Kent State claims dominating win

Matt Gottfried

Senior forward Lindsay Shearer drives to the hoop against Toledo’s Monique Lloyd last night at the M. A. C. Center. The Flashes beat the Rockets 85-57. STEPHANIE J. SMITH | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

For the first time since it opened conference play, the Kent State women’s basketball team (13-6, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) dominated from the opening moments of the game en route to a 85-57 win over Toledo (8-10, 3-5 MAC).

It also didn’t hurt that the Flashes went on a 20-2 run out of halftime.

That streak, combined with a 13-2 run to begin the contest, amounted to a 28-point thrashing of the Rockets.

“We did better tonight, starting right out of the gate,” Kent State coach Bob Lindsay said. “We scored a little bit which helped us a lot. I think our pressure on defense was a big factor and they basically just got worn down.”

Kent State came into the contest on a defensive prowl, forcing six turnovers in the first six minutes. By the conclusion of the game, it had forced 29 turnovers on a season-high 18 steals.

“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on them offensively and force them to run their offense under it,” Lindsay said. “I felt we did a better job of that out of the second half.

“Our guard play has been very good throughout most of the season. The thing I talked to them about was to be a little more active in the passing lanes when trying to steal the ball.”

Junior forward La’kia Stewart swiped five passes while senior Willoughby nabbed four of her own.

The leading scorer in the MAC, Lindsay Shearer, continued her stretch of strong play, putting together her sixth-straight 20-plus-point game of the season with her game-high 21. But she wasn’t the only player contributing offensively, as three other Flashes recorded double figures.

Junior guards Kerrie James and Sarah Burgess recorded 12 and 10 points respectively, while Stewart added 12 of her own.

“Today we had a lot of balance and that helped a lot,” Lindsay said.

Despite falling behind by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Rockets managed to crawl to within seven at the 2 minute and 20 second mark. However, freshman guard Rachel Bennett’s trey at the buzzer sent the Flashes into the half with a 41-30 lead.

The Flashes then proceeded to storm out of halftime on fire.

After slow starts plagued the Flashes the past few conference games, getting off to a good start was exactly what Lindsay said he felt they needed.

“You can compare it to a football game,” Lindsay said. “Where a team is always on defense, it usually begins to wear down by the end of the game. Basketball is the same way. We forced their offense to commit a lot of turnovers, and we came out shooting very well. It was a great team win from many perspectives.”

Contact women’s basketball reporter Matt Gottfried at [email protected]