Three freshman learn from experience

Matt Lofgren

This season, the Kent State women’s basketball team welcomed in three freshmen to its roster in order to groom them for the next four years of collegiate basketball.

Tayler Stanton, a forward from Cincinnati, Ohio; Iris Butcher, a guard from Athens, Ohio; and Kate Francisco, a center from Marysville, Ohio, were all welcomed in by a roster filled with seniors.

“It’s been really valuable having all these seniors on our team,” Stanton said. “I think if we were a young team it would have been a lot harder because a lot of us are new at this, so we’re all learning at the same time and having veterans on the team is good to know what they did when they were here.”

Under the direction of 22-year head coach Bob Lindsay, the girls are in good hands making the tough transition from high school to college level.

For starters, college basketball courts are 10 feet longer than high school. Instead of four 8-minute quarters, there are two 20-minute halves.

“It’s been tough getting used to the tempo of the game,” Butcher said. “These girls are bigger and stronger. Coming from a senior in high school to a freshman in college is a completely different world; basketball is different here.”

If Lindsay has taught these girls anything, it’s that their time will come.

But for now, five seniors starting on the roster is proving to be highly beneficial to their progress.

“Coach Lindsay, he’s like in your face, wants you to get better and he really cares about how you play,” Francisco said. “But the seniors, they just tell you to work hard, and they expect you to go harder to make everyone better.”

With limited minutes, the three are making the most of what they have.

Stanton is getting the most looks at the forward position by averaging 14.9 minutes per game with 4.5 points. Butcher is getting her opportunities at the loaded guard position with 4.4 minutes and one point per game. Francisco is working hard at the stacked center position to get minutes.

“If every time I go out there and contribute positively, no matter what that means,” Butcher said. “It’s not even rebounds or defensive stops; just little things, putting them together to help the team as best you can.”

It’s a difficult sensation going from being a star in high school to performing a lesser role at the collegiate level. Between the three of them, Butcher, Francisco and Stanton can rely on one another for support as the season wears on.

Throughout the next couple of years, these freshmen will develop into key components for the Flashes drive for Mid-American Conference Championships. Leading them in the journey is Lindsay, one of the girl’s most valuable teachers on the court.

“He’s affected me because I know he knows what he’s talking about, and with my high school coach I would say ‘yeah whatever’ and move on,” Francisco said. “But with coach Lindsay I know that he knows what’s best for us.”

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].