Women’s basketball faces Bowling Green for a third meeting in MAC Tournament

Meghan Blaha

With only one win in the Mid-American Conference, Kent State was unsure of its conference fate after its Wednesday night loss to Bowling Green.

With the Flashes tied at the bottom of the conference standings with Ohio, a coin toss left Kent State with the lowest seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament.

Eleventh-seeded Ohio will travel to sixth seed Miami, while 12th seed Kent State will travel to fifth seed Bowling Green for the third meeting between the teams this season.

“Any way you look at it, it’s my understanding that we will play a team that we have already faced twice,” said head coach Danielle O’Banion. “It’s very difficult to beat a team three times in a season.”

The teams first met at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green in January. The Falcons dominated, winning 69-33 and shooting 43 percent from the floor.

Kent State struggled from the floor that evening and turned the ball over 18 times.

“At home, we played Bowling Green and Miami tougher. On the road, both of those games got out of hand,” O’Banion said.

The Flashes competed better against the Falcons on Wednesday night, holding Bowling Green to 16 points in the first half, but ultimately fell short, losing by eight. Senior forward Diamon Beckford knows it will need to be a team effort on Saturday for the Flashes to be successful.

“Play as hard as we can, play together, and just know that it is just us 11 in there together, trying to give it all we got for as long as we can,” Beckford said. “At the end of the day, all we have is each other. So that’s all we plan on doing, going out there and doing what we have to do to be successful.”

No doubt the underdog of the tournament, O’Banion has no problem taking the role of Cinderella and making a run far into the tournament.

“We have to be the best Kent State basketball team we can be to win, and if [it] ends up that we put on the slipper then so be it; we will be ‘that girl,’” O’Banion said. “It would be very easy for most teams in our position to just try to get through Saturday. I can tell you right now that that locker room was disappointed [Wednesday] not to have capitalized on the opportunity, and they are eager to be Cinderella.”

With a win, Kent State will face the winner of Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. All first round games are being played Saturday at campus locations.

Tipoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Bowling Green.

Contact Meghan Blaha at [email protected].