Women’s basketball turn their losing streak inside out

Matt Lofgren

With a one point lead and no time left on the clock, everyone was holding their breath.

The Kent State women’s basketball team held on strong to a 17 point lead with six minutes left — and then the tempo changed: Akron’s zone defense charged on to a 13-0 run that lasted just under three minutes Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

With just 18 seconds left and a 77-76 lead over the Zips, Akron made three late minute tries to steal a win away from the Flashes. Taking and missing all three shots in the final 18 seconds, the Zips (12-17, 6-9 MAC) could not get their miracle to beat the Flashes as Kent (6-19, 5-10 MAC) celebrated a big rivalry win 77-76.

“I think it’s a different story for everyone because we were all kind of confused why they were shooting three’s all over the place when they were down one,” junior Tamzin Barroilhet said. “The ball just kept flying, it was loose all the time and going through one hand to another. It was just like ‘what’s going on?’ because we were just spinning around.”

Coach Bob Lindsay could only stand helplessly on the sideline hoping Akron wouldn’t get lucky.

“The thing that was going through my mind was one of those [3-pointers] was going to go in,” Lindsay said. “Because that’s the way the season has been. There were a lot of bounces at the end that seemed to go in their direction, some of which they just went and beat us to the ball on 50-50s. But they got a lot of shots at the end, and we were very fortunate that one of them didn’t go in.”

Getting a solid balance from his team, Lindsay had five players in double figures led by junior center Leslie Schaefer’s career best, an effort of 16 points and 12 rebounds.  

“The fact that it’s Akron and I think before when I was coming off the bench playing a couple of minutes at a time, you never really get quite adjusted to the game,” Schaefer said. “Now that Diamon is injured, I have the opportunity to see what I can get for 40 minutes, and it’s a lot easier when you can get adjusted to the game and get a rhythm going, and today I just felt it.”

Schaefer was one of five players that played 32 minutes or more. Freshman guard Dena Droste came in off the bench and added 12 points, shooting from deep. At the end of the day, the Flashes finished with 10 3-pointers.

Saturday’s win marks an end to a long and draining seven-game losing streak. Schaefer said it was “really exciting” to finally put an end to what has turned into the second longest losing streak of the season.

“It’s really exciting, and we prepared really hard and a seven-game losing streak was a long time,” Schaefer said. “It feels really good to kind of get out of that.”

As the old saying goes: where there’s smoke, there’s fire. For the Flashes this year, it has been: where there’s the extra pass, there are wins. The team accumulated 19 assists on the day by making the extra passes.

“At times during the season, we have been a very good offensive team,” Lindsay said. “We’re really young. We are susceptible to runs like this team had and we can play really poorly. I think we could be a really good offensive team, I think we need to be a lot better defensive team and we need to rebound the ball a heck of a lot better, certainly.”

While the Flashes trailed in rebounds 49-35, the numbers didn’t help the Zips. The biggest accomplishment for the Flashes was only committing 15 turnovers while picking off Akron 13 times.

The Flashes will play one last regular season game at home on Tuesday against MAC East leaders Bowling Green State University (23-5, 13-2 MAC) at 7 p.m. 

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected] and @MLofgrenDKS.