Flashes coast to victory over Bulls

Josh Johnston

Perimeter shooting leads KSU to win

Sophomore guard Jamilah Humes shoots through two Buffalo defenders during last night’s game. The Flashes beat the Bulls 72-53. Jessica M. Kanalas | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State women’s basketball team needed only 20 minutes to beat Buffalo last night at the M.A.C. Center. After that, the team coasted.

Behind strong perimeter shooting, the Flashes (18-9, 7-8 Mid-American Conference) built a 20-point lead in the first half and then held onto it through most of the second for a 72-53 win.

“I thought our offensive execution at times (last night) was really good,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said. “I’m stating the obvious here, but (we) shot the ball really well from the 3-point line.”

After going 0-of-9 from behind the arc at Bowling Green on Saturday, Kent State rediscovered its long-range shooting, going 12-of-21.

Sophomore forward Chenel Harris continued her scoring streak against Buffalo by hitting all four of her 3-pointers and scoring 13 points. In her last game against the Bulls, she led Kent State with 21 points.

“I’m not sure what it is,” Harris said. “I wish we could play a Buffalo-like team every game and I could play like that.”

Driving the Flashes’ offensive game, however, was junior guard Rachel Bennett. Bennett scored a season-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and tallied eight assists.

After hitting their first three shots from the field in the first half, the Flashes nearly went silent on offense, shooting 1-of-14 over a seven-minute span. Buffalo took a 9-8 lead on a layup by sophomore forward Kourtney Brown.

About two minutes later, sophomore guard Jamilah Humes found freshman guard Jena Stutzman streaking down the lane for a basket to give Kent State the lead for good.

The play sparked a 16-0 run that put Kent State up 24-9 with 7:01 left in the half.

“In the beginning, maybe we weren’t fully warm or we were rushing shots,” Harris said. “I know we missed a lot of layups in the beginning. As we got going, the layups opened up (and) shots opened up the key.”

On the other end of the court, Buffalo stalled, failing to score during a nine-minute span in the first half. Brown, the Bulls’ leading scorer, saw only six minutes of action before getting called for two fouls.

“I really felt great about our first-half defense,” Bennett said. “Our goal was to take Kourtney Brown out of the game, and that’s what we did in the first half.”

In the second half, Buffalo pulled to within 14 points of Kent State with 13:15 left in the game, but an 11-2 run by the Flashes over the next three minutes sealed the game. The Bulls outscored Kent State 39-38 in the half, but that mattered little in the final outcome.

“I thought we got a little lazy when we got a lead and gave up some things that we probably shouldn’t have given up,” Lindsay said. “Overall, it was a good offensive game for us. We held those guys to (53) points, regardless of how it was distributed.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].