Story by Penn State Harrisburg's Kenny Stone
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - Penn State Harrisburg women's basketball player Kiara Carter (Bronx, N.Y. / Milton Hershey) has started out this season with breakout performance after breakout performance.
In the second game of the season against Houghton, she earned her first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds and she was only getting started. Against Immaculata, she had another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four steals.
But those games were nothing compared to the game she had against Penn State Altoona. In that game, Carter posted career-highs in both points and rebounds during her 19-point 21-rebound performance while shooting an astounding 81 percent from the field. Most impressively, she sent the game into double-overtime with a jumper on the baseline as the overtime buzzer sounded.
When asked how she felt after her career day, Carter was all about her teammates saying, "I was so proud of my team because for once all season I felt like we were more than just a team, we were a family."
With a little push from her coach, Ross Patrick, the forward has taken a different approach to her game this year and she says it all starts with her physicality.
"My coach (Patrick) was always trying to get me to be a 'mean Kiara' as opposed to a soft, not so physical one," Carter said. "So I worked at being more physical and stronger in the offseason so I could prove to my coach and everyone else that I wasn't weak or soft and can be a strong post player."
Despite starting the season so strong, Carter is still humble and focused on the rest of the season.
"I don't want to have a couple great games in the beginning of the season and then start losing the fire," she said. "So I am going to keep working hard and try to help my teammates."
Carter and the Lions are coming off of a loss to St. Mary's in their second Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) game of the season but she says the team morale is still strong, adding "at first it was a little blow to our confidence but we quickly bounced back and realized that we have to go harder in practice and compete and hopefully we can get some upsets this season.
The ladies next CAC outing comes against Frostburg State on Wednesday night, Dec. 11, and the forward knows exactly what it's going to take for them to get the victory, saying "for us to win we all have to show up and go hard. "Not just a few of us; we have to have each other's backs and be selfless. We also have to play our game and make smart decisions."
Though her team is an underdog in the CAC, Carter believes they have all the ingredients to prove the doubters wrong.
"It's no surprise that we are the underdogs but I think we have the ability to do a lot better than people expect us to do," she said.
If she keeps playing the way she has been, don't be surprised to see Penn State Harrisburg do just that.