By Travis Politakis
UT women’s basketball holds a 20-6 record following a six game win-streak. Much of the team’s recent success is attributed to senior center Laren Kotey. Kotey was awarded the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Defensive Player of the Week attributed to her rebounding and shot blocking abilities.
Kotey has a career high 34 blocks this season, with her game high of eight blocks in a victory against Rollins College. This was the first time Kotey received the honor of SSC Defensive Player of the Week in her collegiate career at UT.
“Lauren is a unique player,” said Graduate Assistant Elena De Alfredo. “Her height is very difficult to find nowadays. She knows where to position her body to help her teammates, whether it is taking a charge, blocking shots or helping the drives in the paint when somebody gets beat in the perimeter.”
Kotey, a six-foot-three player, is playing in her second season at UT after previously playing at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana. Kotey has shown the coaching staff improvement this season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. She has recorded a total of 79 defensive rebounds this season.
“Lauren is a great player who with her size makes it hard for teams to shoot on her,” said UT’s women’s basketball head coach Thomas Jessee. “Her size makes all the difference and she does a great job of not fouling while still able to block shots.”
Kotey also brings leadership to the team as one of the seniors. The coaching staff have spent a great deal of time with Kotey on reaching her potential both as a player and as a person, according to De Alfredo.
“She has grown a lot from last year, she understands the system, and she is one of our seniors. We expect her to do big things,” Said De Alfredo. “Lauren is a key piece for our team, just like everybody else. We need each one of the players because everybody brings something different to the table.”
Kotey prides herself on her defense and has championship aspirations for the final stretch of the season.
“My defense has helped with our teams success,” Kotey said. “I try hard to stop all the easy layups around the rim. My goal for the rest of the season is to play my role on and off the court to help my team win a conference championship.”
The team have two regular season games left before they head to the SSC Tournament. The Spartans are going full steam ahead and are looking to win UT’s first women’s basketball national championship.
“I would say that our team chemistry is extremely good,” De Alfredo said. “You can see that very easily when things are flowing with the girls as they love each other. They are friends and that extrapolates to the basketball court. We treat every game like if it was the most important one.” According to Kotey, the women’s basketball team pride themselves on playing a very balanced and unselfish game. Each player and their role is vital to the team’s success and Kotey thinks that will set the team apart from their opponents in the upcoming tournament.
“Every night we have a different player leading us in scoring or playing really good defense. I think we all work so well together and play as a team,” said Kotey.
The Spartans are set to finish the regular season on March 2 at Lynn College before they begin the SSC Tournament.
Travis Politakis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org