Women Flashes lose turnover battle with Miami

Thomas Gallick

Junior forward Anna Kowalska shoots over a Miami defender for two of her 20 points in the Flashes 64-59 loss to the Redhawks at the M.A.C. center Saturday. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Kent State women’s basketball team lost its first Mid-American Conference game this season to Miami 64-59 Saturday at the M.A.C. Center after turning the ball over 30 times.

The team got off to a slow start, missing its first seven shots from the floor before freshman forward Ellie Shields hit a jump shot six minutes into the game. The Flashes recovered from the early shooting woes and went on 8-point run late in the first half, and led 33-31 at halftime.

Kent State only connected on four of its first 19 shots from the floor and went 10-24 from the field in the first half. Coach Bob Lindsay said the team looked good at the end of the first half but committed too many turnovers to get the offense settled in during the second half.

“We showed a little bit of life for probably three or four minutes, but I think that was the exception to the rule,” Lindsay said. “I don’t think we played with a whole lot of fire today.”

Miami dominated the second half defensively and secured the win with tough play down low and 22 points in the paint. The Flashes shot marginally better in the second but allowed 15 turnovers leading to 13 easy points for Miami.

“The 30 turnovers gave them more possessions and ultimately gave them enough opportunities to win the game,” Lindsay said. “I thought we played very tired. I didn’t think we were very sharp at all.”

Kent State looked tired in the second half and committed 10 personal fouls, leading to time on the bench for junior guard Asheley Harkins and freshman center Anna Kowalska. The Flashes came into the game with consecutive overtime games at Maryland Eastern Shore and Ohio.

Kowalska led the effort for the Flashes with 20 points and 14 rebounds, including nine on the offensive boards. The Miami defense held all of Kowalska’s teammates to single-digit point totals, with the exception of freshman guard Stephanie Gibson, who put up 10.

Kowalska said the team refuses to use its lack of depth on the bench to explain away the loss.

“I guess having eight people is not an excuse,” Kowalska said. “Our mental toughness needs to come out.”

Senior guard Amanda Jackson led the offensive assault for the Redhawks with 31 points, 21 coming in the first half. Jackson, set to break Miami’s all time scoring record before the end of the season, averaged 23.1 points coming into the game.

The win was only the second for the Redhawks at Kent State since 1993, and Miami’s first conference victory this year.

The Flashes lost their perfect record in the MAC and now sit at 1-1 in the conference and 4-10 overall on the season. With the win, Miami tied Kent State in the MAC and improved to 9-7 overall.

The women’s basketball team continues conference play Wednesday when the defending MAC champions Bowling Green Falcons travel to the M.A.C. Center for the first of two meetings between the team this season.

Contact women’s basketball reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].