Flashes look to keep riding emotional wave

Joshua Hudson

Kent State travels to Ball State after emotional victory

Lindsay Shearer forces her way to the hoop for a layup during Kent’s game against Marshall Jan. 8. The women’s team faces Ball State tomorrow and hopes to bring home a victory by keeping team spirits and enthusiasm high.

Credit: Andrew popik

The Kent State women’s basketball team seemed exhausted after its last-second victory over Western Michigan Tuesday night.

Who would blame them after two hard-fought victories in which they were forced to play shorthanded thanks to injuries.

However, this time the Flashes seemed emotionally spent after their victory over the Broncos. Junior forward Lindsay Shearer said emotion was something that the team needed to start playing with.

“We normally don’t play with emotion and just play with the flow of the game,” she said. “Tonight (Tuesday) we got excited and started to make shots and come up with stops on defense. Anytime we can go out there and play with heart it will be to our advantage.”

The Flashes (10-6, 3-2 Mid American Conference) hope to carry the momentum of the past two games into Ball State at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Even Shearer, who is normally the poster child of being calm and cool on the court, pumped her fist in the air and chest bumped junior point guard Malkia Willoughby after making a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute. She said that the team hadn’t been playing with heart during the beginning of the season and it was good to see the team play with such emotion.

Willoughby, after several clutch shots, had enough energy to jump into the arms of her teammates after the game-winning shot. The Flashes’ bench rushed the court to celebrate the emotional victory over the Broncos.

Even though coach Bob Lindsay said the players were possibly being overly critical of themselves, he also said that the team needs to carry the emotion and confidence of the last two victories into their upcoming schedule.

“We have had our moments where we could have played harder and I guess a lot of teams have those revelations,” he said. “This has to help our confidence because we have been playing understaffed for most of the year. The kids saw that if they play really hard, they can get positive results from that. Maybe that was a revelation that we needed to see.”

Another thing that will help the Flashes with their remaining schedule will be the improved play of Tiffany LaFleur.

LaFleur started the season sharing time with fellow sophomore center Mallorie Griffith. Griffith is currently out with a concussion, leaving LaFleur as the team’s lone center.

The sophomore center finished Tuesday’s game a rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. She also has seen her minutes increase with 37 against the Broncos. Lindsay said that the improved play of LaFleur is vital to the team’s success in the future.

“Even though she doesn’t look ready for the WNBA yet, her improvement level is significant,” he said. “This type of game for her is a big confidence booster putting two games together like this.”

A victory at Ball State (7-9, 3-2 MAC) tomorrow would keep the Flashes in a first-place tie with Ohio University in the MAC East standings.

To ensure a victory this weekend, the Flashes’ defense must slow down Kate Endress. The senior guard averages 17.9 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with seven a game.

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