Miami pulls away from Kent State late in the game

Thomas Gallick

The Kent State women’s basketball team was only down by six at the half, and cut that lead down to two early in the second half, but Miami came away with a 76-59 win last night in Oxford.

The RedHawks’ win snaps the Flashes’ (8-18, 5-9 Mid-American Conference) five game winning streak at Millett Hall, which dated back to 2003. With the win Miami sweeps the season series with Kent State.

Miami dominated the boards and pulled down 43 rebounds compared to 34 for the Flashes. Kent State’s poor rebounding and turnovers allowed the RedHawks to take 27 more shots on the night.

“We just got absolutely manhandled today,” associate coach Lori Bodnar said on the WHLO-AM 640 post-game show. “I coach the post and I’m very disappointed in the way that our post players played. It was all about hustle (and) desire.”

The RedHawks’ success rebounding the ball led to a huge advantage in second-chance points. Miami scored 21 second-chance points off of 19 offensive rebounds, while the Flashes scored just four second-chance points off of five offensive rebounds.

Miami won the game despite shooting only 37.3 percent from the floor compared to Kent State’s 41.7 shooting percentage. The RedHawks went 11-of-29 from the 3-point line, four shy of the team record for 3-pointers attempted.

The Flashes’ three freshman starters: guard Stephanie Gibson, forward Chenel Harris and forward Ellie Shields all scored in double figures with 16, 14 and 11 points. Bodnar said Gibson, who also had seven assists, tried to take over the game to keep the Flashes in the game.

“I give Stephanie Gibson all the credit in the world because she tried to put this team on her back and get to the basket,” Bodnar said.

Kent State had trouble getting the ball into the post, as Ellie Shields went 4-of-5 from the field in the first half and failed to record a shot in the second half. Junior center Anna Kowalska struggled again in her third game back from a foot injury, shooting 1-for-3 from the floor and scoring four points in 18 minutes.

Bodnar said Kent State’s guards did not play well enough on offense to open up opportunities for Kowalska and Shields in the paint.

“(Miami’s players) were laying off of our guards … as soon as they (Kowalska and Shields) would catch the ball, they would have three people on them,” Bodnar said.

The Flashes went without a field goal in the final 5 minutes and 54 seconds of the game, leading Miami to pull away and end the game with a 17-point lead, the team’s highest of the game.

Senior forward Laura Markwood had a double-double and led Miami with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Amanda Jackson added 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Kent State returns to action Saturday at the M.A.C. Center when they take on Ohio. The Flashes scored an overtime victory 74-68 over the Bobcats earlier this season in Athens.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].