Eight on roster manage to stay mentally tough

Thomas Gallick

Coach Bob Lindsay and the members of the women’s basketball team have made it quite clear this season: Eight players is not an excuse.

Before the season, sophomore guard Jamilah Humes and junior guard ChyTearra Kintchen were suspended for the season after authorities charged the two with receiving stolen property. The roster dropped from 12 to 10.

After the game against Northern Arizona, junior center Samantha Scull and sophomore guard Kate Verhoff quit the team.

And then there were eight.

Junior guard Asheley Harkins said the team has really come together after losing four teammates.

“It was pretty tough, but we’re managing,” Harkins said. “We’ve been pretty close anyway, but it has made us closer.”

Despite the short bench, the Flashes have two wins in five Mid-American Conference games, including against rival Akron. On the line, but in doubt this season are the Flashes’ streaks of 16 consecutive years with 10 or more MAC wins and 17 consecutive years with 15 or more total victories.

Lindsay said he refuses to set goals for wins and losses this season and focuses on individual and overall improvement.

“The team goals involve statistical improvement in the areas of turnovers, rebound margins and shooting percentages,” Lindsay said. “(We ask ourselves) when we watch film, is our shot selection better, do we defend better and are we playing a little bit harder? Things like that we can actually watch on film, or take a look at a statistic and see if we’ve improved.”

Lindsay said examples of the team’s improvement can be seen in turnover and offensive statistics. After turning it over 54 times against Miami and Bowling Green, the Flashes have only turned it over 32 times in the last two games combined. He said the team needs to improve on defense to make a greater impact in the future.

A catch phrase for the team on the year has become “mental toughness,” a value Lindsay’s players have often said he tries to instill in them.

Harkins said the whole season revolves around trying to gain that mindset.

“This year definitely is a test of mental toughness,” Harkins said. “It’s just challenging to push through a lot of things we didn’t know we could push through.”

Lindsay said he has his own definition of what mental toughness means to him and his team.

“(Mental toughness is) the ability to push through fatigue thresholds when the game’s on the line and you have a choice between playing through fatigue and winning the game, or letting the fatigue get the best of you,” Lindsay said.



Record: Western Michigan 6-12 (3-1 MAC) Kent State 5-12 (2-3 MAC)

When: Saturday, January 26

Where: Kalamazoo, MI

Time: 2 p.m.

Listen in: WHLO-AM 640 (Tom Linder)

The Flashes return to action Saturday at Western Michigan to start a streak of six MAC West matchups.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].