Women’s basketball to battle crosstown rival Akron tomorrow

Matt Gottfried

Winners of three games in a row and five of its last six, the Kent State women’s basketball team heads into its Mid-American Conference clash with Akron on Saturday looking to build on its No. 2 ranking.

But despite the notable winning streak, the Flashes’ inability to play a full 40 minutes of basketball is something coach Bob Lindsay said his team needs to address heading into tournament play next month. Slow starts and inconsistency have plagued the 16-7 squad for much of the season, leading to a number of unanticipated close games.

That’s something he plans to avoid tomorrow when Kent State travels to its crosstown rival.

“We’ve played with better consistency over the past few games, but it’s hard to tell if we are where we need to be at this point,” Lindsay said.

Linsday said the Flashes sometimes rely on a certain player to carry the team, and when she isn’t able to do it, it’s resulted in a number of tightly contested contests.

Wednesday night, the Flashes defeated Ohio, 73-66, to improve their conference record to 9-3. But the victory didn’t come without a last-minute scare.

Kent State failed to drain a field goal in the final six minutes of the contest, allowing Ohio to stage a late comeback and propel the game into overtime. Once in the extra period, junior guard Sarah Burgess sunk back-to-back treys to guide the Flashes to the victory.

With a struggling, 4-19, 1-11 MAC, the Zip team up next and the No. 1 ranked Bowling Green rematch Wednesday, Lindsay isn’t worried about his team overlooking the last-place Zips.

“After a game like Wednesday night, I don’t think we should be overlooking anyone,” Lindsay said.

Only four games remain on the regular-season schedule for the Flashes, and three are on the road. Yet with the victory over the Bobcats Wednesday, the Flashes have locked up the No. 2 seat in the conference tournament, set to begin March 4.

“We’re trying to win as many games as possible,” Lindsay said. “I like to apply the Bill Belichick theory, where you play your best players and go from there. I don’t like when we have a week off between games. I’d rather keep things the same and not change our routine.”

For now that routine remains the same, as Saturday’s 2 p.m. tip-off marks the second meeting between the two rivals this season. The Flashes, who have won 13-straight against the Zips, emerged victorious in the first game, 62-38, despite their offensive struggles.

“Just from experience, I know that Akron always plays hard at home,” Lindsay said. “Their record may not indicate that at this time, but they always play us tough for the entire 40 minutes.”

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