A Model of ConsistencyFebruary 28, 2003 · Osby Martin, Special to GoBlueRaiders.com
In today's basketball world many people believe that a player is only as good as her stats and nothing could be farther from the truth.
Junior guard Keisha McClinic is proof that you don't need the "super" stats to be valuable to your team. The 5'10" guard is averaging just below seven points and 4.5 rebounds a game, but her biggest asset to the team is her consistent play and aggressive defensive mentality.
"She (McClinic) may not be the best shooter or defender on the team but she brings consistency, energy and effort to the team," said head coach Stephany Smith. "She is very good on the boards given her size and she really disrupts opponents on defense."
McClinic is in her third season with the Lady Raiders and is a model of consistency in her stats. Over the three-year period, she has averaged seven points and 4.5 rebounds in all three seasons.
Prior to coming to Middle Tennessee she was a graduate of Eagle's Landing High School in Stockbridge, Ga. In her junior season, she was named to the Metro Atlanta Prep Team of the Year and was an Honorable Mention All-State team member, averaging 13.7 points, 3.3 steals, and 3.1 assists per game.
"One of the biggest differences between high school and now is that the (game) pace is quicker, but as far as trying to be a leader on the team it is the same," McClinic said. "One difference is the relationships, here at Middle Tennessee we are a lot closer as a team."
She was able to make a clean transition into the college game. As a freshman, she and made an immediate impact playing in 30 games with six of those being starts. She averaged seven points and 4.6 rebounds in 21.8 minutes of action per game. She also posted her career-high in points her freshman season with 19 against Houston in just 14 minutes of action.
In McClinic's sophomore season was much like her freshman campaign. She played in 28 games and her starts were up to 18. She started the season slow, but picked her game up and had a good season and avoided the dreaded sophomore slump that normally accompanies a good freshman year. She scored in double figures nine times as a sophomore matching her freshman output.
This season, she has really shown poise and great leadership. McClinic and the Lady Raiders had to go through a 10 game stretch without freshman Tia Stovall roaming around the paint. The team has really showed great chemistry and toughness through adversity and kept themselves in the hunt to make a stretch run at the division title.
McClinic has played in all 26 games this season making 20 starts including the last 16 in a row. Her hard work and intensity has gotten her minutes up, as she is averaging 25.8 minutes per game. Her increased playing time has been instrumental in the Lady Raiders winning seven of their last eight contests coming into Saturday's game with Western Kentucky.
"She is a good student and role model and has the ability to be a great leader but she has to show it everyday on the floor," Smith said. "She has been a big contributor down the stretch and a positive leader in February."
"One of the biggest things (about the stretch run) is that we came out with confidence knowing what our goal was, to come out here and win games," McClinic said. "We just wanted momentum going into the tournament. One of the biggest things is that we picked up our defensive intensity."
The Lady Raiders have one game remaining at Western Kentucky Saturday. The game will be on ESPN Regional and tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m.
The Lady Raiders have already clinched 2nd place in East Division and will begin tournament play against the third seed out of the west on Sunday, March 9th at 1:30 p.m. The tournament will be held at E. A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY.
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