Women’s basketball snaps losing streak, gets first conference win

Meghan Blaha

The Kent State women’s basketball team snapped its seven game losing streak in a thriller on the road against conference rival Ohio University.

It was a full team effort to spark a come back from a 16-point deficit in the second half to take the lead and get the win, 57-55. Ohio University (5-15, 0-8 Mid-American Conference) kept it interesting late in the game, but could not stop the second half push by the Flashes (3-18, 1-7 MAC).

Freshman Rachel Mendelsohn, senior Tamzin Barroilhet and junior Amber Dunlap — all guard — all finished in double figures for Kent in what was a full team effort.

This was Kent State’s first time holding the lead in two games.

Point Guard Rachel Mendelsohn played a game high 39 minutes, scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.

Kent State shot above 50 percent from the free throw line and are 5th in the MAC for free throw percentage.

Tamzin Barroilhet recorded 2 blocks, more than any Ohio University player.

Kent State head coach Danielle O’Banion loves seeing everyone contribute to the win.

“We talked with our team in the locker room after the game, [and] everyone that was in uniform today helped us win. So this is truly a team win,” O’Banion said. “Although we won before, today I am most proud of this because they beat some really tough odds. We put ourselves in some pretty tough situations. We were down by as many as 16 in the first half. They found who they really are today and I’m excited for them.”

The Flashes went on a 10-0 run early in the second half to curb any momentum that Ohio had coming out of the locker room and narrow the lead to within five.

Barroilhet contributed a double double for the Flashes, scoring 18 points and bringing in 10 rebounds. She said that her team never let the large deficit break their focus.

“I don’t think it ever crossed anyone’s mind. We have been in situations like that before, but today we never looked at the scoreboard,” Barroilhet said. “I don’t think anyone really realized we were down that much we just kept playing and making plays.”

Ohio’s Kiyanna Black hit a 3-point shot with 3:13 to tie the game at 51. That was the final time that OU would share the lead as Amber Dunlap hit a fade away jumper on the baseline to make it 56-55 with 19 seconds left to play. Dunlap finished with 12 points.

The Flashes finished shooting 47 percent from the field, much higher than previous games. They also hit 7 of 12 from the free throw line, which was crucial as the clock began to wind down.

Turnovers were still a problem for Kent State throughout the game, committing 15 in the first half and 24 overall, allowing Ohio to score 16 easy points. Kent’s tough full court pressure allowed them to capitalize off of 20 OU turnovers and score 24 points.

The Flashes were able to dominate scoring in the paint with 36 points.

“A lot of times, my player was doubling on the other post player so I was cutting and Leslie [Schaefer] gave me a few good passes,” Barroilhet said.

Kent State will look to take this momentum into a two game home stand starting with Western Michigan 7 p.m. on Thursday.

“It is an exciting way to start the month. We talked with our team about getting fired up for February and that is a theme that will carry through the month,” said O’Banion. “I do still believe that this team will play it’s best basketball this month and next month and that is going to be the goal for this program so we can prepare eventually for the postseason.”

Contact Meghan Blaha at [email protected].