Flashes’ defense fails in road loss to Central Michigan

Josh Johnston

Women’s team falters against the sixth-best scoring team in nation

Defense was nowhere to be found last night at Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Despite a near season-high of 94 points, the Kent State women’s basketball team failed to stop the sixth-best scoring team in the country, falling 109-94 to Central Michigan.

From the beginning, the Flashes (15-5, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) could not hold back the Chippewas’ high-scoring offense, which hit 41-of-75 shots.

“They were getting wide-open shots just off of second-chance points,” said Lori Bodnar, Kent State associate head coach. ” . They were getting offensive rebounds, and they were getting loose balls, and that was basically the key.”

Central Michigan senior guard Angel Chan and sophomore guard Shonda Long combined for 45 points on the night, mostly on 3-point shooting as the duo went 12-of-21 from the perimeter. In all, the Chippewas had six players in double figures to record their highest point total this season.

“We really didn’t defend anybody,” said sophomore guard Jamilah Humes, who scored 25 points last night. “That was really a big factor. We really didn’t get out and defend the 3-point shot. They were knocking down every open opportunity that they had and they weren’t missing.”

For Kent State, a strong shooting night was not enough. The Flashes shot 36-of-63 (57.1 percent) from the field. Senior center Anna Kowalska led four Flashes in double digits with 27 points.

“I thought we shot the ball pretty well,” Bodnar said. “(Junior guard) Rachel Bennett goes 4-for-4 from the 3-point line. Jamilah Humes was getting any shot that she wanted. . Anna Kowalska (Central Michigan), had three of four people collapsing on her and she scored.”

From the start, the Chippewas controlled the game with their fast-paced tempo. Central Michigan jumped out to a 21-9 lead in the early going off of four 3s by Long. Less than nine minutes into the game, Central Michigan had hit 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.

“We came out underprepared,” Bennett said. “We knew that they were 3-point shooters, and they were going to chuck and chase. We came out not ready to play in the first half, and they got some easy buckets in the beginning.”

Kent State managed to close within nine with 11:11 left in the first half but could come no closer. Central Michigan finished the first half ahead, 57-41.

In the second half, the teams traded basket for basket for most of the time, with the Chippewas always holding on to a double-digit lead.

“It really didn’t even feel like we were doing anything because every time we scored, they scored,” Humes said. “In the beginning, they got off to a lead, and we got up the points, but we weren’t able to get stops.”

With 2:15 left to play, sophomore guard Stephanie Gibson hit a 3-pointer to bring Kent State back within nine, 100-91. Central Michigan responded with seven straight points to seal the game.

“Our plan was to slow (Central Michigan) down a little bit and contain the shooters,” Bodnar said. “That was something we didn’t do.”

Kent State will take on Northern Illinois at noon Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].