‘We’re looking to plug in players’

Lance Lysowski

Flashes open season with game at RMU

Last season, the Kent State women’s basketball team had an offense that contained a dominant inside presence with Anna Kowalska.

In the upcoming season, the Flashes will have a completely new look on the court, and Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said the transition will take some time.

“I think we’re looking to plug-in players and find out what their roles are,” Lindsay said. “Find out what they are capable of doing. But until we actually get a better feel for that, I think we’re probably going to be a little bit inconsistent.”

The Flashes possess experience in the post with senior Lorriane Odhiambo and junior Ellie Shields, but the team’s offense will be run from the outside-in when the Flashes tip off the season tonight at 7 p.m. at Robert Morris.

Kent State was second in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage last season, which will serve as the groundwork for the team’s attack.

Senior forward Yoshica Spears said the team will look to find its true identity in the opening slate of games.

“This year I think that everybody else will get the opportunity to stand up, and (other teams) don’t really know what we are capable of doing yet,” Spears said. “I don’t even think we know what we are capable of doing yet. We have that card that nobody knows, that wild card.”

The Flashes, 10-10 in season openers under Lindsay, will look to improve their record against Robert Morris to 3-2 all time. Last year, the Flashes defeated the Colonials 76-60.

“They usually have a good group of junior college kids, (and) I expect they’ll have the same this year,” Lindsay said. “They’re not going to throw a lot of surprises at you, but their personnel is pretty good and they play tough.”

Robert Morris’ top three scorers last season left via graduation, and the team will replace the departing players with four freshmen and two junior college transfers.

The Colonials are looking for Bowling Green transfer junior guard Bianca Hooten, a star at Canton McKinley high school, to make up for the lack of experience. Hooten sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules and saw time in 19 games her freshman year with the Falcons before transferring.

Lindsay said the Flashes have to outwork the opposition in the opening game to set the tone for the rest of the season.

“The first game is a measuring stick for how much you have improved or developed over the course of the preseason,” Lindsay said. “Once you have a game under your belt, I think it’s a little bit easier to figure out where you need to go from there.”

The game will mark the first of four road contests for the Flashes to start the season. Coming into the season, Lindsay said the long stretch of road games would be the biggest challenge in the Flashes’ schedule, but Spears said she was not surprised by the number of road games.

“I think coach Lindsay tries to get us to play away more because it gets you used to the atmosphere and how conference play can be,” Spears said. “Playing on the road is tough, and he always says you have to play ten points better than the team at home because you’re playing against them on the road. I think it makes us a better team in the end.”

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].