Flashes look to remain unbeaten against St. Francis

Brad Tansey

On the heels of the best start in program history, the Kent State women’s basketball team travels to Loretto, Pa., to take on the St. Francis Red Flash.

The Flashes improved to 6-0 with Wednesday’s 77-39 victory over Youngstown State at the M.A.C. Center. It was Kent State’s ninth-straight win at home and the second home win this season.

Kent State associate coach Lori Bodnar said the contribution from the entire team is a big factor in the team’s early-season success.

“I think you can’t just guard one player on the team because you have eight, nine other ones that can come in and give you exactly what you are trying to shut down,” Bodnar said.

Freshman Tayler Stanton has stepped in and contributed off the bench for the Flashes. Stanton, a 6-foot-tall forward, is averaging 7.8 points and a team-high of 5.8 rebounds per game.

“It’s very good to see the younger players come into their own and start off with good contribution. You have your five seniors who are giving you good contribution, and I think the team in general has a goal,” Bodnar said. “That’s how you’re going to win games when you’re playing like a team.”

As Kent State coach, Bob Lindsay is two wins away from getting his 400th career victory. Bodnar said the players are excited to try to get the win for him this season.

“It’s always good to have players want to win for your coach, especially when it’s a milestone like that,” Bodnar said. “I think that even the former players that look at that and they see that he’s coming up to his 400th win, they know that they’ve had a part of that of that success and that tradition.”

Kent State senior guard Stephanie Gibson is coming off a season-high 11 points shooting 4-for-4 from the field. Senior Jamilah Humes leads the team with 14 points per game, while senior forward Taisja Jones adds 13.7.

St. Francis (3-4) is coming off an 85-71 victory over Big East opponent Pittsburgh. The Red Flash has three players averaging in double figures.

Leading the St. Francis is guard Samantha Leach. Leach, a 5-foot-10 senior, is averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game.

Bodnar said one of the Flashes’ goals will be to take away the 3-point shot.

“They have two players that really shoot the ball really well from the 3-point line,” she said. “I don’t see us doing a lot of zone, but it’s never out of a possibility we might throw some at them just to mix it up a little bit.”

The Red Flash has two players averaging over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Leach is averaging 40.5 percent, and senior guard Allison Daly is averaging 45.1 percent from 3-point range.

Bodnar said the key to success against St. Francis is play good defense.

“We need to defend in transition, and we just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing and getting contributions out of everybody,” Bodnar said.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].