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Kent State Flashes

KSU takes on UA tonight in women's hoops action

By admin Published: January 13, 2010

By Michael Beaven

Special to the Beacon Journal

The names of the top three scorers for the University of Akron women's basketball team should sound familiar to area high school fans.


Junior forward Kara Murphy, freshman forward Rachel Tecca and sophomore center Kyle Baumgartner were standout local players. At 7 tonight, the trio will lead UA (7-8, 1-1) against rival Kent State (9-5, 2-0) in a Mid-American Conference East Division game at Rhodes Arena.


''All three have meant a lot to our team,'' UA coach Jodi Kest said. ''Kara Murphy was the first recruit I ever signed at Akron. She was first-team all-conference last year. She goes to the free-throw line a lot and has done a really good job of improving her rebounding.


''Kyle Baumgartner is a post presence that we had not had until she arrived last year, and Rachel Tecca gives us a player that can guard the [forward and center positions]. She runs the floor extremely well and can go left or right.''

Murphy, a St. Vincent-St. Mary graduate, averages a team-high 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. Tecca (Archbishop Hoban, 11.6 points) and Baumgartner (North Canton Hoover, 10.3 points) each average 6.4 rebounds to lead the Zips.

''All three have been great to coach,'' Kest said. ''They want to win and came from winning programs. That is something we emphasize in our recruiting, to recruit players from winning programs.''

The Zips and Golden Flashes split their regular-season meetings last season. UA snapped an 18-game losing streak to KSU with a 64-62 win Jan. 21, 2009, at home. KSU then won 59-55 at home March 7, 2009.

''It will be a fun game because it's Kent State, but it's also a MAC East game, and that is very important, too,'' Kest said. ''It will be a very exciting game. Both games went down to the wire last season.''

Kest also will be counting on senior forward Jolene Tamboue, senior guard Ayla Guzzardo, junior guard Amber Witt (Hoover), sophomore forward Jasmine Mushington and sophomore guard Natasha Williams to contribute.

Junior forward Taisja Jones (13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds) and junior guard Jamilah Humes (11.8 points) are the top scorers for KSU, which has won its past three games.

''I think we have been good in places, and we have been not so good in other places,'' KSU coach Bob Lindsay said. ''I don't think we have been a very consistent team this season. We have had games where we have been playing very good offensively, and we have had games where we have been playing very good defensively, but I am not so sure we have put together a complete game this season.''

Sophomore guard Jena Stutzman, senior forward Yoshica Spears (team-high 7.8 rebounds), junior center Ellie Shields, senior guard Rachel Bennett, junior forward Chenel Harris and junior guard Stephanie Gibson (Hoover) are also consistent contributors for the Flashes.

''Kent State is playing as well as anybody right now,'' Kest said. ''Coach Lindsay is a phenomenal teacher of the game. They work hard, defend well and rebound well.''

Kest and Lindsay each acknowledged the rivalry but said their primary concern is staying perfect in the MAC East.

''It's a divisional game, and every one of these is equally important,'' Lindsay said. ''From the standpoint of it being a local matchup and some players knowing each other, I think any time either the guys or girls play, you can throw the records out the window.''

Kent State notes

Akron notes



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