Women’s basketball trounced by Northwestern

Ben Orner

Box Score

The Kent State women’s basketball team is still winless after falling 72-54 to the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday night.

After losing to North Dakota State and Youngstown State to begin the season, the Flashes couldn’t notch their first win and were bested in Evanston, Illinois by Northwestern (3-0), a Sweet 16 team in last year’s National Invitational Tournament.

The Flashes committed 21 turnovers, a statistic coach Danielle O’Banion said doomed her team.

“When you turn it over 21 times, that really puts you in a tough spot to have a chance to win,” she said.

O’Banion said Northwestern built a formidable lead early because of the fast-break points they were generating off of Kent State turnovers. This also made it difficult for Kent State to close the gap.

Northwestern never trailed in the game, reaching 38-25 lead at halftime. The Wildcats’ largest lead of the night was 25, and they never faltered, finishing with a commanding 18-point win.

Kent State’s offense fluttered all night, as the Flashes’ starters only procured 26 points and the bench produced 28.

Redshirt junior guard Melanie Stubbs and redshirt senior center CiCi Shannon both scored 10 points each to lead the team.

Northwestern had four players with 11 or more points due to an outstanding shooting. The Wildcats went 23 for 51 from the field and netted six three-pointers. The Flashes made only 25 of 70 attempted field goals and mustered just two threes.

Also, Kent State only scored two points from the free throw line, while Northwestern registered 20.

The only significant bright spot for Kent State on Friday was rebounding, as they out-rebounded the Wildcats, 46-36.

The discouraging loss puts more pressure on the Flashes to clean up their act.

“We’ll continue to work on ball security,” O’Banion said, again emphasizing that turnovers have been the crux of her team’s issues.

She also said her team needs to improve on scoring against zone defenses, which slowed down the offense Friday night.

O’Banion said the 0-3 start gives the Flashes more motivation to finally put a tally in the win column soon.

“They’re hungry,” she said of her team. “I was encouraged by the high level of effort we played with in the second half (against Northwestern), and I thought our players played with a higher level of determination.”

After being down 15 at the half against the Wildcats, the Flashes were only outscored by five in the second half, a drive that needs to be felt during the entire game, O’Banion said.

“Our message is bring that for 40 minutes and we’ll see what happens,” she said.

The women will return to action Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 11 a.m. as they get set to host the 0-3 Belmont Bruins inside the M.A.C. Center. Belmont was most recently thrashed, 95-35 by No. 12 Louisville on Thursday. Like Northwestern, the Bruins played in last year’s NIT but lost to Indiana in the first round.

Kent State and Belmont met last year in Nashville, with the Bruins coming away with an easy 84-60 victory.

Contact Ben Orner at [email protected].