Overworked Flashes post inconsistent play in tournament loss

Lance Lysowski

The Kent State women’s basketball team shot their way out of last year’s Mid-American Conference Tournament.

They met a similar demise last night when they fell to Eastern Michigan at the Quicken Loans Arena in the second round of the tournament, 69-65.

The team mounted a comeback in the second half with an 11-0 run to eventually take the lead, but inconsistent play continued to haunt them.

One of the team’s top-scoring threats, senior forward Taisja Jones, could not make shots at critical times.

While the team’s starting five consists entirely of seniors, the team’s flat performance on both ends of the court showed the exact opposite.

Jones looked frustrated throughout the game. Pull-up jump shots she usually hits came few and far between.

While senior guard Jamilah Humes improved her game in the second half, she only had six points on 3-for-10 shooting in the first half.

The two tried to overcompensate for a depleted roster, which only used two players off the bench. They routinely took the ball down-court and immediately fired off a shot on the first sight of an open look.

This group of seniors failed to match the performance of last year’s tournament, in which they shot horrendously, but a strong defensive effort kept them alive.

The most surprising aspect of Wednesday’s game was Humes’s performance.

Last season, Humes single-handedly took over Kent State’s opening-round game, as well as their final loss to Toledo.

She showed determination with the basketball and was the slashing guard Kent State was accustomed to seeing.

Wednesday’s game was a bit different.

While Humes finished with 19 points, her first-half performance left much to be desired. She sat at the end of a bench a few minutes before halftime with a towel over her head. With just under 10 seconds left to play, Humes was the ideal player to be the deciding factor for the Flashes.

She drove to the right side of the basket and threw up a prayer of a shot that missed.

Game over.

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the major question surrounding the team was the performance of role players. Everyone assumed Humes and Jones would rise to the occasion.

Humes improved her game, but Jones continued her inconsistent play in the second half. Role players did not even play much of a factor either.

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay only used two players off the bench, and the result was an overworked team on the court.

During timeouts, Eastern Michigan’s team was beaming with confidence. The players were smiling and enjoying the atmosphere that “The Q” provides.

Kent State’s group of seniors looked mentally and physically drained.

The one surprising bright spot for the Flashes was senior center Ellie Shields. Shields took advantage of Eastern Michigan’s lack of height, finishing the game with 19 points.

With the entire starting lineup leaving via graduation after this season, it will be interesting to see how this team looks down the road.

No matter who the Flashes start at center or how many players play off the bench next season, it will be tough to ever be in a position for a season-title run like the Flashes were in this season.

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].