Women’s basketball looks for 16th straight home win

Matt Lofgren

After the Kent State women’s basketball team suffered its second straight road loss to Toledo (66-53) on Saturday, the Flashes turn to their bench for added help on the offensive end of the floor.

Being close to dormant in last Wednesday overtime win over Ball State, Kent State (15-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) needed to see more production out of its role players on the bench. The team saw that improvement Saturday when the bench added in a strong 15 points.

Led off the bench by senior center Ellie Shields’ 10 points, her efforts helped relieve pressure off some of the starters who have been struggling lately.

The bench has been effective most of the season, with some rough performances mixed in, but have found success when the team overall shoots a higher percentage.

After a rough first half Saturday, in which the Flashes shot 28 percent from the floor, several adjustments were made and the team improved to shoot 56.2 percent in the second.

“In the second half, it did feel like there was a change in how we played by looking for and finding open looks and knocking them down,” Shields said. “It felt like a good change and something we can build on.”

Aside from the red hot scoring attack from senior forward Taisja Jones, the Flashes’ starters have made just 16 of their last 59 shots, adding to the stress of this MAC West stretch.

The role of the starters needs to improve too if the Flashes want to continue their winning ways.

With Jones, on the other hand, the Flashes are getting some much needed points in order to get key MAC wins. Her hot hand will be needed if the team wants to beat an improved Eastern Michigan team at home on Wednesday.

Another tough test facing Kent State will be the fact that the two teams share a 6-2 MAC record. Coming off a win over Miami, the Eagles are a complete team with three players that average double figures.

The Flashes will have a real test in guarding one of the MAC’s toughest all-around players, Tavelyn James, who averages 17.6 points a game; a test that the Flashes defense will need to make up for after faltering against Toledo.

The game will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center as the Flashes look to make it 16 straight home wins as they take on the Eagles.

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].