Starting strong

Kali Price

Flashes open exhibition with 37-point win

Senior guard Kacie Vavrek jumps up for a shot in the first half of Sunday’s game against Gannon University. The Flashes beat the Knights 97-60 in their only exhibiton game. Their first game is Friday, Nov. 18 against Libscomb University.

Credit: Ben Breier

The Kent State women’s basketball team started off its 2005-2006 season with a strong 97-60 win over Gannon yesterday.

“We had some strong points and I thought we had some things we have to work on,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said.

The Flashes started the game with a steal by junior guard Kerrie James after the Knights won the tip.

James then put the Flashes up with a layup, and they continued to hold the Knights scoreless until 17 minutes and 27 seconds were left in the first half.

The game only remained close until about five minutes into the first half when the Flashes began to pull away with a 3-pointer by senior guard Kacie Vavrek.

Vavrek ended the game with four successful 3-point attempts.

She also led the Flashes with 18 points, followed by fellow senior Lindsay Shearer, who totaled 16 points.

The Flashes maintained the lead throughout the game by rebounding.

Overall, the Flashes totaled 49 rebounds, while the Knights posted 35.

Junior forward Mallorie Griffith led the Flashes with 12 rebounds, followed by junior forward La’kia Stewart who totaled 10.

But Lindsay said despite the performance, the team’s defense still must improve.

“I think our overall team defense needs work,” Lindsay said. “I think we need to block out a little bit better than we did today. We’re capable of pushing the ball up the floor a little bit better than we did today. Overall I was happy with a lot of what I saw out here.”

The closest the Knights came to coming back was with 14:11 left when Knights freshman Emilie Hirt sank a 3-pointer to bring the game within 16.

But the Flashes then went on a 20-5 run.

All three freshmen had significant amounts of playing time.

Freshman guard Rachel Bennett and forward Samantha Scull both tabbed 10 bench points.

“I thought Rachel (Bennett) came out and played pretty hard today,” Lindsay said. “She has some positive points. I think all three of the freshmen did some positive things today. Rachel (Bennett) obviously logged in the most minutes, she’s learning, Michelle Hamblin is learning, they’re all learning. Learning what my expectations are and learning what my system’s all about. And that’s difficult for freshmen. The transition from high school to college is a difficult transition. Personally, I’m a very demanding coach, so the transition just to me is tough, too.”

Lindsay said that the team also needs to find its identity. Without former guard Melissa DeGrate, who played her final year with the Flashes last season, Kent State is looking to replace her.

“We need to replace Melissa DeGrate, who of course was a first-team all-conference player,” Lindsay said. “I think that’s being done by committee this year. In all honesty, I think every team has to find its identity as a team. You’ve always got somebody you have to replace and you’ve always got so many players. I think you’re always searching to find out who you are, especially early in the season.”

Contact assistant sports editor Kali Price at [email protected].