Wisconsin Talent Gives Big Lift to Ohio School
Wisconsin means dairy farms to some people, lakes and woods to another group and fans wearing hats shaped like cheese wedges to others.
But to Kent in northeast Ohio, the state means fertile recruiting ground for women’s basketball.
Kent has six players from Wisconsin on its roster and another signed for next year. And all are contributing for the Golden Flashes, who lead the Mid-American Conference and are on track for their third 20-victory season in four years.
``We’ve got several very good ones from there,″ said Kent coach Bob Lindsay, who has just four players from Ohio. ``We’ve got one of the top kids in the state this year coming next season and we’re currently recruiting another one who is unsigned.
``We’ve got a very good connection, a very good relationship with the people there.″
Kent’s leading scorer, sophomore Carrie Templin, is from Hillpoint, Wis. Another starter, junior Billie Jean Smith-Goldman, is from Hayward, Wis. The other Wisconsin products are Alana Bader of Kinnon, Jesica Haberkorn of Deerfield, Bree Mahone of Racine and Jenny Kempf of Manitowoc.
Next season, Emily Fakes of Sun Prairie, Wis., will join the Golden Flashes. She signed in November.
Lindsay’s main connection in Wisconsin is Keith Noel, who runs an AAU program there called the Viking Club. All of Kent’s players from Wisconsin participated in Noel’s program at one time or another.
``Like any other situation, once you get a kid from a program that’s from a specific state, you’re always going to have that connection to come back to,″ Lindsay said.
``They all didn’t necessarily know one another when they played for the Viking Club because they’re different ages and played at different levels. But most of them knew each other and that does help in recruiting when you go back there.″
After beating Akron on Wednesday night, Kent was 17-4 overall and 12-1 in the league. Kent has played in the NCAA tournament only once and that was back in 1982. Lindsay is hoping the Golden Flashes can build a good enough record to get in this year even if they fail to win their conference tournament.
``In the past couple of years, we’ve been able to get a couple of teams to the NCAA tournament from the Mid-American Conference,″ Lindsay said. ``We think it’s a very strong conference, so we’re hoping to do that again this year.″
SHE’S SOMMA PLAYER: Gina Somma is putting up some big numbers in her senior year at Manhattan.
The 6-foot center began the week tied for third nationally in scoring and she raised her season average to 25.9 points a game with 33 points in a 103-94 victory over Siena on Thursday.
It was the sixth game of at least 30 points for Somma, who has a high of 44 against Fairleigh Dickinson. She also has been in double figures in rebounds 12 times and is averaging 9.3 for the season.
The 33 points at Siena left Somma with 1,665 in her career, which tied her with Stacey Jack for second on Manhattan’s all-time list.
KATIE’S MARK: The Big Ten Conference has a new career scoring leader.
Ohio State senior Katie Smith raised her career total to 2,407 points with a 26-point effort against Minnesota last weekend. The old record was 2,405 by Purdue’s MaChelle Joseph, who finished in 1992.
Smith broke Joseph’s mark by making two free throws with 5:28 left in Ohio State’s 94-68 victory. She then left the game to cheers from the St. John Arena crowd.
``It’s a good feeling,″ Smith said. ``I don’t know how long I’ll have it because I’m sure somebody else will come along and get it. But it’s a joy to have the record. It’s a reward for all the hard work that we’ve all put into it.″
HURTING HAWKEYES: Seventh-ranked Iowa has lost another center because of an injury.
Amy Herrig, a 6-foot-4 freshman, will be out two weeks _ and maybe longer _ because of fibula pains in her left leg.
Herrig is averaging eight points and 5.8 rebounds and is shooting a team-leading 56 percent from the field. She has started 14 games, getting her chance when senior center Simone Edwards suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Dec. 7 game against Drake.
``Amy’s going to miss some critical games,″ said Iowa coach Angie Lee, whose team is battling for the Big Ten championship. ``But even in a worst-case scenario, she should be back and ready for the NCAA tournament.″
Herrig’s condition first became apparent two weeks ago and steadily got worse. She played only eight minutes in Iowa’s loss at Purdue last weekend.
``She thought it was shin splints, but as time went on it became apparent that it was something else,″ Lee said. ``Amy’s pain tolerance is incredible. I can’t believe that she still did the things that she did.″
SLOPPY SEMINOLES: Somehow, Florida State can throw the ball away a lot and still win.
The Seminoles had almost as many turnovers (28) as shots (37) in a 73-64 victory over North Carolina in Tallahassee. They survived by making 17 of 21 shots in the second half, or 81 percent. Florida State shot 62 percent for the game.
Earlier, Florida State committed 35 turnovers in a 90-85 victory over Georgia Tech in three overtimes.
LONGHORN REVIVAL: Texas, a longtime power in women’s basketball and the 1986 NCAA champion, has found itself in the unusual position of trying to bounce back from a down season.
After struggling to a 12-16 record a year ago, Texas already has exceeded that victory total this season.
The Longhorns improved to 14-7 overall and 9-1 in the Southwestern Conference with an 80-78 victory at Texas A&M on Wednesday. Four days earlier, Texas ran up the second-highest point total in school history in beating TCU 115-82.
Texas’ only loss in the SWC was at No. 6 Texas Tech, 68-62. The Longhorns will get another shot at the Lady Raiders next Saturday in Austin.
The turnaround has Texas in contention to return to the NCAA tournament. The Longhorns’ failure to make the tournament last year broke a 12-year NCAA run _ the second-longest streak in the country.
End advance for Feb. 17-18