Flashes start slow, turn up heat to win

Tyler McIntosh

Senior guard Kristen Peoples drives past an Eastern Michigan defender in last Saturday’s 64-69 loss.

Sam Twarek | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

In yesterday’s 78-71 win, the Kent State women’s basketball team proved that it’s not how a team starts a game, but how it finishes.

After senior forward La’Kia Stewart scored the first points of the game, the Flashes shot just 5-for-18 from the field and committed eight turnovers in the first 15 minutes. The result of the poor start was a 19-point Huskies lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.

“I think we just came out real sluggish,” senior guard Kristin Peoples said. “We didn’t come out with much energy. They came out to a blazing start.”

After the horrid start, Kent State came alive and controlled the remainder of the game.

After shooting 56.5 percent in the first half, Northern Illinois shot just 38.5 percent in the second. Stewart and Peoples provided the offense, scoring 27 and 25 points respectively, while the rest of the team came up with timely plays to win its fourth straight game.

“Kristin had to play a lot of minutes and she made some big plays for us,” coach Bob Lindsay said. “Kia (Stewart) did the same thing.

“I thought we got plays from a few different people. There were some plays from Mallorie Griffith, who was playing with the flu tonight. We got the scoring out of Kristin and Kia, but we got contributions from other players.”

Lindsay said the key to Kent State’s (12-9, 8-2 Mid-American Conference) second-largest comeback of the season was its aggressiveness.


“I thought we played really hard for the last 30 minutes of the game,” Lindsay said. “Our defensive game plan going in was to try to play really aggressively. I really thought that was the difference. We needed to be aggressive and try to play physically against them. I thought we did do that in the last 30 minutes.”

The MAC’s second-leading scorer, Huskies guard Stephanie Raymond (18.9 points per game), got into foul trouble, and eventually fouled out.

With its leader on the bench much of the night in foul trouble, Northern Illinois (15-7, 6-4 MAC) was never able to retake the lead after surrendering it to Kent State at the 8:23 mark in the second half.

Peoples’ 18 second-half points marked the seventh consecutive game that she has scored at least 10 points in the second half. Stewart had 17 points in the second half.

“I think I have a curse on the first half or something,” Peoples said. “I think La’Kia and I both play better in the second half for some reason. I’m not really sure what it is.”

Stewart, who also had seven rebounds, said that being go-to players on offense is something she and Peoples enjoy.

“It’s something we welcome,” Stewart said. “We know we have to do it. We feel the pressure but it really doesn’t get to us.”

Kent State plays next at 3 p.m. Sunday at Ball State.

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