Lexi Fleming: mindset of a champion

Lexi Fleming coming out of the locker room, watching her teammates while on crutches.
Lexi Fleming coming out of the locker room, watching her teammates while on crutches.
Jack Rintamaa

Bowling Green women’s basketball guard Lexi Fleming has suffered two major knee injuries throughout her BGSU basketball career: one prior to the 2021-22 season, and another at a game against Indiana on Dec. 22, 2023, the final non-conference game of this season.

“I was driving down the left-hand lane and she cut me off,” said Fleming. “I was planning on doing a jump stop and going over her. But when I did a jump stop, the knee went and just didn’t want to stay.”

This scene took everyone in the arena by surprise.

“I just remember hitting the ground and everyone gasping,” said Fleming. “It was a lot, but the Indiana fans and my teammates were really great, coming up to me to make sure I was okay.”

The mental and physical recovery since that day has been a journey for both Fleming and the program. But with this being the second major injury Fleming has faced, the process has felt familiar.

“Obviously with your first one, it’s your first one, so you don’t completely know what you’re doing,” said Fleming. “You obviously want to get your knee back to where it was. But the second time around, you’ve already been through it, so it makes going through it a lot smoother.
It’s just a long process.”

For Fleming, not being on the floor for the Falcons with her teammates has been the hardest part about being on the sideline.

“There’s both sides; when you see the team needs a little bit more energy, and you can bring a little bit more energy on the court, that’s what I miss,” said Fleming. “Then also with wins, like beating Akron the other night, it’s just, you want to be a part of those. You want to be there. You want to be celebrating, want to be on the court with them. All those little things are just hard.”

With Fleming being one of the most experienced players on the team, the younger players have looked up to her as a leader.

“She’s been through good times and bad times and can be a kind of tour guide for those younger players,”  said head coach Fred Chmiel. “She can guide them through the bumpiest of roads and through handling success.”

Though Fleming isn’t able to compete on the court alongside her teammates, her contributions off the court have not gone unnoticed.

“She’s a coach, and she’s got great energy,” said Chmiel. “She has high expectations for her teammates and coaches them through certain situations. She’s got an idea of what I’m looking for and can relay that message to her teammates, especially the younger group.”

Fleming plans to get back playing soon, but for now, she’s going to do what she can to help the team.

“I want to stick to what I have already established myself thus far and just continue to be who I am,” said Fleming. “I want to do the little things that are controllable: continue to be a great teammate and play hard.”

Along with coming back from her injury, Chmiel believes Fleming will be successful in all parts of life because of her personality and mindset.

“I think she’s as much of a great basketball player as she is a phenomenal person,” said Chmiel. “No matter what she does, no matter what path she takes, she’ll be successful just because of who she is and how she approaches life.”

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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    Bruce ZieglerMar 1, 2024 at 11:35 pm

    My favorite memory of Lexi Fleming is from freshman year when a teammate got sick at mid-court. Players, officials, and media all scattered. The Stroh was silent. Then there was a low rumble and here comes Lexi pushing a trashcan on wheels out to her teammate, and she handed her a towel, gave her a hug, and stood there until the stricken player could leave the floor. That is a good teammate, and a great human being. We can all learn a lot from Lexi Fleming.