Macey Nortey has departed the Youngstown State women’s basketball program as the team’s leader in assists and steals in her senior season.
YSU head coach Bob Boldon has entrusted the open point guard position to a freshman — Shar’Rae Davis.
“Point guard was obviously a big need for us,” Boldon said. “We brought her in with the idea that she could step in and play depending on how she picked things up.
“And she picked things up very quickly.”
The Grand Have, Mich., native has averaged 15.3 points in the Penguins’ first three games. In her first collegiate game, she had nine rebounds and nine assists in the 64-50 win at Pittsburgh.
Davis was the inaugural winner of Horizon League Newcomer of the Week award.
“I knew I’d have to take on greater challenges,” Davis said. “I had big shoes to fill. I didn’t expect the outcome to be this great and I’m fortunate for it.”
Davis knew she’d have to fight for the starting job, it wasn’t guaranteed.
“We really try to stay away from promising playing time to kids,” Boldon said. “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen when they come to college.”
But for Davis, the transition has been seamless.
“I’m surprised because she’s a freshman and it’s hard to freshman to do,” Boldon said. “I’m not surprised because of how hard she works at it. She’s a really good learner. Once you tell her something once, she generally gets it.”
Karen Flagg, a junior transfer from Daytona State College, has also been a new face in a news starting lineup.
“We thought Karen really fit that mold of a kid that could play different positions,” Boldon said.
Flagg sports a .368 shooting percentage and is fourth on the team in rebounds.
“I had to get used to the team,” Flagg said. “It was completely different from Daytona.
“Everyone’s a shooter. I’m more of a slasher to the basket.”
Boldon has encouraged Flagg to be an offensive threat, as he does with the whole team.
“Shooting is generally fun and rewarding,” he said. “It’s an easier thing to get a kid to buy into than maybe playing defense. There’s an immediate return. There’s a way we can chart progress and it’s been good for her.”
Also good for the Penguins (3-0) is a week break.
After beating Bryant, 75-59, on Nov. 18, they don’t play again until Sunday at Miami in Oxford.
“We desperately needed this,” Boldon said. “We played those three games in a row in a short period of time and it didn’t allow for corrections.
“I thought we got a lot better in the last two days because we were able to work on our stuff and not worry about preparing for an opponent.”
Davis added, “It’s a win-win situation. I do like to develop better things on my game. But I do like the intensity of the game situation. This down time is nice though. We get to rest a bit.”
The Redhawks are 2-1 and average 65.3 points per game.