Balanced Redhawk scoring attack downs Flashes, 79-63

Gina Butkovich

The Kent State women’s basketball team went into its Saturday afternoon matchup against Miami (OH) eager to leave its three-game losing streak behind.

“We actually had a talk in the locker room just about what we need to do and what changes we need to make,” junior guard Megan Carter said at practice on Thursday. “As far as how we feel, that Ball State game is behind us and we’re going to take our anger out on Miami.”

They might have been mentally ready to win, but Kent State’s defensive struggles against the RedHawks on Saturday led the team to its fourth loss in a row. The Flashes fell to the RedHawks, 79-63.

Offensively, the Flashes did better than they had in previous games, going from shooting 24 percent against Ball State to shooting 41 percent against Miami. Carter led the Flashes with 21 points, while freshman forward Lindsey Thall followed with 16 points.

“Scoring 63 against them, that’s a little bit more than they normally give up,” assistant coach Fran Recchia said in a radio interview. “But I was really disappointed in our defensive effort tonight. Giving up 79 points is just not acceptable.”

Part of the defensive struggle of the game for Kent State was its inability to shut down Miami’s passing lanes. The RedHawks finished with 18 assists, with Flashes unable to string together stops on defense. 

Miami came out of the gate swinging and quickly found itself with an 11-0 lead over Kent State.

“They made a couple of shots early that weren’t expected,” coach Todd Starkey said. “They ran a couple new actions we weren’t ready for.”

The Flashes scored six quick points at the end of the quarter to avoid being shutout in the first frame.

“It was 11-0 and we started to play some defense, started executing, and we turned around and it was 11-6,” Starkey said. “We actually fought back in the beginning there.”

Kent State couldn’t stop Miami though, and another RedHawks’ scoring run later in the quarter meant the Flashes were down 20-8 after 10 minutes of play. 

Kent State was never fully able to recover from its slow start and never led in Miami’s wire-to-wire win. 

“At one point we cut it to 31-24,” Starkey said. “We just weren’t able to sustain any good things that were happening for us and play all the way through the end of the game that way. They outplayed us on both ends of the court today.”

Miami guard Lauren Dickerson, who scored 11 points in the first quarter, went on to finish with 19 points. Junior forward Savannah Kluesner also scored 19 points for the RedHawks.

“Kluesner might be the most improved player in the league; she’s been a force in conference play alone, and we just didn’t have an answer for her,” Recchia said. “And that’s been the last four games. They isolate us a little late, and we don’t have an answer. We’ve gotta get that figured out.”

Kent State fell to 3-4 in conference play following the loss  and will return to the M.A.C. Center on Saturday at 2 p.m. to play Akron.

“We are going to be busy this week and get ready for that nice rivalry game on Saturday and take it one day at a time,” Recchia said.

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