Women’s basketball extends winning streak to three games

Katie Shumate, junior, shoots a basket in today’s game against Duquesne. The Golden Flashes Women’s Basketball team won, 71-66 on Wed. Dec. 8, 2021.

The Kent State women’s basketball team (7-1) held off a fourth quarter rally by Duquesne University (4-6) to win its third straight by a final score of 71-66 Wednesday.

“It wasn’t pretty, but I thought Duquesne did a really good job of game planning against us defensively,” coach Todd Starkey said. “Credit to Duquesne, they made it a tough fight for us. It was a very physical game, but I’m really proud of the way we fought.”

KSU is 7-1 for the first time since the 2008-09 season. 

The teams played fairly even in the first quarter, but the Flashes led 15-14 after the first 10 minutes of action.

In the second quarter, Kent State shot 55.6 percent from the three-point line and took a 34-27 lead to the locker room at the half.

The Flashes ended up taking a 52-43 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Dukes fought back to cut the lead to one with just over three minutes left in the game.

“They mixed up defenses a lot in the second half which really kind of kept us out of rhythm,” Starkey said. 

With just over one minute to play, junior guard Clare Kelly dished out an over the top pass for her third assist to senior forward Lindsey Thall, who knocked down her third three-point shot of the game to put Kent up 68-63.

“That’s just a good basketball play,” Starkey said. “It’s not something we work on. I mean, it’s a skip pass. We’re better at moving the ball now, we’ve got better players. I think it was just a really good play by Clare.”

The shooting percentages were fairly even with Flashes shooting 43.6 percent overall and 42.3 percent from three-point range compared to Duquesne’s 42.3 percent overall and 42.1 percent from three-point range.

Offensively, KSU was led by junior guard Katie Shumate with 21 points on 50 percent shooting, sophomore guard Casey Santoro with 19 points on 66 percent shooting and Thall with 16 points on 50 percent shooting.

“I think coming from last year, there’s been a lot of changes for me individually and our team,” Shumate said. “All around, I feel better and healthier, and the atmosphere is just a lot better, so it’s a lot easier to have energy and play well.”

Santoro led the team in three-point shooting making four of her five attempts from beyond the arc.

“Honestly, it just feels good,” Santoro said. “It’s kind of like don’t think, just shoot it, like a heat check moment, but it feels good.”

For the Dukes, graduate student guard Fatou Pouye led the way by scoring a game-high 31 points.

“She’s their leading scorer,” Starkey said. “We knew she had the potential to do that, but if you look at our record over the last three or four years against teams that have a single player that scores 30 or more points, I think we’ve lost one of those games.”

Defensively, the Flashes outrebounded Duquesne 32-30 and forced 13 turnovers resulting in 14 points.

“I’d like to have a little higher conversion rate off of 13 turnovers,” Starkey said. “It’s one of those things that we have to get better at is our conversion rate off of turnovers. Plus, we need to force some more.”

Thall grabbed nine rebounds while junior forward Nila Blackford and Santoro each grabbed seven in the contest.

Kent State will be back in action on Saturday for the Holiday Theme game at 1 p.m. against Clarion University (2-5) in Kent.

Kathryn Rajnicek is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]