Flashes fall inches short against Ohio

Thomas Gallick

Junior guard Asheley Harkins attempts a shot against Ohio University (16-11) during Saturday afternoon’s conference match-up. Despite a 14-point rally in the second half, the Flashes (8-19) were not able to hang on to the lead and fell to the Bobcats 69-6

Credit: Ron Soltys

Sophomore guard Rachel Bennett completed her first free throw with seven seconds left in the game, but missed her second and a chance to tie the game up as the Flashes fell to the Bobcats 69-68 yesterday at the M.A.C. Center for the first time since 1991.

Bennett, who scored five of the Flashes’ (5-10 Mid-American Conference, 8-19 overall) final seven points in the attempted second half comeback against Ohio, raced down the court after Ohio senior guard Lauren Kohn missed a free throw at the other end but could not get a last second shot off in time.

Coach Bob Lindsay said despite the turbulent finish, Kent State did not lose on a missed free throw, but lost because they did not play as well as the Bobcats throughout the entire game.

“Games are won and lost on a cumulative series of plays throughout the entire game on offense and defense, never on a last play,” Lindsay said. “We happened to miss a free throw late to tie the game and gave up a crucial 3 (point shot) late, but with that being said (when) you look at the whole game . you say to yourself which team played better? I really think the team that won the game played better.”

Lindsay said the team played poorly on defense after taking its only lead of the game at 65-64 with 2:10 left in the game, leading to sophomore guard Jennifer Poff’s 3-pointer that gave Ohio the lead for good.

Bennett said Poff got an easy look at the 3-point shot because the team failed to guard her tightly on a screen, a problem the Flashes fought with the whole game.

“We struggled a little bit on ball screens, but they put us in a lot of man (to-man defense) and I thought we did really well in man,” Bennett said. “We still need to work on our ball screen defense.”

Freshman forward Chenel Harris led the team in scoring and rebounding with her fourth double-double in the last seven games. Harris scored 15 points, with nine of those coming in the second half, and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Harris and Bennett combined for 20 of Kent State’s 39 second half points, as the two led the comeback effort for the Flashes. Kent State trailed by as many as 14 in the second half and found themselves down 35-29 at the end of the first half.

Harris said she was not surprised the team found themselves in a position to tie the game late despite shooting 35.4 percent on the day compared to the Bobcats 43.5 percent day from the floor.

“I think we took good shots . but not all of them were dropping,” Harris said. “We kept up our intensity and we tried to get some stops on the defensive end to keep us in the game.”

Junior guard Asheley Harkins also finished in double figures for the Flashes with 14 points. Freshman guard Stephanie Gibson and junior center Anna Kowalska both had nine points.

Compared to the effort in Wednesday’s game when the Flashes lost 76-59 to Miami, Kent State improved, especially on the boards. The RedHawks grabbed 11 more rebounds than the Flashes and scored 17 more second-chance points.

Saturday against the Bobcats the Flashes held the rebounding edge at 44-39 and outscored Ohio in second-chance points 21-12.

“We played very poorly at Miami in terms of giving up offensive rebounds,” Lindsay said. “We were better today . but from a cumulative play standpoint I don’t think that we played as well as Ohio today, and that led to that loss.”

Senior guards Lauren Kohn and Simone Redd led the Bobcats in scoring with 17 and 16 points, respectively.

The Flashes close out the regular season with a game at Alumni Arena against Buffalo. Kent State fell earlier this season to the Bulls 78-71 at the M.A.C. Center.

Game Notes

Kent State’s Stockton

With her three assists, freshman guard Stephanie Gibson moved into eighth place on the Kent State single-season assists record list. Gibson, who leads the team with 150 assists, is fourth in the Mid-American Conference in assists, and third in assists per game at 5.6.

THE block party

For the third straight game one player on the opposing team has had as many or more blocks than the entire Kent State roster. Freshman forward Kamille Buckner had four of Ohio’s six blocks against the Flashes, who had 1 block, courtesy of sophomore guard Rachel Bennett.

Post woes

Neither freshman forward Ellie Shields nor junior center Anna Kowalska reached double figures in scoring against the Bobcats. Since Kowalska’s return against Bowling Green, the duo has not combined for more than 17 points, even though both have posted 30 or more points in a single game earlier in the season.

Flashes seeing Redd

One of the keys to the Bobcats’ win was the play of senior guard Simone Redd. By the end of the first half Redd already had 12 points and she finished with 16 points, 8.8 more than her season average entering the game.

MAC masters no more

With a win at Buffalo, the Flashes could improve to 6-10 in the MAC, but will still finish below .500 in conference play on the season for the first time since Bob Lindsay’s first year as head coach in 1989-1990. Kent State finished 5-22 (3-13 MAC) that season, but improved to 17-12 (9-7 MAC) by the next season.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].