Late comeback fuels women’s win over RMU

Lance Lysowski

The Kent State women’s basketball team trailed by 14 points late in the second half Friday night, but a collective effort helped the Flashes rally to a 62-57 victory over Robert Morris.

The Colonials built a 14-point lead with less than six minutes to play, but the Flashes (1-0) pressed and responded with a 22-5 run to finish the game.

“First games have a tendency to be ugly – and this one was ugly – but it was a win,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said. “And I like the way we won. To be down on someone else’s home court and to come back was a credit to our players.”

Kent State’s comeback was led by the team’s defense, which held Robert Morris to 2-of-8 from the field during the Flashes’ rally and held a plus-10 turnover margin on the game.

During the opening minutes, Robert Morris (0-1) controlled the game. The Colonials started 8-of-9 from the field, including a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc. The Flashes’ deficit grew to 11 points with under nine minutes to play, as Robert Morris shot 57.9 percent from the field in the first half.

Kent State shrunk the Colonials’ lead to one with just over a minute to play in the first half as senior forward Yoshica Spears’ basket counted for two of her seven points in the game. The senior also had a team-leading eight rebounds.

Robert Morris stifled the Flashes’ confidence when freshman forward Vega Gimeno-Martinez sunk a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Colonials a 30-26 lead at the half.

After the break, the Flashes fell behind again, surrendering six straight points to Robert Morris.

“We were lethargic to start the second half,” Lindsay said. “We played really hard in the last eight minutes of the first half, and we came out really sluggish in the second half.”

Senior guard Rachel Bennett and junior center Ellie Shields paced the Flashes in the final minutes. Bennett’s two baskets, along with Shields’ one, brought Kent State within five. Junior guard Stephanie Gibson, who added 12 points off the bench, went 4-of-6 from the 3-point line, including a marker with 2:44 left to play.

“Ultimately, we made plays at the end,” Lindsay said. “It was a battle of wills; we made some shots down the stretch and made some plays.”

The Flashes went 5-of-5 from the free-throw line in the final 1:20 to seal the team’s first win on the season. The win marks the team’s second straight season opening win.

“It was a good win,” Bennett said. “We dug deep as a team and fought back with intensity. I was proud of the team effort, and it’s good to start the season off with a win.”

Kent State will continue its road stretch on Wednesday when they face Youngstown State (0-1) at the Beeghly Center at 5:15 p.m.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected]

Box Score

Kent State 62, Robert Morris 57

Kent State (1-0)

(Player FG-FGA FT-FTA TP) Humes 1-6 0-2 2, Harris 2-5 2-2 6, Shields 5-8 4-5 14, Bennett 6-13 1-2 14, Stutzman 0-4 0-0 0, Gibson 4-6 0-0 12, Spears 2-6 3-6 7, Jones 2-6 0-0 4, Schaefer 1-2 0-0 2, Odhiambo 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 23-57 11-19 62.

Robert Morris (0-1)

Durojaye 3-4 1-3 7, Jones 4-8 3-4 12, Pace 5-13 3-4 13, Hooten 3-8 0-0 9, Morton 0-2 0-0 0, McMillion 0-0 0-0 0, Tate 0-0 0-0 0, Silaraja 3-4 1-2 10, Gimeno-Martinez 2-5 1-2 6, Gailite 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 9-15 57.