Strong second half propels Flashes to Wagon Wheel win

Kent+State+freshman+guard+Asiah+Dingle+dribbles+down+the+court+during+a+game+against+Oakland+University+Nov.+18%2C+2018.+Kent+State+won+the+game+75-65.

Kent State freshman guard Asiah Dingle dribbles down the court during a game against Oakland University Nov. 18, 2018. Kent State won the game 75-65.

Gina Butkovich

The Kent State women’s basketball team beat Akron Saturday in a hard-fought game that was won thanks to a strong defensive and offensive showing from the Flashes that resulted in a 73-58 win.

While Akron did score 23 points in the first quarter, it was held to just 58 points over the duration of the game.The Zips (12-7, 3-5 Mid-American Conference) came in averaging 66 points per game this season.

“We really pride ourselves on our defense, and the past couple of games we haven’t been able to put a full game together,” said Kent State forward Lindsey Thall. “I think this was a good start.”   

Thall was one of the defensive leaders with four defensive rebounds and eight blocked shots.

“I kind of got acclimated to (my height) in high school, being taller than everyone, and it’s been in my box of tools,” Thall said. “I think this was a coming out game for that. It’s exciting to still be able to block shots at the next level.”

In addition to the blocked shots, the Flashes (11-8, 4-4 MAC) also held Akron junior guard Megan Sefcik to 10 points, well under her average of 17 points per game.

“We did a really good job of talking early on (Sefcik’s) screening actions and played well with our hands high so (she)was limited in the number of threes she got off,” Kent State coach Todd Starkey said. 

The defense remained strong throughout the game for Kent State, with the Flashes holding Akron to just eight points in the final 10 minutes.

“We had to dig in the second half and just keep it there, keep it right there and don’t let them back in the game,” Thall said.

The Flashes slowed the game down in the fourth quarter in order to keep control of the game and avoid foul trouble, but still outscored Akron, 11-8.

“We were up 10, 12 points. We wanted to play ball control,” Starkey said. “It’s a smart way to play, reduce the number of possessions they have to come back and score quickly.”

Offensively, the Flashes also performed well, shooting 50 percent from three and 44 percent for the game, better than their season averages of 33 percent and 37.9 percent, respectively.

While the lead changed seven times, Kent State held onto the advantage from the second quarter on. 

“We really got mad at ourselves these past four games,” Thall said.“We had to come out here and play a complete game of offense and defense combined, and I think we are on the right track for that.”

Kent State returns to action on Wednesday to play Western Michigan. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center.

Gina Butkovich is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]