Women’s basketball looks to piece everything together

Brad Tansey

puzzle4 Jigsaw Puzzle

The Kent State women’s basketball team is working on piecing the puzzle together.

The Flashes have five seniors who have significant playing experience including four new freshmen and a first-time sophomore.

“Whether it’s Chenel Harris or whether it’s Stephanie Gibson or whoever it might be; they have to fill in around (seniors Jamilah Humes and Taisja Jones) and play a significant role and be pieces of the puzzle,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said. “You can’t win with two pieces of the puzzle.”

The Flashes have two options at point guard to complement Humes in the backcourt.

Sophomore guard Tamzin Barroilhet transferred to Kent State last year from France to help the Flashes’ backcourt.

Barroilhet was forced to sit out the 2009-2010 season due to NCAA transfer restrictions. She was also suspended for the first two games of this season for violating NCAA regulations by playing against a professional team in Europe.

Last season, senior guard Stephanie Gibson competed in 31 games while making four starts. She averaged 2.5 points per game on the season.

Humes returns as the Flashes’ leading scorer. She was named First Team All-MAC in her junior season.

Seniors Harris and Jones will complement each other at forward. Harris played in all 31 games last season, averaging 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

In her first season at Kent State, Jones was named All-MAC Honorable Mention. She finished second on the team in scoring last season.

“Mimi (Humes) and Taisja are the two players you’re going to rely on to carry your load on both ends of the court,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said. “The other players play a significant role in complementing in what those two do.”

With Humes and Jones gaining attention from opposing teams, the younger players have the ability to gain some learning experience early in their careers.

“It certainly gives other people a better opportunity,” Lindsay said. “Mimi (Humes) is a creative player. She’s a little bit like (former Kent State men’s basketball player) Chris Singletary was last year, and she has the ability to create and do some things that others don’t.”

When Humes and Jones aren’t in the game, the Flashes will need to rely on role players to pick up the slack.

“It’s going to force somebody else on the floor to become a go-to player, to become reliable offensively where we can go to them,” said Lindsay, who added he hasn’t found a player to fill that void yet.

The last piece of the puzzle is at center. The Flashes have three capable bodies over 6-feet to take the opening tip.

Senior Ellie Shields averaged 7.3 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game. An injury limited Shields to only 12 starts in 20 games last season.

Leslie Schaefer, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, competed in 26 games last season in a back up role. She averaged 2.3 points per game in her freshman season.

Freshman Kate Francisco will provide a change of pace from Shields and Schaefer who have played the majority of the games the past two seasons.

Lindsay said he hasn’t set a definite starter at center yet.

“I think since we’ve starting practice, we’ve been looking for someone to stick their head above the clouds,” he said. “I haven’t really seen anybody do that yet.”

Other freshmen joining Kent State this season are Tayler Stanton, Iris Butcher, and T’Shera Lucas.

Stanton and Lucas will play forward, backing up Jones and Harris. Butcher will play guard behind Humes, Gibson and Barroilhet.

Lindsay said he plans to use the freshmen in a reserve role this season.

“They are going to have to come off the bench and fill minutes here and minutes there and play a couple of different positions or whatever they have to do, but they have to do it adequately, too,” Lindsay said. “They have to play hard enough. They have to play without making a ton of mistakes.”

With practice starting a month ago, the newcomers are still learning the team’s offense and defense.

“I see bits and pieces of players,” Lindsay said. “It’s not uncommon to see players come out and you think they have made some gains. They are learning the game a little bit better, they are learning the system a little bit better and other days you see them go out and it looks like they have never practiced before.”

As far as team chemistry, Lindsay said the newcomers have been “OK” at learning to play together.

“Let’s put it this way, our best chemistry is ahead of us,” he said. “Our best basketball is ahead of us, and I think our ability to understand the game and understand the system is ahead of us.”

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].