Flagg fits into team, YSU


YSU’s Karen Flagg attempts a layup during a home game earlier in the season. Photo by Dustin Livesay/The Jambar.

Last month, junior forward/guard Karen Flagg was named as the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Newcomer of the Week.

Flagg, who transferred to Youngstown State University from Daytona State College at the beginning of the fall semester, said she’s enjoyed the experience so far.

“It’s been great. Everyone is a part of this,” Flagg said. “There are no bad influences on the campus, and you become really focused on what you need to do.”

As a sophomore at Daytona, Flagg averaged 10.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from the field.

This season, Flagg is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds, and is shooting 37.6 percent from the field. Her versatility has been key for the team.

Kate Schrader, one of the assistant women’s basketball coaches, said she’s been impressed by how well Flagg has transitioned to playing for the Penguins.

“We can sub her in at any position, and she can play that position well,” she said.

John Cullen, director of basketball operations, said Flagg has the ability to look down the court and pay attention.

“She probably has the best vision out of anyone on the team, as far as seeing people that are open,” he said.

Tavares Jackson, another of the assistant coaches for the women’s basketball team, said Flagg’s transfer to YSU hasn’t affected her play on the court.

“The biggest thing is her picking up and grasping the style of play that she needs to play at to be successful,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Flagg was one of the better players on her previous team and in the country. On any given night, Flagg was better than most of the players she went up against.

“She pretty much is doing all the same things that she did in junior college, but she has really adapted well to this level of the game,” Jackson said. Schrader said she’s hopeful that Flagg can step up as a leader for the team.

“She is an upperclassman, but when she came in, she was known as a newcomer. We’re looking for her to be more of a vocal leader,” she said. Since the team is in its second half of conference play, Flagg now has a better grasp on offense and defense, Schrader said.

Cullen said Flagg’s ability to pass over opponents and make passes to her teammates is one of her most impressive skills.

“When she’s at her best, she takes some of the rebounding load away from Brandi [Brown] and Heidi [Schlegel],” Cullen said.

Jackson said Flagg “always had flashes of being able to score the ball, pass the ball and be able to handle the ball well.”

“I think her size and versatility allows her to do a lot of different things for us in our system,” Jackson said. “She still has one more year left with us, so she’s still a growing player. … With her getting the newcomer of the week award, that shows us how important she is to our team.”

Flagg began to play basketball at the age of 9. Her dad taught her how to play, and while she doesn’t have a favorite team, she cites her dad as her biggest influence.

She’s a social work major at YSU, but said she’d “like to see how far basketball goes” after her collegiate career ends. Flagg added that playing basketball overseas is something she’d love to do.

But if that doesn’t work out, she’ll stick to her major.

“I like to help kids, adolescents and adults,” Flagg said. “I just like helping people.”