Work Samples

For Kizer, this year is a struggle

December 11, 2009

By David Driver
For the News & Messenger
Used with permission

TOWSON, Md.Potomac High School graduate Lynetta Kizer walked off the court after fouling out with 33 seconds left to play. She walked in front of the Maryland bench and circled back around, grabbing a yellow towel and then sat beside of assistant coach Tina Langley.

She and the rest of the Maryland team had blank stares on their faces Thursday night, as the Terrapins were upset 67-55 by a Towson team that was picked to finish sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association this season.

"Towson competed for 40 minutes. That is something we didn't do," Kizer said.

Maryland entered the game ranked No. 25 in the nation by the Associated Press. It was the first time Towson ever beat a ranked team in women's basketball, the first time the Tigers beat Maryland since 1975, and it came before a school-record crowd of 2,243 fans.

"This is tough," Kizer said after the game, sitting beside of Maryland head coach Brenda Frese during a post-game press conference.

The same could be said of this season for Kizer, the sophomore center from Potomac High. She was the ACC rookie of the year last season, averaging 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

But Kizer is the only returning starter this season for the Terps, who lost Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver as the second and third picks, respectively, in the WNBA draft. Then on Nov. 27, at home against Howard, Kizer injured her left ankle late in the first half.

She played 13 minutes that night and had four points. She played 18 minutes against Drexel in the next game and had 13 points and four rebounds. Kizer had 10 points and five rebounds in 29 minutes of play Dec. 3 against Minnesota and then nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes against Loyola on Dec. 6.

Kizer made three of six shots from the field and had seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes of play against Towson. "Obviously it is a monumental moment in Towson women's basketball history," said Towson coach Joe Mathews, a native of Stanley, Va. and a former assistant at Radford and Virginia Tech.

But beyond the foul trouble Kizer eluded to team chemistry issues. "My ankle is doing much better. I just felt like I didn't demand the ball like my team needed me to. That is on me," she said.

"That is something I need to work on and gain confidence back in my guards because they are looking for me. Just learning from this. This is tough."

Towson senior forward Kandace Davis guarded Kizer much of the time Thursday. "We tried to be as physical as possible but she is the strongest player I have ever guarded," Davis said.

Kizer is averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as Maryland, now 8-2 overall, has off until a Dec. 20 game at American University.

"I didn't feel like we had a go-to player on the floor," Frese said after Thursday's game. "We have a lot of great players on this roster but we shied away from wanting to step up and make plays. We have to be tougher on the road. They were the much more aggressive team tonight."

Frese said Kizer's foul trouble was a problem. "That was a major piece that limited us from the offensive end," Frese said. "I thought they punished us in every aspect of the game."

What did Kizer learn from the game? "Just going out and knowing we did not compete for 40 minutes," she said. "Tip your hat to Towson. They came out ready to play and that is something we failed to do."

"We have to get tough on the road," Frese said. "All the credit goes to Towson. They were the much more aggressive team tonight. I thought they punished us in every aspect of the game. It was obviously a very difficult night."

This is the most inexperienced roster Frese has fielded since succeeding Chris Weller in 2002. Its other loss came at nationally ranked Mississippi State, although the Terps did beat Minnesota in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

"Nine freshmen and sophomores. That is what it is," Frese added. "That being said with a young backcourt we have to understand that. We missed a lot of point-blank shots even we did get the ball in the paint. This young team isn't there yet."

Notes: Towson reserve senior Ashlee Keown (Hylton) played one minute against Maryland and did not score ... It was the second time in less than a week that a CAA team beat a team from the ACC. James Madison won Sunday at Virginia, 77-75, and Dukes reserve junior guard Courtney Hamner (Osbourn Park) hit her only shot, a 3-pointer, in five minutes of play ... Towson hosts George Mason on Jan. 3 in the CAA opener for both teams.