Flashes to tip off season Saturday

Tyler McIntosh

The Kent State women’s basketball team will start its season at 1 p.m. Saturday when it hosts South Dakota State.

Senior guard Kristin Peoples said the Flashes are anxious, but confident about their first game.

“There are always nerves for the game, but as long as we take care of business in practice, we know we can do it in the game,” Peoples said.

Coach Bob Lindsay believes each opening game can be different, and he expects the basics from his team.

“There is really no trend,” Lindsay said. “It depends on whom we are playing. We have played good teams, and we have played real good top-25 teams. The only thing I expect out of them is that they come out and play hard. Obviously, teams make mistakes, especially early in the season.”

However, Lindsay said Kent State has to battle through any early mistakes.

“You have to be able to play through the mistakes and be able to play hard,” Lindsay said. “You have to try to find a way to win.”

Lindsay said South Dakota State is a good team and will prove to be a formidable opponent for Kent State.

“They are real physical, and they play great team defense,” Lindsay said. “Megan Vogel is a first team all-Independent player. Vogel would be a very good player in this conference. They play a tough schedule.”

Senior guard Kerrie James will have the first crack at stopping Vogel, who averaged 16 points and six rebounds per game last season. But Lindsay said he would probably switch several different players on Vogel by the end of the game.

Lindsay said he will not set his starting lineup until Friday and is uncertain as to how he will attack the Jacks.

“I have to watch them play on film a little bit more,” Lindsay said. “We have to do what we do. We need to push the ball up the floor, score in transition and get some offensive rebounds. We have to have some balanced scoring.”

Sophomore guard Rachel Bennett will not be in the starting lineup Saturday. Bennett will miss the season after sustaining an ACL injury last week in practice.

Bennett started 20 games last year and was second on the team in assists with 58.

Because of Bennett’s injury, James is the only player on the roster to start at least 20 games last season.

Lindsay said depth was a concern for his team because he only has 12 players, and sophomore guard Kate Verhoff is already sitting out the season after transferring from the University of South Florida.

The Flashes top returnees figure to be James, who Lindsay thinks is the team’s best defender, and senior guard La’kia Stewart. Stewart was named MAC Sixth Man of the Year last season. Fellow senior guard Sarah Burgess averaged 10 points per game last season.

Contact sports reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].