Quiet and unassuming are words that come to mind when looking at junior point guard Kristin Haynie.
Until you watch her play.
It's then you realize this soft-spoken athlete runs the show for one of the nation's top 20 teams.
"Since I've been here, you watch a lot of people grow up quick, and Kristin was one of those players," senior forward Julie Pagel said. "She came in as a freshman, started at point guard and wasn't fazed at all."
In fact, Haynie has started all but four games in her two-plus year career at MSU. In her freshman season, Haynie was selected to the all-Big Ten freshman team and was honorable mention all-Big Ten last season as a sophomore.
Now in her third year, Haynie has taken on a new role as a leader. As a point guard and one of the three elder stateswomen of the team, she said she has realized what she needs to do.
"I need to be a leader out on the floor as a point guard," Haynie said. "I need to be able to create things for my teammates and find them when they're open, but also score when I need to and get it done defensively."
Haynie is third on the team in scoring and free-throw percentage, averaging 9.4 points per game and shooting 83.3 percent from the foul line. She is second on the team in rebounds with a 4.8 average, trailing only sophomore forward Liz Shimek, whose 8.4 board average is third in the conference.
Haynie leads both the team and the Big Ten in steals, averaging 3.1 per game. Her 4.2-assist average is tops on the team and sixth in the conference as well.
"She's got her head up all the time, and she's a stealing machine," Pagel said. "She's more multitasking, she can do anything on the floor and she's becoming more consistent. She's grown up a lot in the off-season since last year, just doing the little things."
The little things have come about quietly, just like her personality and sometimes her statistics. She has quietly compiled the numbers and taken over leadership duties on the team.
What does it say about Haynie that the Spartans are ranked No. 17 in the country with a chance to make a push for the Big Ten title?
It says is not only head coach Joanne P. McCallie getting through to the players, but is getting through to Haynie, who in turn is getting through to her teammates.
"She's having an excellent year for us and has been a good leader," McCallie said. "I think her quiet demeanor is very misleading. She says what she needs to say when she needs to say it, and she has everyone's attention when she speaks."
McCallie mentioned, after Haynie's 16-point, 12-rebound, four-assist performance at Ohio State earlier this season, that she is one of the nation's most underrated point guards.
"She's very much a take-on artist, the type of person who likes to take on a challenge," McCallie said. "In that style, rather than waiting for a situation to arise, she puts herself in dominating situations with her ability to create in the game."
As the dust begins to settle in the Big Ten, it could be Haynie with the ball in her hands and a chance to make the right choice for her team to win a conference championship or a Big Ten Tournament title.
"She's unbelievably calm and just controls everything in the games, and it makes things easier for everyone else," junior center Kelli Roehrig said.