Women’s basketball hangs on to beat Miami at home

Senior Megan Carter [31] scores a basket making the score 18-12 against Miami University on Sat. Feb. 22, 2020. Kent State University won 80-75 against Miami University.

With 4:58 to go, redshirt senior guard Megan Carter grabbed her 10th rebound, achieving her first career double-double in Kent State’s 80-75 win over Miami on Senior Day.

“I actually surprised myself a little bit,” Carter said. “I saw that I had nine [points] and eight [rebounds] to start the third quarter and also a little bit focused on the double-double. But I just wanted the rebound. Coach [Todd Starkey] told me to rebound coming into this game, so that’s exactly what I did.”

Carter scored a team-high 21 points to go with her season-high 10 rebounds and season-high five assists for the Flashes (15-10, 8-6 Mid-American Conference).

“She just leads so well by example,” sophomore forward Lindsey Thall said. “Every time, in every game she plays, she’s always making the right plays, playing really hard and just a great leader.”

Both teams overcame a slow start with neither team shooting above 30 percent in the first quarter: Miami 25 percent (11-15, 4-10 MAC) and Kent State 29.4 percent.

“It seemed like it was stuck on 6-6 for a good six to eight minutes, but sometimes that can happen with teams starting to feel each other out this time of year,” Starkey said. “I was pleased to see us come out of it first, and we pushed things out and took control of the game.”

The Flashes took a commanding 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, but they missed 10 free throws, which allowed the Redhawks to make a comeback and take a one-point lead with 1:26 remaining.

“We had a free throw slump there where we could have pushed it out to double-digits,” Starkey said. “We let them hang around a little bit, and they made some 3s and came back.”

Thall made two free throws with 48 seconds to go to give Kent State back the lead to win the game.

“It was hard-fought when we couldn’t buy a free throw for a while,” Starkey said. “I don’t know how many we missed in a row, but we made it a lot more difficult on ourselves than we needed to.”

Four Flashes scored in double-digits: Carter with 21 points, Thall with 20 points, freshman guard Katie Shumate with 18 points and sophomore guard Asiah Dingle with 12 points.

“I thought Katie did a good job of attacking especially in the first half,” Starkey said. “She had a couple attacks in the second half, and we have to get a little more consistent with that.”

The Redhawks were led by senior guard Lauren Dickerson who scored a game-high 29 points.

“Dickerson’s always a tough guard,” Carter said. “She’s crafty, could shoot the ball, could drive it and she’d do all that and pull up. It’s props to her. She’s just a tough guard.”

Kent State was without starting freshman forward Nila Blackford for the third straight game as she continues to recover from a concussion. Sophomore guard Hannah Young, who has been filling in for Blackford, provided a defensive spark by grabbing nine rebounds for the Flashes.

“She’s a rebounding machine,” Carter said. “I feel that she’s one of the best rebounding guards in the MAC. She rebounds the ball like crazy in practice, and it’s showing up in games. Her crashing the boards is really big for us and will continue to be big for us.”

Senior guard Ali Poole suffered a season-ending knee injury back in January, but got the start Saturday and played seven seconds as part of the Senior Day festivities.

“Unfortunately her season ended early with the ACL, so I definitely feel for her,” Carter said. “I’ve just been telling her to keep her head up and all that stuff. I’m proud of her in what she’s done and what she’s doing.”

Kent State will be back in action at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Akron (13-12, 6-8 MAC) at home.

Kathryn Rajnicek is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected].