Seven player rosters leads to additional playing time
With only seven players on the roster, the Kent State women’s basketball team is struggling with conditioning, a battle associate coach Lori Bodnar said is all in the players’ heads.
“I think they’re in good shape, but I think mentally they don’t think they’re in good shape,” Bodnar said. “There’s a difference there. You have to fight the mental fatigue before you can fight the physical fatigue.”
The Flashes meet Central Michigan Feb. 9 at the M.A.C. Center and look to rebound after a 71-59 loss to Eastern Michigan.
Saturday at Eastern Michigan, the entire starting lineup played more than 30 minutes, while no player for the Eagles logged more than 29. Junior guard Asheley Harkins, who played the entire game, said she appreciates the extra playing time.
“Last year I would play a little bit, make a couple mistakes and be snatched out of the game,” Harkins said. “Actually being out there is giving me the experience I need to get better.”
Harkins averages 35.1 minutes per game, second only to freshman guard Stephanie Gibson, who averages 37.3 minutes and 6.7 points per game. Gibson said she did not expect to play more than a few minutes per game when she was recruited.
“It’s a lot of experience underneath my belt,” Gibson said. “I think it will help in the long run. It is tiring – I’m not going to lie. It’s hard to get through towards the end of the game, but I enjoy it.”
KENT STATE vs.
(6-15, 3-5 MAC)
(4-17, 0-8 MAC)
Where: M.A.C. Center
When: 7 p.m.
Radio: 640 AM WHLO (Tom Linder)
Sophomore guard Rachel Bennett also averages more than 30 minutes on the season, with 34.5. No player on Central Michigan’s roster averages 30 or more minutes per game.
Bodnar said the team tries to improve its conditioning by practicing at a fast pace.
“We’ve been in this situation all season,” Bodnar said. “We ask them to go full-go the whole way through practice, and I think that gets them ready for playing 30-35 minutes a game.”
The Chippewas come into the M.A.C. Center looking for their first Mid-American Conference win. Central Michigan lost its last game to Miami 76-74 after giving up 24 points off turnovers.
“They (the players) don’t even need to know what Central Michigan’s record is because on any given night any team can beat any one,” Bodnar said.
Bodnar said the playing status of the team’s leading scorer, junior center Anna Kowalska, will be evaluated before the game. Kowalska averaged 17.8 points a game before suffering a stress fracture in her right foot.
Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected]