Women end break 2-1 in MAC

Deanna Stevens

Flashes fall to Falcons in championship rematch

Missed 3-pointers, free throws and opportunities proved to be the downfall for the Kent State women’s basketball team in a loss to the reigning Mid-American Conference champion Saturday.

In a game that Bowling Green coach Curt Miller said was, “As big of a road win since I’ve been here,” Kent State (9-5, 2-1 MAC) was defeated by Bowling Green (12-2, 3-0 MAC). The 61-58 loss was the highly anticipated MAC championship rematch at the M.A.C. Center.

The win was the first for the Falcons in Kent since February 1994. It also ended the Flashes 14 home-game winning streak.

Although the teams played the NCAA regulated 40 minutes, the game did not begin for the Flashes until there was about 10 minutes left in the second half. They went on an 18-2 comeback run.

“We played very tentatively in the first half and got down by 17 in the second and decided to start playing,” Women’s Basketball coach Bob Lindsay said.

During the second half, the Flashes held the Falcons to 25 percent shooting, which led the Flashes to find their offense and in turn helped them rally back.

“Our pressure defense eventually wears people down,” Lindsay said.

And those things Lindsay mentioned included feeding the ball down in the post to senior forward Lindsay Shearer and junior guard La’kia Stewart. The Flashes outscored the Falcons 16-6 in the paint in the second half.

Shearer put up 20 points and seven rebounds in the final. Saturday was the 25th game in her career that Shearer has scored 20 or more. Stewart ended with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the contest, which is her fourth career double-double.

An ankle injury late in the first half was not enough to stop senior guard Malika Willoughby who was the third Kent State player to reach double digits with 10 points and 6 rebounds.

After the rally, the Flashes had pulled themselves within two points with four minutes to go in the game, only to have the lead pushed back to two possessions.

Two foul shots by Shearer tied the game at 58 with 1 minute and 30 seconds left. Shearer was 10-of-11 from the line for the game.

But the rest of the Flashes were not so consistent.

As a team, Kent State was 18-of-29 at the line. Two of those missed were by Willoughby with 20 seconds left which could have pushed the Flashes up by one.

A foul by junior guard Kerrie James stopped the clock and sent the Falcons’ Jasmine McCall to the line, where she made them both.

Down by three points, and 10 seconds to go, the Flashes had to do something they had not done all game – make a 3-pointer. 

At the top of the key, Shearer missed the three, and the Falcons held on to the win.

Kent State was 0-of-12 from beyond the arch, which was the first time since February 2003.

But getting to the point of sending the game to overtime was something that did not look possible at the end of the first half. Because at that point it seemed as though the rematch was going to be one sided.

A few defensive lapses, the inability to get the ball down low and going 0-of-8 from 3-point land led the Flashes to a be on the receiving end of a 13-4 run midway through the first half. All of those things, combined with 29 percent shooting from the field, ended in the Flashes being down 37-22 at halftime.

“They’re a tough team,” Lindsay said. “You have to play exceptionally well to beat them. And we only played one-half exceptionally.”  

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