Tale of two halves ends with Flashes defeat

Taylor Rosen

A strong first half performance did not hold for the Kent State Flashes, who gave up 48 second-half points en route to a 76-59 loss against Ohio at the M.A.C. Center Wednesday night.

“Tonight’s game was a game of two halves, like they always are. But I thought we were very committed to our defensive game plan in the first half,” said Kent State head coach Danielle O’Banion. “We did a very nice job getting to the free throw line and really taking advantage of some physical advantages that we had over OU.”

The Flashes got to the line 28 times during the game and converting on 18 of those attempts. The Flashes also dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Bobcats 44-27.

“[In] the second half they turned the tables on us. They did a very nice job getting to the free throw line and we went away from our defensive game plan,” said O’Banion. “The 16-2 run in the first 5 minutes of the half was the difference in the game.”

The Bobcats, who only had eight available players due to injury, came scorching out of the halftime locker room and went on a 16-2 run. They connected on five early three-point shots that proved devastating for the Flashes.

“The decisions we made on the offensive side of the floor, that’s what doomed us, but you do have to give a lot of credit to Ohio,” said O’Banion. “They brought a gang of eight players on the road and shot the three really well in the second half.”

Amber Dunlap finished the game leading the Golden Flashes with a career high 19 points on 39% shooting, with Ashley Evans chipping in 12 and four rebounds.

“I’m really happy for Amber, and I’m happy for her to get a return on her investment. Amber spends a lot of extra time in practice,” said O’Banion. “She holds herself to high standards and puts up extra shots. In a drilling situation [she] goes game speed more consistently than anybody else, so you see that happening in games. I think Amber is very capable of doing this on a regular basis. She is our most dynamic scorer.”

Heading into halftime, the Flashes led the Bobcats 32-28. Kent State came out playing aggressive basketball, attacking the basket and controlling the glass.

The Flashes shot an impressive 50 percent during the first half, while the Bobcats shot 35 percent, including 20 percent from three-point land.

But the second half was a different story. The Flashes only connected on 28 percent of their shots and gave up seven Ohio threes. The team also coughed up eight turnovers to Ohio’s one and had 17 for the entire game.

Kent State travels to Akron on Saturday as a part of the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge; tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

“We’re excited for Saturday’s opportunity. I was pleased with the number of folks that came out to support us tonight,” said O’Banion. “I appreciate that support and am hopeful that they will hop in their cars, vans, and bikes and everything else and come down the road and support us against that school on Saturday.”

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].