Jones’ 16 point performance leads team to 71-53 win

Brad Tansey

A combination of smothering defense and Taisja Jones’ 16 points helped the Kent State women’s basketball team to its second win of the season last night.

The Flashes (2-0) defeated Northeastern 71-53 in the teams’ first ever meeting.

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said he is happy with the team’s 2-0 start to the season.

“Any time you can win your first two games and with them being on the road, it’s encouraging,” Lindsay said. “Our team worked hard enough and made the plays to get the win, and that’s an encouraging sign.”

The Kent State defense harassed Northeastern, forcing 22 turnovers in the game.

Jones, a 6-foot senior forward, led a group of four Kent State players who scored in double figures.

Kent State senior guard Jamilah Humes finished the game with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. 12 of her points came in the second half.

Senior forward Chenel Harris finished the game with 13 points. She led the Flashes at the free throw line, going 5 of 8. Freshman forward Tayler Stanton added 11 points in 20 minutes off the bench.

“I thought (Stanton) gave us a lift,” Lindsay said. “She scored for us, and she defended well in some spots. She was definitely a positive for us tonight.”

Northeastern sophomore forward Rachael Pecota scored a game-high 19 points. Normally a successful 3-point shooter, Pecota was silenced to 4 of 14 from 3-point range.

“I thought we defended the 3-point line decently,” Lindsay said. “They got a few looks, but I think we were conscious of them there.”

The Huskies (0-2) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes. This would be the team’s only lead of the game.

Kent State used sophomore center Leslie Schaefer’s height advantage over the Huskies, going to the 6-foot-3 sophomore multiple times in the first half. She finished the game with eight points, six of which came in the first half.

Senior guard Stephanie Gibson was forced to the bench five minutes into the game with two personal fouls. With Gibson out, Humes was forced to take over at point guard.

“We reacted and handled her absence well,” Harris said. “We have good players at the guard position, and they all stepped up.”

The Flashes went on an 11-0 run with Humes controlling the backcourt to take a 21-12 lead in the first half.

Fouls plagued Northeastern in the second half. The Huskies committed eight fouls in the first five minutes of the half.

The Flashes used a 10-0 run to give the team a 20-point lead. Jones sank a 3-pointer to give Kent State a 53-31 lead with just over seven minutes left in the game.

Northeastern mounted a comeback late in the second half, but it was too late.

The Huskies cut the deficit to 15 points with 1:43 remaining. The Kent State defense stood strong, however, not allowing Northeastern to come any closer.

Harris said the win helps motivate the team going into the next game.

“With the number of freshmen on the team and the newness of the team, getting a road win helps us build confidence,” she said. “We’re working hard, and the win gives us motivation to keep up our hard work.”

Kent State returns to action Nov. 23 to participate in the Great Alaska Shootout against Washington.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].