Women’s basketball rallies behind Jones

Women’s basketball rallies behind Jones

Behind junior forward Taisja Jones’ career-high 26 points, the Kent State women’s basketball team defeated Ball State 72-63 Saturday night.

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said the team had to win the effort battle in order to secure a victory, and the Flashes did just that.

“We were going to have to get the loose balls, get the rebounds,” Lindsay said. “I felt we did that. I thought that was the difference in the game. I felt we played harder than they did.”

Led by junior center Ellie Shields’ eight rebounds, Kent State (11-7, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) held a plus-14 rebound margin on the game. The Flashes also forced 17 Ball State (9-10, 3-3 MAC) turnovers, which the team turned into 27 points.

Kent State failed to maintain its leads until there were just over two minutes left in the second half. After Ball State senior forward Danielle Gratton was whistled for a technical foul, Kent State senior forward Yoshica Spears received the inbounds pass and drained a three-pointer to give Kent State the 67-58 lead.

Jones led the way for the Flashes down the stretch with 18 points and four rebounds in the second half. The junior college transfer has scored 20 or more points in seven of her last eleven games. The forward went 7-for-9 shooting in the second half and 9-for-14 on the game.

Senior guard Rachel Bennett said the team is built to succeed, but the Flashes must outwork their opponent in order to win.

“We came into the game saying we need to play harder,” Bennett said. “Our effort had to be more to win this game. We have the talent; we have the scorers on our team. We just need to come in with a full effort. In the end, we wanted it more.”

After trailing by 10 points with just over four minutes to play in the first half, the Cardinals rallied with a 9-0 run to close out the first half as the Flashes held a 32-31 lead at halftime. Kent State’s late second-half surge, however, was too much for the defending MAC champions.

Lindsay said playing in close games will only help the team down the stretch.

“I think this is the kind of game you can build off of,” Lindsay said. “We need to get wins now because some of those road games (later in the season) are going to be tough. We were a little loose with the ball at times, but overall I felt it was a pretty good game.”

The Flashes will wrap up their four-game homestand at 7 p.m Wednesday when the team hosts Central Michigan.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].