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Women’s basketball falls to Old Dominion despite late double-digit lead

Debonaire Wright
Sophomore guard Dionna Gray fights for a basket during the game against ODU on Feb. 10, 2024.
Highlights from February 10th’s game vs. Old Dominion.

The Kent State women’s basketball team’s line-up saw some changes as it fell to Old Dominion University in the second round of the Mid American Conference-Sun Belt Conference basketball challenge Saturday. 

The Flashes had their third different starting lineup in the last three games, as sophomore guard Dionna Gray made her first career start.

KSU was the fourth team to score 70 or more points against the Monarchs this season; however, the Flashes saw a 10-point lead erase in the fourth quarter, losing 82-76. 

The Flashes have not played a game with a full roster since they defeated Eastern Michigan (66-57) Jan. 24.

Forward Tatiana Thomas fights for a loose ball in the game against Old Dominion on Feb. 10, 2024. (Debonaire Wright)

“Those are adjustments that you have to make as a team,” coach Todd Starkey said. “But it certainly affects you when three of your top six players are out of the rotation at some point in that stretch. We knew that it was going to be difficult playing this style of game without our best ball handler. So I think that probably has a lot to do with it. But our depth is stepping up when we need them to.”

Junior forward Jenna Batsch was happy with how teammates stepped up in response to Corynne Hauser’s absence.

“I think our depth has been really good,” she said. “Dionna and Eléna (Maier) did well, but the rest of the team needs to be able to adjust around that better.” 

This was Maier’s first appearance since Jan. 17, as she logged nine minutes against ODU. 

The Monarchs (17-6) began the second half with a 33-30 lead, but the Flashes took over, with junior forward Bridget Dunn scoring a quick 3-pointer to take a 34-33 lead. 

After leading 63-62, the Flashes were held scoreless for five minutes as Old Dominion went on a 13-0 scoring run, taking a 73-63 lead.

Kent junior Jenna Batsch and Old Dominion junior Simone Cunningham go for the jump ball to kick off the Kent vs ODU game on Feb. 10, 2024. (Debonaire Wright)

“We’re working on putting four quarters together,” redshirt senior guard Katie Shumate said. “I think we have a team this year that never gives up. But we have to limit the runs that other teams take us in the fourth quarter because we don’t have time to make up for that.”

The Monarchs scored a total of 23 points off of the Flashes’ 18 turnovers.

“They turned us over more than other teams,” Starkey said. “They’re very aggressive. The common factor in that happening, losing your best ball control point guard, who’s one of the best in the conference at assist to turnover ratio, is out.”

Hauser is fourth in the MAC with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio, and as a team, KSU averages 13 turnovers per game.

Shumate finished with 26 points and a season-high 12 rebounds, earning her fourth double-double for the season. 

“She’s just playing with kind of a relentless passion right now,” Starkey said. “She sees this is the last stretch run.” 

After scoring a career-high 25 points in her last game, Batsch contributed 15 points, shooting 3-of-7 from three-point range.

Gray finished with 10 points and one rebound, going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. 

The Flashes shot 46% from the field and 7-of-21 from behind the arc. ODU shot 45% from the field and 40% from three-point range.

Center Mikala Morris looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to on Feb. 10, 2024. (Debonaire Wright)

KSU was outscored 14-5 on second-chance points, and its bench was outscored 16-8. 

Kent State plans to focus on rest and recovery before they take on Central Michigan at 1 p.m. Feb.17, Starkey said.

“This week needs to be a really good reset for us because we got seven conference games left,” he said. “We’re one game out of first place; we have to remember that we’ve done a lot of good work this season. This is a very capable team. We need to make the adjustments with Corynne being out.”

Kelsie Horner is assistant managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kelsie Horner, Assistant Managing Editor
Kelsie is a senior journalism major with a minor in communications. In her three semesters at KentWired, she has served as a Digital Tech, Digital Editor and Assistant Managing Editor.
Contact her at [email protected].

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