Lindsay flashes back to Akron

Joshua Hudson

Streaking Zips could present problems for road weary KSU

Malika Willoughby attempts a jump shot while falling against Eastern Michigan’s Ryan Coleman Jan. 29.

Credit: Andrew popik

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay paused for a second and tried to recall his first coaching victory during a recent post-game press conference.

“I think my first career coaching victory came against Akron,” Lindsay said.

Sixteen years and 298 victories later, Lindsay has an opportunity to notch career victory 300 against — you guessed it, Akron.

Of course the circumstances for both teams are different this time, but it still doesn’t diminish the value of Saturday’s game. Unless, of course, you are coach Lindsay.

“The 300-win thing is more of a longevity award as much as it is anything else,” he said. “If we are fortunate enough to get it this year, it is more of a credit to the staff and the people that I have had on the teams than anything else.”

Lindsay also said he hasn’t really had a chance to reflect on his upcoming accomplishment. He said it is something you look back on when it’s all over. But he is quick to point out that he hasn’t hit the magic number yet.

While the Flashes certainly won’t be facing the same Akron team Lindsay earned his first win against, it is debatable whether they will even face the same team they beat just two weeks ago. The Flashes (12-8, 5-4 Mid-American Conference) easily defeated the Zips in their previous meeting this year, a 66-57 victory at the M.A.C. Center Jan. 15. But this game should prove to be a much better challenge for Kent State this time around.

The Flashes first problem could be solving their road woes, if you consider Akron a “road” game. Kent State is 0-4 on the road in MAC play this year with losses coming at the hands of Central Michigan, Ball State, Ohio and most recently Marshall.

The second problem will be the improved play of the Zips (3-17, 3-6 MAC). Akron lost its first 15 games, but has won three of its last five. The turnaround could be credited to the improved play of Jessie Crooks. The sophomore forward averaged 16.5 points per game last week and shared MAC East Player of the Week honors.

Unfortunately, the Zips have to face the other MAC East Player of the Week when they try to stop Melissa DeGrate. The senior guard averaged 22.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and shot 60 percent from 3-point range.

The Flashes also must win this game if they want to keep pace with Marshall in the MAC East race. Kent State is currently one and one-half games back with just six games left to play. The Thundering Herd (12-7, 6-2 MAC) defeated Kent State 84-78 Wednesday night. The two teams split the season series. The Flashes return to the friendly confines of the M.A.C. Center Wednesday when they host Northern Illinois.

Contact women’s basketball reporter Joshua Hudson at [email protected].