Flashes knock off Ball State and earn first conference victory


Senior guard Ashley Evans defends the ball against Ball State at the game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. Kent State won the game 60-57.

Taylor Rosen

Kent State defeated Ball State 60-57 behind a near career performance for senior guard Ashley Evans and earned their first conference win of the season.

The contest came down to hitting foul shots down the stretch and the Flashes had no problems in doing so.

“Free throw shooting was everything in today’s game,” said Kent State head coach Danielle O’Banion.

The Flashes hit 20 of their 22 free throws, including very crucial attempts from Ashley Evans and senior guard Mikell Chinn down the stretch and finished at 91 percent for the game.

“I thought we were fortunate that Ball State struggled from the free throw line in the first half in particular,” said O’Banion. “I really would like to believe that they were missing free throws and a bit winded due to our team defense. Our team played very tenacious defense tonight.”

The Flashes’ defense forced the Cardinals into a poor shooting night in which they shot 37 percent from the field on 19 of 51 including 9 of 25 from behind the three-point arc.

Kent State appeared to want this game more than Ball State, and they proved it by coming up with loose balls and out-rebounding the Cardinals 42-35.

“There is no question that they played with an elevated sense of urgency, grit and togetherness,” said O’Banion.

Senior center CiCi Shannon was a dominant presence inside the painted area and finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

The M.A.C. center was rocking during the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday because of the great team effort the Flashes were putting on display.

 “You saw every single time something positive happened the officials would ask me to be mindful of our bench in terms of their enthusiasm spilling onto the floor,” said O’Banion. “I am okay with that warning every day of the week because they were pulling for each other, they played hard for each other and that’s what we’ve been asking them to do.”

The Flashes were led by Ashley Evans, who tied a career-high performance with 19 points.

Sophomore guard Rachel Mendelsohn chipped in with 12 and led the team with four steals in the game. Junior forward Montia Johnson also played a big role in the rebound battle, finishing with a team-high 13 rebounds.

The Flashes will look to win their second straight game in a row when they head up north to take on Eastern Michigan on Thursday. The game will start at 7 p.m.

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].