Flashes kick-off MAC Tourney action

Matt Lofgren

After clinching a first round bye in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the Kent State women’s basketball team received five days to prepare for their bout against conference foe Eastern Michigan.

Following a 20-8 regular season mark, the Flashes are ready for the challenge of playing the Eagles in the postseason.

On Feb. 2, Eastern Michigan handed the Flashes their only home loss for the season, defeating the team 75-66.

In the game, Kent State (11-5 MAC) recorded most of their points at the free-throw line but struggled for most points on the floor.

Senior Taisja Jones scored 18 of her 24 points at the line and the team shot 32-of-37. The loss was a part of a MAC West swing that the Flashes finished 2-4.

With a second chance at the Eagles, the Flashes need to continue to have contribution not only from top scorers Jones and Jamilah Humes but the bench as well.

In the last meeting between the two teams, the Flashes only scored nine points off the bench and struggled with consistency.

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay knows what the team is capable of doing and believes their best is good enough to take home the MAC crown.

“To execute the offense against pressure, that’s a major factor,” Lindsay said. “I think that being able to rebound on the defensive end of the court is going to be key and boxing out. Really, I think that turnovers and the defensive rebounding aspect of the game will be crucial.”

In the last meeting, the Flashes were out-rebounded 38-to-35, but the Eagles were able to muscle in 19 offensive boards to the Flashes’ 11.

One vital asset the Flashes have, and have had all year, is the sense of being in this position before.

With five senior starters, Lindsay knows he doesn’t have to tell his starters what to expect.

“I feel that they’ll come in having benefited from the experience of playing at the ‘Q’ and playing in this tournament before,” Lindsay said. “Certainly making it to the semis last year helps.”

Senior point guard Stephanie Gibson believes that even though it is just a game, it has a lot of implications on it.

“You have got to bring your best, one and out,” Gibson said. “The last couple of practices, we didn’t know who we were playing against, so we concentrated on us and what we need to do. We just ran our offense and went over our plays and defense.”

The players have definitely welcomed the week off. Humes mentioned the week off will give her knees some well-deserved rest. Being fresh for the tournament will be an edge that most teams would do anything for after a 28 game season.

Matt Lofgren is the women’s basketball reporter.

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].