Some basketball games are played with a kind of smooth grace and flow that make it comparable to ballet. Saturday’s 69-64 loss to Eastern Michigan at the M.A.C. Center was not one of those games for the Kent State women’s basketball team.
The Flashes (8-9, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) committed 20 turnovers and shot just 36.4 percent from the field. Eastern Michigan also turned the ball over 24 times.
“I told Bob (Lindsay, Kent State coach) at halftime that if this was a glamour contest we would both be gonged out of here,” said Eastern Michigan assistant coach Shane Clipfell.
“The game was an ugly game all the way through,” Lindsay said. “I don’t think either team played particularly well.”
Despite the ugly play, Kent State held onto a lead with under five minutes left in the half until Alyssa Pittman gave Eastern Michigan the lead by converting one of her game-high six 3-point shots.
Kent State had one last chance to retake the lead when, trailing by one (57-56), senior forward Mallorie Griffith, who scored six points, went to the foul line for two shots.
Griffith missed both shots and Eastern Michigan (10-7, 5-1) finished the game on a 12-8 run.
Lindsay was not surprised by his team’s late collapse.
“I don’t think we’ve had great composure all the way through the year. It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “I think we have had those kind of breakdowns just about every game. This one just happens to have happened at the end of the game … The last two minutes of the game for us was all negative plays.”
One possible reason for Kent State’s lack of coolness in crunch time may be the lack of senior leadership, Lindsay said.
“You expect your seniors to provide leadership to your team, and I’m looking for the leadership right now from any of them.
“We have six seniors on this team and those six seniors are going to control where this team goes,” he said. “Right now it’s safe to assume that they can play a lot better, harder and with a lot more emotion.”
To say the Flashes started out cold would be an understatement. Through the first nine minutes of play, Kent State managed to score only nine points while giving the ball back to Eastern Michigan seven times.
“In all honesty, I haven’t been happy with our team the whole year. My standard is a heck of a lot higher than this.”
Senior Kristin Peoples led Kent State with 17 points while fellow senior La’Kia Stewart collected her fifth double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
This was just Eastern Michigan’s fifth win in the last 28 games against Kent State.
Kent State will next play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Central Michigan.
Contact women’s basketball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected]