Women’s basketball team falls short at Bowling Green despite Kowalska’s return

Thomas Gallick

Even the return of the Kent State women’s basketball team’s leading scorer, junior center Anna Kowalska, was not enough to secure a win for the Flashes (7-17, 4-8 Mid-American Conference), who fell 76-68 at Bowling Green Wednesday.

Kowalska only played 15 minutes in the game, but still recorded seven points, eight rebounds and one block. Associate coach Lori Bodnar said Kowalska has not practiced much in recent days and will improve in the remaining games of the season.

“Anna’s practiced for literally a day, for 15 minutes,” Bodnar said on the 640 WHLO-AM post-game show. “I thought she came out and she played hard.”

Kent State lost despite a second consecutive double-double from freshman forward Chenel Harris, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Bodnar said Harris is playing so well she may cut into the playing time of freshman forward Ellie Shields when Kowalska returns.

“Chenel Harris is playing so well for us at (forward),” Bodnar said. “I think she gives us a different dimension on the court. Chenel can go inside (and) she can go outside. You saw today she’s hitting threes, and they were with people in her face.”

Harris went 3-of-3 on the night from behind the 3-point line and 7-of-14 from the floor.

Sophomore guard Rachel Bennett and junior guard Asheley Harkins also scored in double figures with 15 and 11 points.

The Flashes also shot well from long range, hitting 10-of-18 from behind the 3-point line. The Falcons only shot 6-of-17 from the 3-point arc, and 30-of-67 from the floor overall.

Bowling Green controlled the game instead by forcing Kent State to turn the ball over. Kent State lost 21 turnovers to the Falcons, leading to 27 easy points for Bowling Green.

The last time the two teams faced off, senior guard Whitney Taylor came off the bench and hit the most 3-pointers in Bowling Green history by going 8-of-9 from behind the arc. The Flashes were torched by another bench player last night, freshman forward Jen Uhl, who scored a game-high 22 points.

The Flashes were down 36-26 at the end of the first half, but went on a run early in the second to draw within two points at 52-50. Bowling Green scored the next seven points, and Kent State was down by five or more points for the rest of the game.

Bodnar said the young Kent State team is improving with each game and may be in good position to make a run to finish the season.

“They’re just so close,” Bodnar said. “I don’t know when the breakout game is going to be, but hopefully it’s soon and we start rolling with it a little bit. If you can come up here and play Bowling Green as tough as we could in their own gym, I see some promise for this team.”

The Flashes return to action Saturday against rival Akron at the M.A.C. Center.

Kent State beat the Zips 71-62 earlier this season at the James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].