Winning streak ends in weekend defeat for women’s basketball

Junior guard Tamzin Barroilhet looks to drive against Buffalo on Jan. 19. The Flashes won 85-73.


Junior guard Tamzin Barroilhet looks to drive against Buffalo on Jan. 19. The Flashes won 85-73.

Matt Lofgren

The Kent State women’s basketball team (5-13, 4-4 MAC) saw its three- game winning streak come to a close Saturday afternoon at Northern Illinois (9-11, 3-5 MAC) as the Huskies were able to suppress the Flashes in the second half to take a 66-55 victory.

In a week where the Flashes traveled over 1,500 miles to face a pair of MAC West foes, the team came out flat against the Huskies and it really affected the team in the rebounding column. The Flashes lost the fight on the boards 39-22, and didn’t collect an offensive rebound until the final minute of the game.

“We just weren’t running down offensive rebounds today,” assistant coach Lori Bodnar said. “Itchy [Itziar Llobet] got one with a minute to go and Trish Krewson got one with 40 some seconds to go. That’s not good enough and if you’re going to win, especially on the road, and the last two games we’ve had a total of six offensive rebounds, you are not going to win games that way.”

One thing that did please the coaches in the game was the young team’s new-found ability to keep itself in the game.

Nine minutes into the game, the Flashes found themselves down 27-10. Playing mature basketball, the team went on a 17-5 run to round out the half and keep their heads above water, including holding the Huskies from scoring in the final four-and-a-half minutes.

“Before, [opponents] would rattle off 20 points and we wouldn’t have known how to react to get back into that,” Bodnar said. “Now we are starting to figure that out.”

Scoring a career high in points in the effort was freshman Itziar Llobet with 20 points. She was the only player in double figures.

Llobet had been having a rough stretch on the scoring end of the floor, but Saturday showed the coaches just how good she can play.

  • The Flashes are 1-1 so far during a five game MAC West swing.
  • The Big Three combined for 21 points while the team struggled to find one another with a season low in assists with four.
  • All but two players that saw action on the court scored for the team.

“She came out with some fire and the steal she got late in that first half and transferred that into a layup, that seemed to get our team going a little bit more,” Bodnar said. “She’s coming out here and gave it her all today, and unfortunately we didn’t come up on the winning end. But it’s good to see this in a freshman and see her mature game after game.”

Aside from the struggles on the boards, keeping a consistent shooting percentage in both halves proved to be a deadly struggle in the game. Shooting a solid 52 percent in the first half, the Flashes were suffocated with the ball in the second, shooting just 37 percent.

The team did struggle earlier in the week when they only hit two 3-pointers, but recovered Saturday and shot 7-21 (33 percent).

Still going through growing pains, Saturday’s game was just one of those days where the ball didn’t play into the Flashes’ hands.

“We held them scoreless for the last four and a half minutes of the first half and then came back and started like we were in the beginning,” Bodnar said. “Then all of the sudden it was like we hit a wall, and they went on a run that hurt us.”

Of all the problems the Flashes have been experiencing, turnovers have hurt the team most so far this season. But Saturday, the team cut down on their Achilles heel, turning the ball over a season low, 11 times to Northern Illinois’s 13.

The Flashes will return home Wednesday to take on Ball State at 7 p.m.  

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].