Women look for leadership from six seniors

Tyler McIntosh

Senior guard Kristen Peoples drives past an Eastern Michigan defender in last Saturday’s 64-69 loss. ABBY FISHER | FILE PHOTO

Credit: John Proppe

Leadership. It’s more than just a buzz word. Just about every team in sports talks about needing it to be successful. It is crucial that someone step up and show the way with either actions or words.

And after last Saturday’s loss to Eastern Michigan, Kent State women’s basketball coach Bob Lindsay said the team lacked just that. It was something that senior forward La’kia Stewart agreed with.

“I don’t think we have been leading as much as we need to,” Stewart said. “We have six seniors; we are the core of the team. We need to do a better job of leading by example first and playing well. If the six of us play well, everyone else will feed off of that.”

Stewart said that while having six seniors will be beneficial in March, it can also cause problems.

“Sometimes it may be a drawback,” Stewart said. “Maybe if it was one or two seniors, they would know they have to say something at certain points. But when there’s six of us we’re like, ‘well, this person can talk.'”

However, Lindsay sees it differently.

“I don’t know if that is necessarily going to come from an individual. I think that’s a group effort. The only indicator of that is whether or not your team comes out and plays harder the next game than they did (the previous game).”

Leadership problems aside, the Flashes’ 18-point win over Central Michigan Tuesday may have showed that the team is ready to finish strong and the seniors are ready to take over.

“We came out and played harder in the Central Michigan game than we did in the Eastern Michigan game. If that’s an indication of better leadership, then I suppose that it was better,” Lindsay said.

With nine games left to be played, Kent State (9-9, 5-2 Mid-American Conference) sits in second place in the MAC East Division by a full game over Miami and trails nationally ranked No. 16 Bowling Green (17-2, 7-0 MAC) by two games.

Going into tomorrow’s game against Toledo (7-12, 3-4 MAC), Kent State possesses one of the hottest players in the MAC: Stewart.

Stewart, who has five double-doubles this year, said she has always played better once conference play starts.

“It’s just getting better as the season goes on,” Stewart said. “In our non-conference (games), I wasn’t being as aggressive and chasing stuff down. Throughout all my years, when conference time has come, I have gotten better.”

In that regard, this season is no different than her previous three. Before MAC play started, Stewart averaged 9.49 points and 7.96 rebounds per game. Since conference play started, she has been going for 15 points and nine rebounds a night.

Despite their poor record, the Rockets should not be taken lightly. Since loosing six straight games, Toledo has won three out of its last four. In those four games, Toledo is averaging 80.75 points per game.

“They (Toledo) are scoring better in their last five games,” Lindsay said. “They were struggling a little bit early with their offense, and now their offense has come around and they are scoring a lot more points.”

Contact women’s basketball reporter Tyler McIntosh [email protected].