St. Kates’ leading scorer is a threat from the bench

 

SOECharlesHallmansquareThis column continues the Only One series in which this reporter shares his experiences as the only African American journalist on the scene. In this case, the Only One tag applies to the featured player as well.

 

Now a junior, St. Catherine University and Minneapolis native LaShay Holt said that her leadership and outside shooting have improved. “I feel I have grown as a leader. I learned what to do and how to become who I am from previous people on the team,” said the 5’-8” Holt.

Holt off the bench
Holt off the bench

Holt, the Wildcats’ only Black player, recently talked to the Only One after her January 23 game at Hamline. She scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to help St. Kate’s break a seven-game losing streak.

“She really did it in the second half,” noted Coach Sean Pinkerton of Holt, who twice this season was named Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women’s Basketball Athlete-of-the-Week by the league sports information directors. The player is a two-time all-MIAC selection.

Last season she finished third among the league scorers and led the MIAC in 12 double-doubles. She was a 1,000-plus scorer in four years at St. Paul Humboldt High School, where Holt was a four-year honor roll student and National Honor Society member.

“It’s good,” said Holt, who last month set a new school record for most three-pointers (eight) in a game. She is St. Kate’s leading scorer this season (nearly 16 points a game), and she doesn’t even start.

Asked about her reserve role, she said, “I don’t mind it, because I still got the time I deserved, that I worked for. My coach mentioned that since we have a strong [starting] five, and …we are giving people trouble already and they see me coming off the bench, how can they stop us.”

As a result, Holt usually sits between two team assistant coaches at the start of games, raring to go. “She comes off with such high energy that it is really good for her to sit in between two of my assistants and talk through the way the opponent is defending and what our options are offensively,” explained Pinkerton.

“It really helps to collect her thoughts…on how she is going to attack. I always feel it is a big psychological advantage for us, because if we start out really well and we’ve got an early lead on someone, then all of a sudden the horn sounds and they see Shay at the [scorer’s] table.”

Plus, Pinkerton pointed out that because Holt tends to be foul-prone, “This keeps her from picking a foul in the first few minutes of the game. She is so high energy; this calms her a little bit when she gets out there.”

LaShay Holt (center) usually sits between two team assistant coaches at the start of games, raring to go. Coach Sean Pinkerton is at far left.
LaShay Holt (center) usually sits between two team assistant coaches at the start of games, raring to go. Coach Sean Pinkerton is at far left.

Since becoming a collegian, Holt said, her outside shooting, especially beyond the arc, has improved, as well as her drives to the basket. “I think I’ve learned how to go through contact and finish.”

“Oh, yeah, Pinkerton agreed, “she’s improved a lot. We are trying to get her to the point… where I want her to take ‘kickout threes’ and not off the dribble.

“She’s grown as a ballplayer. She was a forward as a freshman, and now she is playing a lot of point. Her shots have improved. She’s grown up as a person and matured. She definitely has grown a lot.”

Holt is on pace to finish high on St. Kate’s all-time scoring and rebounding list, as well as the MIAC’s, when her collegiate career ends next season.

Holt hopes to use her small business management degree after graduation to start her own business: “I want to start a business with something [to do] with basketball. I know I want to coach for a while before I do anything,” she said.

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.