When I interviewed new coach Todd Starkey for the first time, he asked me who were the best Kent State players I’d seen in my time following the team.
I started following the team seriously in Bob Lindsay’s second season, so all of my selections are from his era. I’d be interested in what others think.
Four clearly stand out to me:
AMY SHERRY, who was twice MAC player of the year in her career from 1991 to 1996. She’s third in school history in scoring, third in scoring average, and first in steals. She’s the only KSU player to make any first-team All-America list.
Key career stats: 2014 total points (3rd), 16.6 points per game (3rd), .487 field goal percentage (5th), .357 3-point percentage (8th), 765 rebounds (6th), 333 steals (1st).
Key best season stats: 21.4 points per game (2nd best in KSU history in 94-95), 92 steals (4th, 95-96). 88 steals (6th, 1994-95).
Honors: Women’s Basketball News First Team All American in 1995 (honorable mention Basketball Times and Associated Press that year). Honorable mention AP 1996. MAC player of the year 1995 and 1996. Second team all-MAC 1993, first team 1995 and 1996. MAC all-freshman 1992.
Team achievements: 18-12 and fourth in MAC in 91-92. 20-9 and third in MAC in 92-93. Redshirted with injury in 93-94. 17-10 and third in 94-95. 24-7 and first in 95-96, MAC champs, MAC tournament runner-up, second round of NCAA tournament.
DAWN ZERMAN, three-time MAC defensive player of the year and the best point guard in school history. She played from 1996 to 2000.
Career stats: 1,665 points (6th). 14.0 points per game (10th). 150 three-points field goals (2nd). .362 three-point percentage (6th). 567 free throws (2nd). .845 free-throw percentage (tied for 1st). 467 assists (3rd). 320 steals (2nd).
Key best season stats: 548 points (6th in team history) in 1999-2000. .403 three-point percentage (9th in 1996-97). 190 free throws (1st in 1999-2000). .891 free throw percentage (4th in 1998-99). 147 assists (10th in 1999-2000). 108 steals (1st in 1999-2000).
Honors: Third-team All-American Women’s Basketball News in 2000. Honorable mention Kodak All-American in 1999 and 2000. Honorable mention Associated Press All-American 2000. MAC player of the year 2000. MAC defensive player of the years, 1998, 1999, 2000. All-MAC second team 1998, first team 1999 and 2000, MAC freshman of the year 1997. MAC all-tournament 1998, 1999, 2000 (MVP 1998).
Team achievements: 20-10 and second in MAC in 1996-97. 23-7 and undefeated in MAC 1997-98, MAC tournament champs, first round NCAA. 22-7 and first in MAC East in 1998-99, 25-6 and first in East in 1999-2000, MAC tournament champs, NCAA first round.
TRACY LYNN, who is second on the school’s all-time list in scoring and first in rebounding. She played from 1990 to 1994.
Career stats: 2,066 points (2nd in team history). 18.1 scoring average (1st). .499 field goal percentage (4th). 579 free throws (1st). 782 free throws attempted (1st). 990 rebounds (1st). 311 rebounds (3rd) in 1990-91).
Best season stats: 541 points (9th in 1992-93). 19.3 points per game in 1992-93 (6th) and 19.1 point per game in 1993-94 (7th). .529 field goal percentage in 1993-94 (7th). 187 free throws (2nd) in 1992-93 and 178 free throws (4th) in 1993-94), 246 free throws attempted (1st) in 1993-94 and 242 free throws attempted (2nd) in 1992-93.
Honors: All-MAC second team in 1991 and 1992, first team in 1993. MAC freshman of the year in 1991.
Team achievements: 17-12 and third in MAC in 1990-91. 18-12 and third in 1991-92. 20-9 and tied for third in 1992-93. 20-8 and fourth in 1993-94.
LINDSAY SHEARER, who was first team all-MAC in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and player of the year in 2006. She was national all-academic player of the year her senior year. She played from 2002 to 2006.
Career stats: 1,799 points (4th in team history). 15.2 points per game (5th). .483 field goal percentage (6th). .377 three-points percentage (4th). 498 free throws (3rd). .829 free throw percentage (4th). 822 rebounds (5th). 70 blocks (9th).
Best season stats: 623 points in 2005-06 (2nd). 20.8 points per game in 2005-06 (third). .422 field goal percentage in 2004-05 (6th). 184 free throws in 2005-06 (3rd). .872 free throw percentage in 2005-06 (7th). School-Record 44 points in a game in 2005.
Honors: Third-team Women’s Basketball News and honorable mention Kodak All-American in 2006. Academic All-American player of the year in 2006, third team in 2004, second team in 2005. MAC player of the year in 2006. First team all-MAC in 2004, 2005, 2006.
Team achievements: 16-13 and first in MAC East in 2002-03. 19-10 and second in MAC East in 2003-04. 21-9 and tied for first in MAC East in 2004-05. 21-9 and second in MAC East in 2005-06.
I’d rate them in that order, but it was hard because they were all so good in their own ways.
I put Sherry first because of the two-time MAC player of the year honors and the fact that she led KSU to its first MAC championship and only NCAA tournament win.
Zerman’s teams were the best in team history. Lynn had the flashiest statistics, but they were inflated by the high-octane game her teams played. (They averaged nearly 90 points a game.) Shearer was a terrific player, but her teams never could beat Bowling Green for a conference championship.
Behind those four would be forward Ann Forbes (1988-1992), forward Carrie Templin (1994-98), center Julie Studer (1997-2001), guard Michelle Burden (1990-94). (You can find their statistics in the Kent State Record Book.)
And after that group would be guard Billie Jean Smith-Goldman (1993-97), center Andrea Caesar (2001-04), guard Malika Willoughby (2003-06), wing Jamilah Humes (2006-2011).
Judi Dum (1983-87) and Mary Bukovac (1985-89) were before my time, but, from the record book, were clearly outstanding players. Bukovac was MAC player of the year in 1989.
The best player in KSU history is Bonnie Beachy, who scored the most points in school history (2,071) from 1979 to 1982. She’s the only player in school history to have her jersey retired.
It’s past time for another. But Sherry, Zerman, Lynn and Shearer are so close that it would be hard to say one is the clear choice.