Flores helping Wildcats make presence felt in GNAC this year

Taylor Clark, Staff Reporter

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As the CWU women’s basketball team heads into their last couple games of the season, the pressure is on. The Wildcats are led by their team captain, Kaelie Flores, who is a senior this year. Flores has been a part of the CWU women’s basketball team since she joined the squad in 2017. 

“When Central came to me, they had been kind of looking at me since 8th grade and I thought that was super special.” Flores said. “They were invested in me, they traveled for me, and I just knew they wanted me to be here.” 

Head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley has been coaching Flores since she came to CWU. Richardson-Thornley was Flores’ assistant coach her freshman year and then took the head coach position Flores’ sophomore year. Richardson-Thornley said Flores is a competitor on the court and takes what she does very seriously. 

“Off the court [Flores] is a very kind person but also very lovable and fun,” Richardson-Thornley said. “[She is] a very happy person that brings joy to other people.” 

CWU Athletic Communications

Flores’ fellow teammate, Taylor Shaw, who is also a senior has been playing with Flores at CWU. Flores and Shaw competed against one another in previous years. 

“We’ve played against each other since we were in fourth grade,” Shaw said. “She’s so sweet, so caring and a really good friend.” 

Shaw said Flores is a real competitor. Shaw also said one thing she’s learned from Flores is no matter what is going on, you have to get out on the court and get the job done. Shaw said Flores is a great teammate and she’ll always be there for her friends. 

Not only is Flores leaving her mark on her teammates and coach but she is also leaving her mark on the team’s history at CWU. Flores is averaging 12.3 points per game and is the team’s leading scorer.

“We’re excited,” Flores said. “We definitely know our place.”

Flores has been a part of the CWU women’s basketball team for four years now. Flores also said since this is her senior year, she feels like this year is very special and super important. 

“I want to leave an impression on my team and this program,” Flores said. “I know I’ve been a part of a changing moment in Central history, so I want to carry that with me.” 

Richardson-Thornley said Flores’ biggest attribute to the team is her competitive nature. She said she has the ability to balance that along with leading the team. 

“She is able to be really competitive around [her teammates] and push them,” Richardson-Thornley said. “She also has such good relationships with [her teammates] so they respect her and don’t take things personally.” 

Flores, Shaw and the rest of the team will be competing in their next game against Simon Fraser on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in Burnaby, B.C. The women’s next home game is Thursday, Feb. 20 at 5:15 p.m. against Western Oregon.