Tales from the free-throw line

Josh Johnston

Flashes hit 22 foul shots in win over WMU

VIEW a gallery from Saturday’s game.

Ironically, sophomore guard Stephanie Gibson missed two free-throw attempts at the end of Saturday night’s women’s basketball game at the M.A.C. Center.

Ironic, because Gibson was previously 20 of 21 from the foul line against Mid-American Conference teams.

Ironic, because the Kent State women’s basketball team had relied so heavily on its previous 22 made free throws to win 70-59 against Western Michigan that night.

In a game marked by subpar shooting elsewhere for the Flashes (14-4, 3-3 MAC), the Kent State women found their marks from the free-throw line, making 22 of 27 shots. Meanwhile, the Broncos’ sneakers barely left a footprint there.

“Later on in the game, free throws kept us in the game,” said sophomore guard Jamilah Humes, who was a perfect 11-of-11 from the foul line. “Their limited free throws helped us too. They were 2-for-8, so that really helped a lot down the end.”

Kent State shot a measly 36.8 percent from the field, including 6-of-21 from the 3-point arc. In contrast, the Broncos shot 46.4 percent, well above their average, with 26 of 56 shots finding their target.

The Flashes’ defense was able to keep Western Michigan off the free-throw line for most of the night, allowing the Broncos to make only eight trips to the line.

n Michigan) shot 46 percent from the field, that was a big difference,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said about the free throws. “There were two things there: the turnover disparity and the number of extra possessions we got from their turnovers, and then of course we didn’t send them to the free throw line a lot. So the 46 percent was negated by that part of it.”

Thanks in part to four steals by Gibson and four blocks by senior center Anna Kowalska, the Flashes forced Western Michigan to turn the ball over 23 times. Late in the second half, back-to-back blocks by Kowalska helped Kent State create a 62-58 lead and seal the win.

Kowalska said getting those stops on defense helped to spark the offense.

“If we’re going to play defense hard, then (the) offense will come up to us,” Kowalska said. “When we score on offense, we come on defense and we play hard defense. I think that’s how it is: When we play good defense, we play good offense.”

For Western Michigan, freshman forward Miame Giden and sophomore forward Brenna Banktson led their team with a combined 32 points and 11 rebounds. Overall, the Broncos outrebounded the Flashes 40-33, further highlighting Kent State’s recent problems on the boards.

“I don’t think we’re aggressive enough,” Lindsay said. “We watch – we don’t get any bodies on people with any level of regulation. We were a bit better (Saturday) at the beginning of the game, but as we wear down, we just don’t chase the ball down as much as we should. Now, there are times where we will go after it, but not enough.”

Still, the often-critical Lindsay said he was happy with the Flashes’ victory.

“Absolutely, I’m happy with any win,” Lindsay said. “I’m our team’s greatest critic. I analyze everything that we do. Absolutely. Absolutely happy with this. I’m a lot happier than if we were losing.

“If I told you a year ago we were (going to) be 14-4 on Jan. (24), would you have believed me? Probably not. So hell yeah, I’m happy.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston

at [email protected].