Solid defense ends road losing streak for Flashes in DeKalb

Deanna Stevens

Shearer leads the offense with 22 points, results in 68-58 win at Northern Illinois

Smothering defensive pressure seemed to be too much for Northern Illinois, as the Kent State women’s basketball team won 68-58 on the road Saturday.

“If we stay in games with our defense, especially on the road, then our offense will play well enough for us to win,” women’s basketball coach Bob Lindsay said before tip-off in a radio interview.

The Flashes (15-7, 8-3 Mid-American Conference) forced 20 Huskie turnovers. Not only did the Flashes’ defense put a halt to the Huskies (9-13, 5-6 MAC), but it revved up their offense too. The Flashes scored 29 points off of Northern Illinois turnovers.

The free-throw line proved to be an important factor in the win as well.

With less than 90 seconds in the game and only up by four points, three Flashes hit eight consecutive free throws to put the game out of reach for the Huskies. With ten seconds left in the game, senior forward Lindsay Shearer put in two of her 22 points to ice the game. Recently named to the Academic All-District First Team, Shearer added seven rebounds to the effort.

The Flashes used their defense to avoid falling back into the first-half slump. Forcing 13 of the 20 turnovers in the first half, the Flashes led 38-28 at halftime.

Junior guard Sarah Burgess led Kent State with 13 points off the bench during the first half. Burgess went on an 11-0 run midway through the first half, including three consecutive 3-pointers, to push the Flashes up to double digits. She ended the game with 16 points after missing Wednesday’s game with a back injury.

“Those shots are well confided in our offense,” Kent State assistant coach Mark Wilson said at halftime during a radio interview. “And that’s what we need Sarah (Burgess) to continue to do.”

The Flashes’ foul trouble was a rallying factor for the Huskies. With a little more than nine minutes left in the second, Shearer had to sit with four fouls, which is when Northern Illinois sophomore center Kristin Wiener took over. She added 10 points while Shearer was on the bench and finished the game with Northern Illinois’ game-high 22 points.

“They’re a tough team that has quality players,” Lindsay said on the radio about the Huskies. “Stephanie Raymond is a very good player. Kristin Weiner is playing well in the conference in the post. Their supporting cast has done well this season.”

Raymond added 12 points for the Huskies, all of which came in the first half.

With their second win in a row, the Flashes ended their two-game losing streak to MAC opponents on the road.

The Flashes are currently tied with Western Michigan for No. 3 in the MAC. They will look to push their winning streak to three when they take on Ohio, No. 3 in the MAC East Division, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the M.A.C. Center.

Contact women’s basketball reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected]