Women’s basketball edges Miami to win fourth straight at home

With 5.2 seconds to go, junior guard Mariah Modkins launched a three that rattled off the rim. Junior forward Lindsey Thall grabbed her third rebound and laid the ball in to give the Flashes a 71-69 lead with 1.8 seconds left.

Sophomore guard Katie Shumate stole Miami’s final inbounds pass to seal Kent’s fourth straight home win of the season.

“There were only a couple seconds left, so we really weren’t going to have the opportunity to play that much defense,” Thall said. “Our mindset was to crash the boards and see if we could get a rebound.”

The win was the team’s first since coming off a 25 day pause due to COVID-19 issues.

“What I told the team after the game was it takes a while to get back into midseason rhythm and form,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I told them we have to continue to stay tough and find ways to be gritty and play on every possession.”

Miami (2-15, 1-12 MAC) usually averages 19 turnovers per game, but only turned the ball over eight times resulting in 12 Kent State (6-3, 5-1 MAC) points. The Flashes turned the ball over 20 times, resulting in 20 points for the RedHawks.

“We have to get better at taking care of the basketball,” Starkey said. “We had 22 turnovers against Ohio and 20 today. Averaging 21 turnovers a game in this league is not a good sign.”

After scoring 20 points in the first quarter the Flashes went cold, scoring only nine points in the second quarter on two of 10 shooting, taking a 33-29 deficit to the locker room at the half.

“We got very stagnant and very passive,” Starkey said. “The offensive side of the ball is what struggles a lot of times when you have these long breaks because offense is much more rhythm based. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get that flow and that rhythm back and that’s something that we’re working on every day.”

Miami was led by sophomore guard Peyton Scott who scored a game-high 34 points and grabbed four steals.

“This conference has some phenomenal guard play and Peyton Scott’s another one of them,” Starkey said. “She is a handful.”

Kent had three players in double-digits: sophomore forward Nila Blackford with 23 points, Thall with 17 points and four blocks and sophomore guard Clare Kelly with 12 points on five of five shooting.

Along with her 23 points, Blackford grabbed 10 rebounds to achieve her fifth double-double in just six conference games.

“She was the last one back into the fold [out of quarantine],” Starkey said. “The eight for 12 shooting and making all of her free throws was a really good performance out of her.”

Freshman guard Casey Santoro provided a spark off the bench for the Flashes scoring five points and dishing out a game-high seven assists.

“She’s doing really well and playing really hard in her role and everything,” Thall said. “She’s doing a really good job of being a scorer and distributor for us. She’s really come into that role in playing a point guard spot on our team when Mariah is out or when they’re both in together.”

Kent, which has the second worst free throw percentage in the conference at 67 percent, had one of its best games from the free throw line shooting 17 of 18 from the stripe.

Overall, the Flashes shot 48 percent from the field compared to Miami’s 40.3 percent and out-rebounded the Redhawks 36 to 29 in the contest.

Kent State has a quick turn around with the team’s next game on Monday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. at the M.A.C.C against the University of Toledo (8-7, 4-7 MAC).

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