Balanced attack puts Flashes over EMU, extends winning streak to four

The Kent State women’s basketball team defeated Eastern Michigan University behind a balanced offensive attack.

The Flashes saw six lead changes in a close matchup but won 67-61 to extend their winning streak to four games.

Kent State had four players score in double digits, led by junior guard Mariah Modkins with 16 points.

In a team-high 35 minutes Modkins shot 4-9 from the field and 2-5 from beyond the 3-point arc while also grabbing one rebound and two steals.

Dominating on the boards was sophomore forward Nila Blackford, who had her third double-double of the season with a 14 point, 13 rebound performance.

Blackford’s rebounding was crucial, as Kent State only narrowly out rebounded EMU by a margin of 39-37. She accounted for one-third of the Flashes’ rebounds.

Also making her presence known was sophomore guard Clare Kelly, who put up a perfect shooting performance including a fourth quarter three to extend Kent State’s lead to five.

Kelly was extremely efficient, shooting 4-4 from the field, including two threes, and hit both her free throws. The sophomore played 33 minutes, fewer only than Modkins, and added two steals and three assists.

Junior center Linsey Marchese, a transfer from Indiana University, broke double digits for the first time at Kent State, scoring 10 points along with five rebounds and a block.

Five rebounds was good for a tie for second most on the team, as both senior forward Monique Smith and junior forward Lindsey Thall had five boards. Thall also had five points and one each of a steal, block and assist before fouling out.

In contrast to Kent State’s spread out offensive production, EMU was almost entirely reliant on its offense running through senior Areanna Combs.

Combs gave the Flashes’ defense trouble, scoring 29 points and earning 13 free throws, and harried the Kent State offense with four steals. 

As a whole Kent State struggled taking care of the ball at times as the Flashes gave up 23 turnovers which the Eagles would turn into 24 points.

Kent State would score only 13 points off turnovers and six fast break points, but dominated the half-court matchups to come out on top.

Kent State is now on a four-game win streak following an 0-2 start to the season which included a 103-47 thrashing at the hands of Ohio State to open the season.

Despite that tough start coach Todd Starkey’s Flashes are rolling early in conference play, opening 3-0 against MAC opponents.

In four days Kent State will look to extend their streak to five, as the Flashes host Northern Illinois (2-5, 0-2 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Tip-off against the Huskies is at 2 p.m.

Owen is sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]