Flashes ousted in MAC tourney

Tyler McIntosh

Women’s team sent home with second round loss to N. Illinois


Senior guard Kerrie James looks for an opening during the game against Northern Illinois in the quarter finals of the M.A.C. Championship Tournament. The women fell to the Huskies 72-68, ending the season.

Credit: Adam Griffiths

They just didn’t have another comeback in them.

Yesterday, the Kent State women’s basketball team watched almost helplessly as its early lead and season slipped away as Northern Illinois eliminated them from the Mid-American Conference tournament, 72-68.

Heading into the second half, the Flashes found themselves in a familiar situation against the Huskies: trailing. When the two last met Feb. 7, the Flashes erased a 19-point Huskies’ lead. This time, it was a 12-point second half deficit that the Flashes needed to overcome.

Thanks in part to 14 second-half points by senior guard Kristin Peoples and runs of 11-6 and 15-9, Kent State drew within one point, 61-60, with 3:12 left in the game.

However, Northern Illinois made all eight of their foul shots down the stretch to secure their place in the semi-finals of the MAC tournament, and in-turn, end Kent State’s season.

Senior forward La’kia Stewart, who finished with nine points and 13 rebounds, said that just getting the game close again took too much out of them.

“You are using a lot of energy trying to comeback,” Stewart said. “Then, once you get there and you are in a close game, you’ve spent it all.”

The Flashes started out with a 12-4 lead in the first five minutes of play behind four points apiece from Peoples and senior guard Kerrie James.

“We come out with good intentions, and we come out and tried to play really hard,” coach Bob Lindsay said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the depth and the number of players to come out and sustain that. We eventually break down and lose the ability to really get after people. I think that happened in that game. That’s human nature.”

After the quick start, it was a blur of missed shots and fouls that quickly put the Flashes on their heels as the Huskies went on a 26-18 spurt to tie the game at 30 with a minute left in the half. Northern Illinois connected on two 3s in that final minute to take a six-point lead into halftime.

“It wasn’t our defense that hurt us,” Lindsay said. “It was the number of plays we didn’t make on offense.

“The more you miss shots and miss easy opportunities, the harder it is to play hard,” Lindsay said. “The analogy is in football. When your offense is going three downs and out all the time. No matter how good your defense is, eventually, they wear down and give up points.”

Peoples scored a game-high 28 points. Senior center Tiffany LaFleur finished the game with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Stewart’s 13 rebounds was a game-high.

“Players that normally step up and make plays for us didn’t make as many as they normally do,” Lindsay said. “Kristin played a heck of a game. She single-handedly kept us in the game at times. Unfortunately, you don’t win games with one player’s efforts.”

Senior guard Stephanie Raymond scored 25 points and collected five rebounds for Northern Illinois. Lindsay said she was the difference.

“Give credit to Northern Illinois and the way they played, specifically Stephanie Raymond, who played a great game and single-handedly beat us,” Lindsay said.

Contact women’s basketball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].