Women’s team could benefit from big layoff

Jeff Russ

Twelve days without wearing jerseys could be something that triggers a turnaround for the Kent State women’s basketball team.

The Flashes will get 12 days to rest before their next game, Dec. 18 against Northern Arizona.

So far, it’s been tough for this team. Injuries, combined with an inexperienced team, have led to an early 1-6 start this season. After Wednesday’s 74-34 loss on the road to Temple, the coaching staff feels the 12 days off will help this team.

“Right now, we have low numbers,” associate coach Lori Bodnar said. “Now we get more time to rest and get back on the right track.”

The team will not have another game through this semester. Bodnar said it is important the team gets to focus itself on that, and winter break is something that always benefits the basketball team.

“Over Christmas we get to actually spend some time with each other,” she said. “Right now it’s just practice, lifting, school, game and going home. (The break) is a good time get to really know your teammates.”

Right now, the keys for this team are improving and adjusting. With a young team, featuring four freshmen, four junior-college transfers and one player bouncing back from a season-ending injury, it has been difficult get everyone on the same page at times.

“We’re still learning to play at this level,” Bodnar said. “They are still learning to raise their game to the Division I level, and it has been overwhelming. Once this team learns how intense the game is, then they can start to improve.”

But the team recognizes that it is still early. The team starts Mid-American Conference play Jan. 9 at Ohio. The coaches take the games one-by-one but sometimes cannot help but think about March.

“March is a long way off,” Bodnar said. “Who knows if the championship will be ours. Our first game in the MAC is still a few weeks away, and once we get March, who knows how this layoff can help us.”

But for all the setbacks so far, Bodnar sees positives, but she is still trying to find out who this team is.

“This team wants to win,” she said. “But right now we are struggling to find an identity. Every team we’ve had has some identity. Teams have an expectation of Kent State, but right now we need to find ours.”

Contact sports reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].