Women’s basketball prepares for win, must wait to see tournament seeding



File photo. Freshman guard Jamie Hutcheson passes against Akron on Feb. 25. The Flashes beat the Zips 77-76. The women’s team will play Bowling Green Tuesday the 28 at the MAC Center at 7 p.m. Photo by Phillip Botta.

Matt Lofgren

With so much uncertainty left for the seeding in the Mid-American Conference Tournament starting March 7, the one thing that is certain is that the Flashes’ destiny is not of their choosing.

A win against MAC East-leading Bowling Green (23-5, 13-2 MAC) will definitely help the team’s chances of hosting a first-round tournament game. As it stands now, the Kent State women’s basketball team is the No. 9 seed, sitting just below Akron.

Numerous different win-loss combinations by teams can propel the Flashes as high as a seven seed, which would mean hosting the game. With so many different outcomes, coach Bob Lindsay said the team isn’t concerned with what they can’t control.

“They understand there [are] a lot of variables in where we finish at the end of the season and where our seeding [is] in the tournament,” Lindsay said. “They would like to be able to play at home if they could Saturday, but first they have to beat arguably the best team in the league to do it. If they win [Tuesday] night, then maybe they’ve earned their way into a first-round game.”

Home is where the team has performed best, averaging 65.4 points per game at home as opposed to 57.1 points per game on the road. The biggest difference lies in the Flashes’ 1-12 record on the road.

KSU Flashes

The teams’ last meeting was Jan. 4, a home win for Bowling Green, 76-57.

Junior forward Diamon Beckford is questionable with a concussion and has missed the last four games.

Junior Leslie Schaefer will be ready to start her fifth career game.

The Falcons are 15-1 in the two teams’ last 16 meetings and control the all-time series 42-28.

The Flashes’ last win was last season, a 44-43 win at home.

In order to have that crucial last victory before the tournament, Lindsay said his players know they will have to “defend adequately” to get the win.

“We’re going to have to defend their best players,” Lindsay said. “We’re going to have to be competitive on the boards, and we can’t have turnovers in the 20s. If we can keep the turnovers down and we defend adequately, we have a shot to win it.”

Alexis Rogers and Chrissy Steffen are the Falcons’ two highest scorers with Steffen averaging a team-high 13.6 points and Rogers averaging 12.3 points per game, respectively. In the two teams’ last meeting, Steffen dropped a game-high 27 points.

While the coaches work to game-plan for Bowling Green, Lindsay’s players are preparing mentally for a late-season run. Freshman Melanee Stubbs said if the Flashes “push harder,” then they can be the team that comes out on top against the talented Falcons.

“It’s the last test to get all of our nerves out and just come out fresh in the tournament,” Stubbs said. “With our conference, I guess anything is pretty much possible. BG has lost two games to teams they shouldn’t have, and that doesn’t mean that they didn’t come out and execute. The other team may have just pushed harder. But if we push harder, maybe we can come out on top like other teams have.”

Bowling Green has two conference losses this season: one to a Toledo team that is second in the MAC West and the other to Ohio, a team that the Flashes beat at home back in January. The two losses prove the Falcons are beatable and junior forward Tamzin Barroilhet knows a win would be great for a late push.

“I think if we come out with a win, we can go into the tournament feeling more confident,” Barroilhet said. “I think if we win against BG and depending on what other teams do, we would get a better seed and possibly play at home for the first round.”

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center for potentially the last home game of the regular season.

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