Cross scores career-high 19 in Kent State’s win over Eastern Kentucky


Kent State senior guard Naddiyah Cross (left) races Detroit Mercy junior guard Brittney Jackson to the ball Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. The Flashes beat the Titans, 82-74, in the home opener at the M.A.C. Center.

Henry Palattella

Throughout her time at Kent State, senior starting point guard Naddiyah Cross has never been a scorer. She came into the Flashes’ matchup against Eastern Kentucky averaging five points per game, and she reached double figures in scoring only once through the team’s first eight games.

On Tuesday, Cross flipped the script, as she finished with 19 points in the Flashes’ (6-3) 65-57 overtime win over Eastern Kentucky (2-5) at McBrayer Arena.

Cross played hero at the end of regulation, as she took an Ali Poole pass on the left wing and stepped into a deep three-pointer to tie the game at 54. The Colonels’ sophomore guard Shay Solomon took the inbounds and sprinted down the court with a chance to knock down a game-winner, but the Flashes’ Merissa Barber-Smith blocked her shot away, sending the game into overtime, a period  dominated by Kent State.

“We were out of rhythm all night,” Kent State coach Todd Starkey told Golden Flashes Radio after the game. “It was like we’re running in mud today, but the last three or four minutes of the fourth quarter we dug in and we got some stops.”

Junior center Barber-Smith put together her best game of the season, recording career-highs in points (nine), rebounds (15) and blocks (four). She was thrust into the rotation early as the Flashes’ leading scorer Jordan Korinek only played 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Senior forward Korinek tied her season-low with 10 points.

Junior bench guard Tyra James also stepped up off the bench, scoring a season-high seven points. James provided solid all-around play in the second quarter in relief of starter Alexa Golden, who was also dealing with foul trouble and eventually fouled out as well. 

Eastern Kentucky’s largest lead was by 10 with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the Colonels found themselves up by seven with 1:40 left to play.

However, the Colonels were unable to put the Flashes away, as they combined to go 2-6 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes, allowing enough of a window for Cross and the Flashes to claw their way back into the game.

Junior forward Abby Wright led Eastern Kentucky with 19 points.

The Flashes will be back in action at 7 p.m. Thursday when they welcome Wright State to the M.A.C. Center.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].