also, so they knew what we were getting into with turnovers and stuff that they could help us with,” Hull said.

One of the most apparent parts of the Flashes learning curve has been the improvement in the assist column. From averaging just over 11.6 assists per games, the Flashes are now averaging 13 assists per game under the leadership of Hutcheson and Hull.

“I think that definitely took a long time (to learn other players tendencies),” Hutcheson said. “We didn’t start getting that until conference (games). I think we know if people cut early or later now and we are able to get them the ball when they need it.”

The Flashes have two more MAC West games as they face Toledo Saturday, followed by a week-long break and then Eastern Michigan on Feb. 11 before returning to reface the MAC East. A lot of accomplishment needs to happen in that time if the Flashes want to make a run at the MAC tournament.

“I think right now it’s our defense that we need to work on,” Hutcheson said. “We need to know where everyone is and talk a lot. That’s what we need to work on the most is communication and know where everyone is on the court.”

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].