Layoff can’t keep Flashes down

Tyler McIntosh

Coming into Saturday’s game against Western Michigan, the Kent State women’s basketball team was 0-3 when it had a week or more off between games.

But the past had no bearing on Saturday’s outcome as the Flashes defeated the Broncos 78-65 to win their third straight game.

However, as Kent State (11-9, 7-2 Mid-American Conference) took a nine-point deficit into halftime (37-28), it looked as if the week-off jinx was going to strike again. The Flashes starting lineup shot just 6-for-22 in the opening 20 minutes.

“We are not a very good layoff team,” said head coach Bob Lindsay. “We need to play, so I think maybe the first half we had a little bit of rustiness in us, and we were a little bit lethargic.

“I didn’t think as a team we played the game with very much energy in the first half. As a result, we were out of sync, and we stood around a lot on offense.”

But five Western Michigan turnovers led to an 18-9 run for the Flashes in the first seven minutes of second half. That set the pace for the rest of the game and gave Kent State a lead it would never relinquish.

“I think we had a lot of big plays, a lot of and ones and 3-pointers during that spurt. That definitely fueled us,” senior guard Kristin Peoples said. “We got those plays off of our defense. I think we got a lot of deflections tonight which turned into steals.”

After scoring just two points in the first half, senior forward La’kia Stewart came back to score 15 second-half points as the Flashes pulled away en route to their third straight double-digit victory.

“She (Stewart) kind of gets in the flow of the game,” Lindsay said. “She’s done it more with steals and getting out in the passing lane on people and getting a couple of quick hoops in transition. She was a little bit more active.”

Western Michigan’s Carrie Moore, the nation’s leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, became the ninth player in MAC history to score 2,000 career points. She finished the game with 20 points, but it was not an easy night for Moore, who shot just 5-of-19 from the field and was noticeably frustrated by Kent State’s defense.

“I told our team before the game that Carrie’s a very good player, and she’s going to get 20 points in the game no matter who defends her,” Lindsay said. “She had a hard 20 tonight. I thought Kerrie James (senior) and Asheley Harkins (sophomore) did a good job individually, but I thought as a team, we did a pretty good job on her.”

Broncos head coach Ron Stewart said it was a rough night for Moore.

“She always had two or three people on her,” Stewart said. “It was just a tough night for her.”

And Stewart said he did not like what his team did in the second half.

“It was an extremely frustrating second half, I’m kind of unhappy with what I watched in the second half.”

Peoples finished the game with 15 points and seven assists while Harkins scored 13 points.

After playing just one minute the previous game, senior center Tiffany LaFleur finished the night with nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks and one steal in 19 minutes of action. The three blocks now give LaFleur 102 for her career.

“I thought she (LaFleur) played the game with some energy. She was active and I thought she had a presence on the inside. She was definitely a factor in the game,” Lindsay said.

Kent State will play Northern Illinois (14-6, 5-3 MAC) 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center.

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