Women’s team falls in semifinals

Lance Lysowski

Late run not quite enough to overcome offensive woes

After the Kent State women’s basketball team struggled in its Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinal victory, coach Bob Lindsay said the team could not repeat the performance if it expected to win its semifinal game against Toledo.

The Flashes’ offensive play actually got worse, shooting 25 percent from the field as they fell to Toledo, 51-49, Friday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Lindsay said he was disappointed with the outcome, but he was more than content with Kent State’s determination — which was witnessed when senior guard Rachel Bennett broke her hand early in the game but still finished the game playing 35 minutes for the Flashes.

“I’ve never been prouder of a team’s effort, of a group’s effort, than the group that was on the floor for the last eight to 10 minutes of the game,” Lindsay said. “It didn’t come out in our favor, and there were two very, very good basketball teams playing against each other today, and somebody had to win. With that being said, these guys left everything they had on the floor, and I can’t ask a team to do anything more than that.”

With 8:04 left to play and Kent State down 47-35, the Flashes slowly narrowed Toledo’s lead. A 3-pointer by Bennett started a 14-4 run, which junior guard Jamilah Humes capped off with four straight points.

After driving to the paint and making a layup, Humes stole the ball from Toledo sophomore guard Naama Shafir and sank a jumper to pull the Flashes within two points with 24 seconds to play.

“We really just wanted to win,” Humes said. “We really did not want this to be our last game, and for us to go out like that, we knew we were capable of competing with this team. The score didn’t show that. We just wanted to come out, play aggressively and keep chipping away at the lead as much as possible.”

On the ensuing possession, the Flashes attempted to foul the Rockets, but it took 18 seconds for the foul to be called. Toledo junior guard Jessica Williams missed both free throws, setting Kent State up for a possible tying possession with 6.6 seconds left to play.

Humes hauled in the rebound and drove the ball to midcourt where Williams tipped the ball from behind, which forced the ball to roll off Humes’ knee and into the arms of Toledo senior forward Tanika Mays as time expired.

Lindsay said the team’s switch to the trap in the defensive zone was successful, but the switch could not have been made earlier or the team would have tired out.

“We had switched between man-to-man and zone pretty much the whole game,” Lindsay said. “We really weren’t very aggressive defensively, and I thought that was the one thing we had to do a little bit better job of. We weren’t using any subs, so when we went into (the trap) the people that went in stayed on the court.”

The Flashes’ offense looked impressive in the game’s opening minutes, but after starting the game 5-for-9 from the field, the team went 1 for its next 19. Despite Kent State’s shooting woes, Toledo only gained a slight three-point advantage in that time.

Senior forward Yoshica Spears’s two free throws with 8:36 left in the half gave Kent State an 18-16 lead, but Toledo took the lead for good less than two minutes later.

Following her 24-point performance against Central Michigan, Humes finished with 16 points and six rebounds.

Lindsay said Humes not only had a solid tournament, but a solid season, which ended with first-team All-MAC honors.

“She’s played very, very well,” Lindsay said. “There are times where she’s been great, and there were times where she tried to do a little bit too much. When she’s your best player, and you’re relying on her to get something going, sometimes that happens.”

The Flashes’ season may not be over, though. The team will find out tonight if it earned an opportunity to play in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at

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