Women’s basketball prepares for physical game against Washington

Brad Tansey

When the Kent State women’s basketball team lines up against Washington Tuesday at the Great Alaska Shootout, the team will be physically prepared.

The Flashes (2-0) have used male practice players all season to help the team prepare for the physical aspect of the game.

Kent State assistant coach Kerrie James said the reason they use men is to help the team prepare for a bigger, faster and stronger opponent.

“I think the main reason we try and have male practice players is just because they are more physical,” said James, who is in charge of finding male practice players. “We need to practice that on a regular basis so that our practices end up being harder than games.

“Even if the guys we have in practice aren’t technically sound, they’ll be able to recover their mistakes quicker than some of our players might be able to.”

Ryan Pease, freshman integrated math major, is the only player so far this season. James said the team is processing the paperwork with other prospective players.

Pease said the majority of his time is spent on running the opponent’s defense.

“The biggest thing is we try to give them different looks,” Pease said. “It gets them tough (in the post). It gives them something to look forward to, what they’re going to expect in a game situation.”

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said Pease helps the team prepare for a more athletic opponent.

“It gives you a little more athleticism, a little more size, a little bit more physical,” Lindsay said. “I really think that helps your team prepare for games. It also gives more players an opportunity to do repetitions offensively or defensively because they don’t have to play on both sides of the ball.”

As for the Flashes’ first opponent at the shootout, Washington has two defenders who stand 6-foot-3. Washington juniors Regina Rogers and Mackenzie Argens are the tallest players for the 1-1 Huskies.

Rogers scored 18 points in the team’s 51-50 win against Portland State.

“They are going to run things that are more basket related,” Lindsay said of Washington’s offense.

Kent State’s tallest players are sophomore Leslie Schaefer, who started the team’s first two games, and senior Ellie Shields. Schaefer, a 6-foot-3 center, scored a season-high eight points in the team’s 71-53 victory at Northeastern. Shields has seen limited game time so far as Schaefer’s backup.

James said because Washington runs a pressure-style defense, Pease’s job last week was to put heavy pressure on the offense.

“We had Ryan really getting up and guarding our point guard because (Washington’s) point guard is really athletic and will really try and rag our point guard,” she said.

Sophomore guard Tamzin Barroilhet said using male practice players has benefited her play.

“The fact that (male practice players) can anticipate our movements easier, then it makes it harder on us during practice,” said Barroilhet, who will be competing in her first collegiate game for Kent State against Washington.

“Once we’re in a game pace set up, we can kind of make it feel easier because we’re used to practicing against men.”

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].