Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MAAC's "Glue" Players Keep Their Teams Together

A faithful "Keepin' Track of the MAAC" reader recently suggested that we identify "glue" players from around the league, individuals whose on-court contributions are meaningful yet often overlooked

Every team has one or two who fit the description. They provide the intangibles, the little things that might not bring enough notice to earn a spot on a post-season all-star team. Yet their work is still invaluable.

So, we'll follow through on the reader suggestion and pick out a "glue" player from every men's and women's team in the conference over the next couple of weeks. In the interest of keeping the items from becoming overly long, we'll identify either three or four in each posting.

Ladies first, as it should be. And, we'll start from the bottom of the league standings and work our way up.

SIENA: Ciara Stewart

The 5-foot-7 senior guard doesn't light up the scoreboard. She averages just 3.4 points this season and has just 288 career points. But, she's a steady presence in the Saints' starting lineup, a real on-court leader. She is one of the league's better on-the-ball defenders. And, intangibles? There she is, diving on the floor for a loose ball with 16 seconds left in a losing effort against Monmouth earlier this season. That is the perfect statement about her lead-by-example style of play.

SAINT PETER'S: Kaydine Bent

We're stretching the definition a little here because the fifth-year senior forward's statistics (12.8 points, 8.9 rebounds) might merit post-season all-star designation. But, we just enjoy watching the effort and intensity she brings to the court every game. Listed at 6-foot-1 (very generously), she battles bigger opponents just about every time she takes the court. That she came back for a fifth year (she sat out the 2010-11 season with an injury) to play for a team not expected to win many games and bringing in a new coach ... that says plenty about her love of the game.

MANHATTAN: Allison Skrec

Might be another bit of a stretch since the 5-7 senior guard, who is second in the league in assists (5.5 per contest) might also get all-star consideration. But she deserves "glue" designation because she finds a way to help her team win, despite it being at a significant height disadvantage in every game. And, very few players have made the improvement she has, from an extremely lightly used performance (2.2 minutes per game as a freshman) to one of the better point guards in the conference indicates just how hard she has worked over her four seasons.

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