Overtime shot earns women’s basketball first win


Guard Rachel Mendelsohn tries to steal the ball in the game against Walsh University in the M.A.C. Center on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. Kent State women’s basketball team loses the game to Walsh University 89-80. Photo by Yolanda Li.

Tim Dorst

The Kent State women’s basketball team trailed about 2 points with 14 seconds left in overtime against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Sunday before sophomore Rachel Mendelsohn made the biggest shot of the game.

Mendelsohn drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with two seconds remaining to power the Flashes to a dramatic 75-74 victory in its season opener at the M.A.C. Center.

The sophomore guard led her team with 21 points and added four rebounds and a pair of steals as Kent State began its 2013-14 season on the right foot. Head coach Danielle O’Banion said she was proud of how hard the team worked as it played through errors early in the game to earn the win.

“They showed great resilience,” O’Banion said. “We didn’t play a perfect game, but we played well enough to beat a very good Eastern Kentucky team.”

Freshman guard Larrisa Lurken shot 11-13 from the free-throw line on her way to 17 points for the Flashes, and junior forward Montia Johnson recorded a double-double in her first official game with Kent State, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Flashes battled to keep the game close in the first half, but an 8-2 run by the Colonels gave Eastern Kentucky a 34-27 lead going into halftime. The Colonels led by as many as 9 points at the 8-minute mark of the second half.

Kent State whittled away at the deficit and tied the game at 54 off a jumper by senior guard Ashely Evans. Eastern Kentucky regained the lead, but Lurken converted on a layup to tie the game once again at 60 with less than a minute left in regulation.

Lurken gave the Flashes the lead on a pair of free throws before the Colonels’ Marie Carpenter hit a jump shot with five seconds left to tie the game at 62 and send it into overtime.

With the Colonels leading 74-72, Evans stole the ball from Carpenter and O’Banion called a team timeout to stop the clock. When play resumed, Mendelsohn dribbled the ball up the court and around the 3-point arc before launching and swishing the go-ahead basket.

The Colonels’ last-second attempt from beyond half-court fell well short of the hoop, and the Flashes began to celebrate the season-opening, overtime victory.

The Flashes will be back in action Thursday, hosting Duquesne at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].