First halves give Flashes problems

Tyler McIntosh

Freshman guard Jamilah Humes and senior center Tiffany LaFleur try to get the ball from freshman forward Laura McLellan during the game last night. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Just five games into a new season, the Kent State women’s basketball team has coach Bob Lindsay baffled.

On one hand, the Flashes have outscored their opponents 204-159 in the second half. On the other hand, they have lost the first-half battles 178-153. Lindsay said that each team is different and that in previous seasons he has had teams play the opposite.

“I don’t have the faintest idea,” Lindsay said. “I’ve had teams that have come out and played great first halves and not so good second halves. And I got this team that comes out and plays mediocre first halves and better second halves.

“They are in good enough shape to play good second halves, so from that stand point their conditioning is better. Maybe their conditioning is better than some of the teams they’re playing against. I don’t really know.”

Despite its problems stumbling out of the gates to start games and a 2-3 record, senior center Tiffany LaFleur indicated that Kent State is still confident.

“I think we are definitely better than our record shows,” LaFleur said. “Every game we were in just proved that we could have won that game or we should have won that game.”

The optimism seems just.

Coming off of an 81-78 overtime victory against Washington, it looks like Kent State, a team that came into the season without a true go-to player, may have found one in reigning Mid-American Conference Player of The Week Kristin Peoples.

Peoples, a senior guard who transferred to Kent State after playing three seasons at Arkansas, scored 27 of her career-high 29 points in the second-half in the win against Washington.

So far this year, Peoples leads Kent State in assists, steals and minutes played. Her 18.6 points per game is not only a team-high, but also third best in the MAC.

“(Peoples) takes the shots she has and she is a smart enough player to know when she has them,” Lindsay said. “I let her do what she knows out there. Somebody needs to score.”

In the first five games, a trio of Flashes has provided help on the offensive end of the floor. Senior guards Sarah Burgess and La’kia Stewart both average 13 points and nine per game, respectively while freshman Me-Me Humes has provided around nine points a night off the bench.

Lindsay said he knew Humes would play but that it is tough to predict what any freshmen will produce.

“I was expecting to play her a lot because we needed her to play,” Lindsay said. “What she was going to contribute from there, you never really know with freshmen.”

Both the players and coaches see the upcoming semester break as a chance for the team to improve.

“I think it’s a time where you can improve as a team,” Lindsay said. “I think that’s up to the individual players to come out here and work hard at it and improve their skill level.”

LaFleur said the team needs to take more time in the gym.

“This is a great opportunity to work on stuff that we are insecure about and things that we can perfect, so to speak,” she said.

LaFleur said Kent State has great team chemistry but needs to improve on finishing its shots and work on its 64.1 percent free-throw percentage.

The month of December, highlighted with games against Vermont (5-2) and Kentucky (4-3), could be a chance for the Flashes to boost their record considerably before conference play begins in January. Kent State’s seven opponents for the month have a combined record of just 20-26.

Kent State will play Idaho State (0-6) in the first round of the Gene Hackerman Invitational today in Houston.

Contact sports reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].