Women’s basketball loses despite strong defensive performance

Kent State senior guard Alexa Golden is fouled on a drive to the basket against Detroit Mercy Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. The Flashes won the game, 82-74. [FILE]

Scott Lendak

Coming into Saturday’s matchup against the Kent State women’s basketball team, Michigan senior guard Katelynn Flaherty was the sixth best scorer in the country, averaging just over 23 points per game. 

Kent State held the Wolverines to 54 points. Flaherty had just four points on 2-for-12 shooting.

The Flashes played some of their best defense of the season, but weren’t able to capitalize offensively, shooting just 33 percent in a 54-41 loss. 

When Kent State struggled this season, it was due to turnovers. The team committed 21 turnovers, which led to 16 points for Michigan.

Junior guard Alexa Golden highlighted the Flashes with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals. Golden had at least 13 points in three of her last four games.

Kent State got off to a big lead and led at the end of the first quarter, 15-5. The defenses dominated the first half when the Flashes and Wolverines were tied, 19-19, at halftime.

The Flashes are 6-5 on the season, and the Wolverines improve to 8-2. Michigan’s only losses have been to No. 5 Louisville and No. 3 Notre Dame.

After the Flashes’ impressive first quarter start, they struggled in the second and third quarter, making just four of 20 field goals. 

The Flashes shot poorly from the field, but they intentionally slowed the pace down to keep the score low. The half-court offensive, which usually features senior forward Jordan Korinek, struggled.

Coach Todd Starkey awarded junior center Merissa Barber-Smith with her first career start. The Flashes needed her height to match up with Michigan’s 6-foot-5-inch center Hallie Thome. Barber-Smith played a career-high 29 minutes.

Kent State will be on the road again at 10 a.m. Tuesday when they travel to play Robert Morris.

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].