Kent State women play solid defense, still fall to Ball State

Taylor Rosen

The Kent State women fell to Ball State 55-31 Sunday at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana. The low-scoring, physical game was the Flashes’ fifth road loss of the season.

“We were hopeful we could get it going in the second half after only being down 11 at half, but no question today we played bad basketball,” said Kent State head coach Danielle O’Banion in a post-game interview. “I typically do try to dress it up a bit, but we have to be honest about who we were today and who we were not. A positive point from today is the defense continues to be fairly reliable. At halftime this game looked like an NFL playoff game with the score.”

Redshirt-junior center CiCi Shannon led the way for Kent State (3-11) in the first half, playing aggressively on defense and grabbing tough rebounds. Shannon had four rebounds and four blocks in the first 10 minutes of play.

Shannon finished the game with a team-high five blocks and six rebounds, but was unable to contribute more due to fouling out early in the second half.

“Truth of the matter is when you’re not playing aggressively, you are not going to get foul calls in your favor,” said O’Banion. “We were tentative today, not aggressive, and the more aggressive team gets more whistles.”

Despite shooting just 23 percent from the field and turning the ball over 16 times, Kent State went into halftime down 21-10. The Flashes had four steals in the half and managed to stay in the game by holding Ball State to 25 percent from the field and limiting the Cardinals to one make in eight tries from the three-point arc.

Sophomore guard Nathalie Fontaine led Ball State with 11 points. Senior guard Brandy Woody followed with 10 of her own. Freshman guard Jill Morrison also added nine points, with all three of her baskets coming from three-point land.

Kent State finished the game shooting 24 percent from the field, but did well to hold Ball State to a mere 28 percent. The Flashes did show improvements on defense and finished the game with a team total of 13 steals and eight blocks.  

Sophomore guard Rachel Mendelsohn returned to the lineup after suffering a concussion and turned in a solid performance.

Mendelsohn finished the game as the Flashes’ leading scorer with seven. She followed that up with a team-high eight rebounds.

“We know Rachel has that ability she certainly showed us that ability in our opener against Eastern Kentucky, and we have missed her quite honestly, so it’s nice to have her back.”

The Flashes will look to bounce back this Wednesday when they battle Ohio University at the M.A.C. Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Contact Taylor Rosen [email protected].