Blackford, Shumate offensive perfomance not enough in Kent State’s loss to Toledo

Amanda Levine Sports editor

Kent State women’s basketball kept up with the University of Toledo in the first quarter Saturday afternoon, with both the Flashes and Rockets scoring 17 points.

But a 22-point third quarter helped propel Toledo past Kent State in a 69-60 loss. The Flashes were held to just 39.3 field goal percentage and struggled with rebounds, being out rebounded by Toledo 42-24. 

Toledo (10-9, 5-3 Mid American Conference) and Kent State (11-8, 4-4 MAC) were tied for fifth place in the MAC prior to the game. Both teams were vying for fourth place as the top four teams in the conference get a bye during the first week of MAC Tournament play. 

“Playing on the road anywhere it’s tough, especially in the MAC. One of my sayings is when you go on the road, you gotta win by 10, to win by two,”assistant coach Mike McKee said on the Golden Flashes Radio during a post-game interview. “I think we just have to do a better job of trying to fight through that, not get caught up in it… We just gotta stay a little bit more focused, maybe play a little bit tougher.” 

The win at home for Toledo ended its three-game home losing streak. 

Three Flashes scored double digits against the Rockets, freshman forward Nila Blackford, freshman guard Katie Shumate and senior guard Megan Carter. Blackford led the Flashes in scoring and rebounds with 14 points and nine rebounds. The freshman forward was one rebound shy of her fourth double-double of the season.

Despite leading the Flashes in scoring, Blackford was 6 for 16 for shooting. 

“You look at the stats, 14 [points] and nine [rebounds]. Almost a double-double from a freshman who you look from the surface and she didn’t really play that well. Anytime a freshman get 14 [points] and nine [rebounds], not bad. She may (be) really scary when she figures it out,” McKee said.

Shumate was second in scoring and rebounds with 13 points and four rebounds against the Rockets. Carter had 12 points and three bounds for Kent State. 

Sophomore guard Asiah Dingle did not play because of a suspension, coach Todd Starkey said before the game. With Dingle out, sophomore guard Mariah Modkins saw 34 minutes of playing time, a season-high for her.

Modkins had eight points and one assist, with two three-pointers. Her previous season high of playing time was 23 minutes against the University at Buffalo on Jan. 25 in a 57-44 loss. 

“She did a good job for us today. She fights, she fights. She’s a good leader on the floor with her voice,” McKee said.

With Buffalo’s loss 64-63 loss to Northern Illinois, Kent State is in second place in the MAC East behind Ohio University (13-7, 6-3 MAC). 

Kent State will continue MAC play Wednesday at the M.A.C. Center against Bowling Green at 7 p.m. The Flashes will face off against the Falcons for the first time this season.

Contact Amanda Levine at [email protected]