Women’s basketball loses big at Robert Morris

Jeff Russ

The Kent State women’s basketball team struggled from the start, falling 90-65 to a good Robert Morris team last night in Moon Township, Pa.

The Colonials jumped out to a 7-0 lead right away, and it was something the Flashes never could recover from.

The first half was a complete struggle for the now 0-2 Flashes. They shot only 31 percent, 10-32 from the field in the first half and finished only 33 percent from the floor for the entire game. The Flashes went into the locker room down 20, 44-24.

Then the Flashes found life in the second half from inside the post from junior forward Anna Kowalska. The team fed her the ball and she responded with 27 points and 16 rebounds on the game. The junior college transfer seemed much more confident in her second game in blue and gold, and her teammates also seemed much more confident in her abilities down low.

“She’s like an octopus, you throw the ball up and she’s going to get it no matter where it’s thrown to her,” associate head coach Lori Bodnar said in an interview on 640 WHLO. “I think our team is starting to see that, and it was nice to see that they knew she had the hot hand, so let’s keep giving it to her until they stop her.”

Kowalska’s hot hand early in the second half, combined with the Flashes switch from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man defense, led to a quick comeback early in the second half, and the Flashes cut the lead down 12 with 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Then, like in the first game, the opponent found life from beyond the 3-point line. The Colonials responded to Kent State’s second half surge with a couple of big 3-pointers and the lead was back to 20.

The Flashes would not recover from Robert Morris’ 50 percent average from behind the 3-point line. The Colonials also hit 53 percent from the floor versus only 33 percent from the floor and just 1-19 from behind the 3-point line for the Flashes.

“The difference is (Robert Morris’ first opponent, Florida) could get out to the 3-point line a little quicker, and we were not making them rush shots,” Bodnar said. “We just have to be able to get out quick and test shots.”

Bodnar also thought the Colonials moved the ball well. Senior forward Chinata Nesbit dished out nine assists to go along with 21 points and seven rebounds.

The Flashes’ backcourt struggled. Junior Asheley Harkins and freshman Stephanie Gibson shot a combined 0-14 from the field and 0-8 from behind the 3-point line.

One bright spot for the Flashes was freshman forward Alisa Brinkman. In just her second game, Brinkman scored 17 points and added six rebounds. The coaching staff said she has been challenged a lot in practice this week, and thought she played much more relaxed in her second game.

“She is a kid who you are going to see later on start fitting in with what we want to do,” Bodnar said. “She played the floor hard and ran with a little bit of energy. She just has to go out and play hard and not worry about what we want her to do.”

The Flashes will look for their first win of the season Tuesday in New Mexico against New Mexico State.

Contact women’s basketball reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].