Flashes prosperous in win at Buffalo

Joe Murphy

Kent State coach Bob Lindsay wasn’t joking when he said he thought his team would benefit from a week off.

The Flashes (15-8, 8-4 Mid-American Conference) posted their best defensive performance of the season, as they dominated Buffalo, 76-34. The 42-point win was Kent State’s largest margin of victory this season. The 34 points given up were one better than the Flashes gave up in their last road game, a 57-35 win over Akron.

It was no surprise that the Flashes brought their suffocating defense to the court against the Bulls (4-19, 2-10 MAC). But 76 points and only 10 turnovers on offense did come as a surprise to some.

“I want to credit our offense,” associate head coach Lori Bodnar said in a post-game interview on 640 AM, WHLO. “We were executing very well. You don’t even realize that Lindsay (Shearer) had 25 points tonight.”

For the second consecutive year, the trip to Buffalo was a dominating effort for the Flashes. Last year they beat a shorthanded Buffalo team 85-66.

Shearer scored her 25 points in only 28 minutes. Seven of Shearer’s points came from the free-throw line, where she was a perfect 7-of-7. The Flashes as a team shot 26-of-34 from the line. Shearer also added 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.

When Melissa DeGrate knocked down a 3 with 12:45 left in the first half, she gave the Flashes a 15-12 lead. DeGrate and company would go on to score the next 14 points, capping a 17-0 run which broke the game wide open.

Feeling good about their first half, the Flashes couldn’t forget the 17-point lead they blew to Ball State almost a month ago. To calm any fears, the Flashes added a 15-0 run in the second half for good measure.

Despite a 39-15 lead at the half, Kent State didn’t let up on defense. The Flashes continued to lay a full-court press on the Bulls in the second half, which the inexperienced Bulls couldn’t handle. Buffalo finished the night with 20 turnovers, resulting in 21 Kent State points.

“We were set out to set the tone by pressuring the guards and making it hard for them to get the ball inside” Bodnar said. “Once they did get inside, we were going to collapse on them so they had to throw it back outside. When we turn the ball over 10 times, that’s a good sign, and we’re forcing 20. We’re playing some pretty intense defense.”

Another good sign was a second convincing win on the road. After losing its first four conference road games, Kent State has outscored its opponents 133-69 the last two games. With the game well in hand in the second half, Lindsay was able to empty the bench, giving freshman guards Ciera Johnson and Susan Perich playing time.

Sophomores Kerrie James and Tiffany LaFleur received a warm welcome in Buffalo as family and friends came to watch the two. James and LaFleur are both from nearby Ontario, Canada. James scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds while LaFleur added five rebounds and three blocks.

Contact women’s basketball reporter Joe Murphy at [email protected].