Late run can’t stop women’s road drought

Joe Murphy

The last time the Flashes took on the Marshall Thundering Herd, they put up 78 points, their highest output in the conference this season.

Last night, the Flashes put up 78 points again.

Only this time, Marshall (12-7, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) scored 84.

Kent State (12-8, 5-4 MAC) remains winless in the conference on the road, as it lost the battle for the top spot in the East to first-place Marshall, 84-78.

Junior guard Malika Willoughby said she wanted her team to play with some heart against the Thundering Herd. For about 32 of the 40 minutes, the Flashes played as the tin man. Twenty turnovers through the first 30 minutes of the game translated to 24 points for Marshall, and a 65-43 lead.

However, Willoughby made good on her promise, as she led a 17-4 charge, bringing the Flashes within seven points, its closest margin in the second half to that point. Willoughby finished the game with a career-high 26 points, shattering her previous best of 18 in 2003. Willoughby scored most of her points with four fouls.

But as the gap closed, the game clock became the Flashes’ worst enemy. Kent State, who shot the ball better than 50 percent, could only trade baskets with Marshall.

After staking its reputation on defense, Kent State was torched by the best offense in the MAC. At the 11:52 mark of the second half, the Herd held a 38-14 advantage in the paint and finished at 38-30.

While they won the rebound battle, they lost the war inside. Marshall was a step ahead of the Flashes all night, as Marshall penetrated to the hole on nearly every possession, as five Marshall players finished in double-figures. This marked the fourth conference game the Flashes have lost by six or fewer.

Coach Bob Lindsay will have to wait until at least Saturday to try again for his 300th career win. While Lindsay and his team fell short, junior forward Lindsay Shearer made her own history. With a basket with 1:22 remaining in the game, Shearer became the 18th player in school history to record 1,000 career points, finishing with 15 points on the night.

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