Women’s basketball chewed up at Thanksgiving tournament

Ben Orner

The Kent State women’s basketball team came into Thanksgiving weekend with such high hopes, but instead was served a two-course meal of disappointment.

After securing their first win of the season in a Tuesday matinee against Belmont, the Flashes headed to San Luis Obispo, California to play two games at the Cal Poly Holiday Beach Classic on Friday and Saturday.

Kent State was swept by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Dartmouth College, putting the Flashes at 1-5 on the season and in sole possession of last place in the Mid-American Conference.

“The major difference between our win on Tuesday and the two outcomes this weekend was our toughness on the boards and our ability to finish in the paint,” Kent State coach Danielle O’Banion said.

Friday vs. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi

Box Score

On Black Friday, the Flashes were bested by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 57-47.

The Islanders got a huge offensive boost from junior guard Shay Weaver, a transfer from Marshall University who was forced to sit out last season. The 5-foot-9 shooter scored 25 points, recorded three assists and forced three turnovers. Weaver, who holds the Marshall school record for 3-pointers in a season with 69, was 4 for 8 from beyond the arc against Kent State.

For the Flashes, senior Montia Johnson scored 12 points, sophomore Krista White scored nine and senior CiCi Shannon added eight. The Islander lead was just six points going into halftime. Kent State reduced it to three, but the Islanders pulled away with a 10-point victory and buried any chances for Kent State to win its second game of the season.

Saturday vs. Dartmouth College

Box Score

Kent State followed Friday’s loss with a Saturday loss, falling to Dartmouth College, 60-49.

The Big Green dominated the Flashes all game, crushing the Kent State defense. While both teams were 37 percent from the field, Dartmouth was 7 for 20 from three-point range, and Kent State finished with a measly 0 for 4.

Dartmouth’s Hungarian sophomore Fanni Szabo exploded for 28 points and six rebounds while going 4 for 9 from behind the arc. Kent State’s Krista White scored 20 points and recorded six rebounds in the loss.

“I really liked Krista White’s presence,” O’Banion said. “She was an aggressive offensive player for us in both games and had a career high of 20 points against Dartmouth.”

O’Banion said her team’s defense was great, holding Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to 57 and Dartmouth to 60, but it was her team’s offense that couldn’t get the job done.

“You have to find a way to win those basketball games, because you can’t guard much better than that,” O’Banion said.

Looking ahead

The Flashes will head back to the east coast after a weekend of basketball under the California sun and play two away games next week. Kent State will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Duquesne University Dukes for an 11 a.m. matinee Tuesday and will be in Cleveland to face the Cleveland State Vikings at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

“The emphasis will continue to be our paint scoring and our rebounding,” O’Banion said.

Duquesne is 2-3 this season and beat Kent State last year, 94-63 in the M.A.C. Center. The Dukes went all the way to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament last season before being eliminated by Michigan.

Cleveland State is 3-2 this season and finished 14-16 last season.

Contact Ben Orner at [email protected].