Women’s basketball seeks to overcome fouls, fatigue before traveling to NIU

Thomas Gallick

Freshman Stephanie Gibson drives to the basket during Saturday night’s contest. Gibson had nine points in the Flashes’ loss to Central Michigan 87-70 last week. DANIEL DOHERTY | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The Chippewas of Central Michigan outscored Kent State 19-2 in overtime Saturday to pick up an 87-70 win, over a defenseless Kent State women’s basketball team that lost its Shields.

Freshman forward Ellie Shields, that is. The Flashes’ (6-15, 3-6 Mid-American Conference) seven-player roster shrunk to six when Shields fouled out in the second half, falling one board short of a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds.

“I definitely did (play undisciplined),” Shields said. “I knew that there’s not another post player to back me up. I don’t know what happened.”


Kent State (6-15, 3-6 Mid-American Conference) vs. Northern Illinois (8-14, 4-5)

Where:The Convocation Center, DeKalb, Ill.

When: 8 p.m. tonight

Radio:640 AM WHLO

With the loss of the team’s leading scorer, junior center Anna Kowalska, Shields became the one true post player on the team, with freshman forward Chenel Harris playing mainly around the perimeter. Shields responded immediately to her increased role and is averaging 18.75 points in the four games since Kowalska was injured.

Harris said the lack of players on the roster forces the remaining Flashes to play at a higher level.

“I feel like when we go into a game with only seven players we just have to be tougher than the next team in every area,” Harris said. “We need to try to beat them to loose balls, we need to try to out-rebound them and box them out and just out-hustle them. That one play can make the difference between us losing a player on a foul or us losing the game on an easy lay-up.”

Shields’ four-game average is actually higher than Kowalska’s season average of 17.8, which would currently be good for third place in the MAC scoring race. Coach Bob Lindsay said when Shields gets into foul trouble it forces the team to abandon much of its inside game.

“It doesn’t leave us many options,” Lindsay said. “We have one post player and when she goes out we don’t really have anybody on the inside that does very much scoring.”

Sophomore guard Rachel Bennett, who played 42 minutes against Central Michigan, scored the Flashes’ lone bucket in overtime. Freshman guard Stephanie Gibson and junior guard Asheley Harkins played all 45 minutes of the game.

Lindsay said he did not want his team to use fatigue as an excuse, but he understood it was a factor in the loss.

“I don’t know how much of (the team’s play) is fatigue-related and how much isn’t, but I’ve got kids out there playing 45 minutes, 44 minutes,” Lindsay said. “At the 42nd, 43rd and 44th minute you probably don’t have much left in the tank.”

Harris, who recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Central Michigan, said fatigue definitely played a role in the loss.

“I think for me fatigue was a big issue, as well as the rest of the team,” Harris said. “Playing heavy minutes and going into overtime just makes the game even longer and I think we hit a threshold and were unable to push ourselves through.”

The Flashes travel to DeKalb, Ill., tonight to take on a Northern Illinois team looking to rebound from an 85-65 loss to Bowling Green. The Huskies have a record of 8-14 and are led by senior guard Whitney Lowe, currently third among active players in the MAC with 15.6 points per game.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].