Women defeat Buffalo

Tyler McIntosh

Just like they have in their previous 18 games against Buffalo, the Kent State women’s basketball team defeated the Bulls last night, 62-47.

The victory puts Kent State in sole possession of the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Mid-American Conference tournament, and with that comes a first-round bye.

“It’s great to get the bye, and it’s great to be able to rest a couple of days and then come back and play on Tuesday,” coach Bob Lindsay said.

Seniors Tiffany LaFleur and Kristin Peoples combined for 16 points early in the first half to give the Flashes a 10-point lead they would never relinquish.

LaFleur finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Peoples scored a game-high 18.

The win wasn’t only important because of its MAC tournament implications, it was also the last home game for the Flashes’ six seniors.

“It meant a lot to us,” LaFleur said. “The first and the last games will probably be the games we remember the most. It was good to end with a win.”

Senior forward La’Kia Stewart, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, said losses at the M.A.C. Center were not the norm for the seniors and that finishing with a home-loss wouldn’t be right.

“You can probably count on one hand how many times we’ve lost here in conference (games) during our whole four years,” Stewart said.

Kent State’s confidence wasn’t even shaken when Buffalo went on an 8-3 run to cut the lead to six with 15 minutes left in the second half.

“Basketball’s a game of runs,” Stewart said. “If they’re down, they are going to make a run. We just have to counter that, and that’s what we did.”

Lindsay said the Flashes’ (15-12, 11-5 MAC) defense was the difference in the game. Kent State forced 23 Buffalo turnovers, blocked four shots and had 12 steals, five coming from senior Kerrie James.

The Flashes will play their second-round game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Between now and then, Lindsay said there are some things Kent State needs to improve on.

“We need to block out better,” Lindsay said. “I think we need to execute a lot better than we did tonight. Defensively, our help side defense was not as good as I would like to see it.”

Lindsay also said to make a deep run in the MAC tournament, Kent State can’t rely just one player.

“We need contributions from a number of different players similar to what we had in the Miami game,” Lindsay said. “We can’t afford to have anybody drive through on us and not show up to play.”

“The most important thing will be to hold nothing back,” LaFleur said. “We have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain.”

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