Jones’ 36 leads Flashes past Northern Illinois

Senior guard Jamilah Humes goes up for two against Northern Illinois University Wednesday. The Flashes won in overtime 56 to 54. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Senior guard Jamilah Humes goes up for two against Northern Illinois University Wednesday. The Flashes won in overtime 56 to 54. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Matt Lofgren

Kent State’s Taisja Jones drops a career-high 36 points as the Flashes outlasted Northern Illinois in overtime 56-54 at the M.A.C. Center to improve to 15-4 on the year.

Coming off an overtime loss to Ball State Saturday, coach Bob Lindsay and the Flashes (6-1 MAC) found themselves in a very familiar situation Wednesday night.

“It feels good to have 36 points, but I wasn’t thinking about the points, I was just trying not to be 0-3 in overtime games,” Jones said. “So I just went out and played. I was dying, but I didn’t want to let my teammates down or anything because I knew they were looking for me to score.”

Of Jones’s 36, no two points were more important than her game-winning layup with 8 seconds of a tough steam by Jamilah Humes.

Her teammates were looking for Jones all night, not just because she had the hot-hand, but because the team was ice cold all night long. Aside from Jones, the team shot a frightening 9-54 (17 percent) from the field and needed her effort in order to take this one.

As a whole with Jones, the team still shot an uncharacteristic 31.7 percent from the floor. On average, the Flashes usually shoot 44 percent per game, and the struggles of late can be blamed on the Flashes missing several open shots.

A frustrated Jones said she knows her team needs to do better if they want to compete at the level they know they are capable of.

“I feel like our offense isn’t doing too well right now,” Jones said. “Once again it’s me and Mimi (Humes), I don’t feel that anyone is stepping up to take the open shots or anything. They’re just passing it up and looking for us all the time, so I feel like our offense is dying.”

Even though the staple of this Flashes team is defense, the Huskies shot an impressive 52.2 percent from the floor to keep them in the game. The Huskies’s biggest flaw was the 31 turnovers that they committed that lead to 23 points from the Flashes.

“This offensive performance is nowhere near what it needs to be,” Lindsay said. “We got wide open shots just about the whole game and just didn’t make them.”

Aside from Jones, Humes was the Flashes’s second leading scorer with 12 points but was 5-19 from the field and looked frustrated all night. The Flashes’ bench only scored two points off the bench from Leslie Schaefer and only accumulated 20 points aside from Jones.

What the Flashes did right offensively is score in the zone they know best: the paint. Of the team’s 56 points, 30 were scored in the paint with some good passes. Senior guard Stephanie Gibson had five assists while Humes had six to help with the effort.

To tie the game into overtime, Jones was again the key factor by hitting a pair of free throws to go up 49-48 with 1:10 left. The Huskies responded by going to the line themselves, but Kim Davis only sank one of two shots to tie the game with 58 seconds left.

After a pair of missed shots by both teams, Humes stole the ball before the Huskies could get a last second shot-off.

In the overtime period, the Flashes played their strongest defense of the game by only letting the Huskies take two shots during the 5-minute period.

“We didn’t play very smart today. We didn’t make many shots, and I’m very disappointed with the way we played offensively,” Lindsay said. “We gave them a reason to stay in the game, and you don’t do that in your own gym, but we’ll take the win.”

The Flashes will travel to Toledo Saturday to take on the Rockets (14-6, 6-1 MAC West) for a 12 p.m. tip that can be seen on Sports Time Ohio.

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].