Kelsey Balcom, forward for the women’s basketball team, was named MIAA player of the week for Jan. 10-15 for her fantastic offensive play.
“It’s a cool little thing,” Balcom said. “I’m just focusing on the next game.”
Despite being a freshman, Balcom has found her place within the team and is giving depth that the Hornets need to continue their success.
“(Balcom) had a good week and was voted the best (MIAA) player of the week,” said Head Coach Jory Collins. “She has done great. She fits in really well, she works extremely well and she is very coachable.”
Balcom, who has twice led the team in scoring, shoots 44.1 percent from the field and averages six rebounds per game.
“She is averaging 11 (points) and six (rebounds)… I have to believe she is probably the frontrunner for freshman of the year in our conference,” Collins said. “No other freshman is putting up numbers like that.”
Hailing from Olathe, Balcom came to Emporia because of the small town atmosphere and her own love for the game.
“I’ve always played basketball and loved it. I probably couldn’t give it up. I just wanted to keep playing,” Balcom said. “I liked the coaches and the girls, the school and the small town atmosphere where I get to know people better.”
Due to injuries on the team, Balcom’s roll has increased beyond that of the average freshman as her scoring ability has allowed her to fill specific roles.
“She is a scorer. She came in and knew her role on the team, and it has been increased with injuries (on the team). She has responded well to it,” said Senior Forward Ali Volkens. “At the beginning of the season, we knew that she was going to be a great player. She is a big part of the team. She has picked it up and done well.”
Balcom’s skills are much appreciated by her teammates, and she is preparing to not just fill the shoes of the injured players, but become a leader.
“She is a freshman. She is always willing learn and know what she can do to improve,” Volkens said. “She is doing really well.”
In light of her achievements, Collins knows she has room to improve and become a better player and an even better asset.
“Like a freshman, she thinks too much and isn’t playing really free… She is sometimes timid… but she is really talented,” Collins said. “The defensive end of the floor is where she could improve the most… (but) she has already made a ton of improvement…. and she is just going to grow every year.”