Early exit shouldn’t overshadow season

Doug Gulasy

The Kent State women’s basketball team’s season didn’t end with a bang this weekend at the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

It didn’t end with a whimper, either.

No, the sound that led to the Flashes’ early demise in the MAC Tournament was much more distinctive: Clank.

Kent State fans heard a lot of that sound in Friday’s quarterfinal loss against Buffalo, as the Flashes bricked jumpers and foul shots off the rim and backboard at Quicken Loans Arena.

All told, Kent State shot 35.1 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from the free-throw line in the Flashes’ 66-54 loss to Buffalo, a team they beat by 18 and 19 points earlier this season.

What a time to have your worst offensive game of the season, right? The Flashes had worse field-goal percentages in five games this season, but at least they hit free throws in those games. That didn’t happen Friday.

The worst part about Kent State’s early exit from the tournament is that it overshadows everything the team accomplished this season.

Yes, the Flashes got upset Friday – but at least they were in a position to get upset after they earned a first-round bye.

We are very quick to forget last season, when the women’s team went 9-21 and lost by 28 points to Bowling Green in the quarterfinals.

This year? The Flashes got off to an 11-1 start and ended with the same amount of wins as the men’s team: 19.

While it would have been ironic for the women’s team to earn 20 wins in the same season the men’s team fell short of that goal, it just wasn’t in the cards. The loss to Buffalo is disappointing, but it shouldn’t make people forget about the 10-win improvement from last season.

Nor should we forget about the possibilities for next season – because for all Kent State accomplished this year, next season could be even better.

The Flashes were a young team this year, and because of that, most of their key players will be back next season. Five of the team’s top six scorers will return for 2009-10.

Of course, there is one major absence from the list of returning players. Senior center Anna Kowalska, the Flashes’ leading scorer, will not be back next season. But if junior Lorraine Odhiambo or sophomore Ellie Shields can make up for the loss of Kowalska, the Flashes could be poised for another strong season.

And who knows? Maybe next year the team will actually make some shots in the MAC Tournament.

Contact sports editor Doug Gulasy at [email protected].