Women’s team to take on Buffalo in MAC quarterfinals

Josh Johnston

Flashes look for third win this season against the Bulls

The Kent State women’s basketball team managed to sweep only one Mid-American Conference East team this season. Today at Quicken Loans Arena, the Flashes will face that team in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals.

Buffalo scored an upset win over Northern Illinois on Wednesday to set up the third meeting between Kent State and the Bulls. In the regular season, Kent State (19-9, 8-8 MAC) beat Buffalo by 18 points in their first meeting (Jan. 14) and by 19 points the second time (March 4).

“I just think that they can’t really match up with us that well inside,” senior guard Asheley Harkins said. “That’s how we won our two meetings with them. They really couldn’t block (senior center Anna Kowalska) inside – or any of our post players, for that matter.”

Still, the Flashes said they cannot afford to come in overconfident to today’s 3 p.m. game. While some players said it could be an issue, Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said overconfidence should not be a problem.

“I guess there’s always a risk of that, but with our team, I don’t think there’s going to be much of a risk to it,” he said. “I don’t think we’re coming in here thinking we’re light-years ahead of everybody else.”

Because the tournament is single-elimination, Kent State will need to “take no prisoners,” sophomore forward Chenel Harris said.

“Right now because it’s do-or-die . we’re just going to leave it all out on the floor,” she said. “I personally think we can go to the NCAA Tournament, and we can win the MAC championship. These types of opportunities don’t come around every year and all the time.”

With a healthy lineup and a two-game winning streak, the Flashes are set up to make a possible run into the postseason, starting with today’s game against Buffalo. Harris in particular has found success against the Bulls, averaging more than 15 points per game in their last four meetings.

In last week’s regular season game against Buffalo, Harris was a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc. Against the Bulls on Jan. 14, she led the Flashes with 21 points.

“What we did in regular season really doesn’t count at this point,” Harris said. “It’s hard to beat any team three times, no matter who you are or who the other team is.”

Harkins agreed. As a fifth-year senior, Harkins has seen more MAC Tournament games than anyone else on the team.

“It’s not like during the regular season where you can win two, lose one and then go back to winning,” she said. “It basically comes down to a three-game season, and you want to go 3-0 once you get up in Cleveland.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].