Senior powers frontcourt play

Lance Lysowski

Spears’ grunt work earns her a starting spot

Yoshica Spears is on a mission.

The former junior college standout, who averaged 13 minutes a game with 3.4 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game last season, decided to not settle for a bench-playing role after her junior campaign.

At the end of last season, the senior forward made a pact with herself to be the leader of the Kent State women’s basketball team. By taking on the role, Spears knew she had to perform on the court to earn the respect of her teammates.

The senior has done that and more by becoming the upfront force the Flashes have been searching for. Spears has claimed a spot on the starting five while averaging 8.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.


Kent State:

Junior guard Jamilah Humes: After scoring 17 points in 17 minutes at Florida Atlantic, Humes scored five points and pulled down eight rebounds against Rhode Island. The junior has found herself in foul trouble as of late, but when on the court the guard is a dangerous scorer.

Cleveland State:

Senior guard Jessica Roque: Complementing Klein, the junior is a threat from long range. Roque, a prep teammate of Kent State junior forward Chenel Harris from Mississauga, Ontario, is averaging 10.5 points per game while shooting 48 percent from behind the arc.

Last Time:

The Flashes defeated the Vikings 84-77 on Dec. 6 at the Wolstein Center. Sophomore guard Jena Stutzman went 6-for-10 from behind the arc, accounting for 18 of her 20 points. Senior center Anna Kowalska added 20 points and five rebounds.

“She’s taken the leadership role with a passion,” Kent State associate coach Lori Bodnar said. “She knows that to have any credibility among the players, she must play hard to earn respect, and she’s done just that. The players respect her.”

Spears had a career night against Youngstown State on Nov. 18. The forward tallied her first career double-double (12 points and 13 rebounds), while leading the Flashes to a 70-55 win.

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said Spears has done a good job for the Flashes so far this season while excelling at rebounding, but he thinks she is still capable of more.

“She kind of does all of the grunt work and doesn’t expect to score very much,” Lindsay said. “She’s better than that. She has to look for her offense a little bit more.”

Spears and Kent State (4-1) will look to continue their success Saturday when they host Cleveland State at 2 p.m.

The Vikings (2-4) will challenge Kent State early and often with an offensive attack led by senior guard Kailey Klein.

Klein, who is averaging 14.5 points per game this season, is close to breaking the 2,000-point mark on her career.

After losing to Marshall 75-61 on Wednesday, Cleveland State played Wisconsin to the buzzer, losing 70-68 on the Badgers’ home court on Nov. 22.

Lindsay said even though the Flashes have won four of five so far, they have to clean up their play in order to continue to be successful.

“We have to shoot the ball more consistently and rebounds also,” Lindsay said. “I think we’ve been plus in four out of the five games in the rebound margin. We can block out better, and go get the ball better.”

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].