Megan Carter scores 1,000th point, leads team to victory

Senior guard Megan Carter became the 22nd player in Kent State women’s basketball history to score 1,000 points. She led the Flashes with 21 points in a 81-58 win over St. Bonaventure.

“Thinking back to freshman year and how far I’ve come to actually continue playing basketball after tearing my ACL for the third time,” Carter said. “It’s just amazing and it’s surreal.”

Carter was 12-for-12 in free throws. The Flashes were almost perfect in free throws, going 30-for-31.

Freshman forward Nila Blackford was 8-for-8, while sophomore guard Asiah Dingle went 5-for-6. Freshman guard Clare Kelly, freshman guard Katie Shumate and sophomore forward Lindsey Thall combined for five free throws.

Kent State had its best free throw performance in school history while shooting more than 20 times from the line.

“We practice free throws every day,” Carter said. “I always stay after practice, get at least 50 free throws in with the coaches, just working on my mechanics, fine tuning them and sticking to them.”

Blackford followed Carter with the second most points scored on the day with 20 points and 10 rebounds. This marks the freshman forward’s third double double in seven games. 

“The way she’s played over the last few games and she’s still learning,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I mean, she wants to be coached. She’s done a great job in practice of wanting to be coached and getting in and studying film. I think her, the scary part is her best basketball is still ahead of her and she’s really starting to come into her own.”

Carter, the only senior in the starting five, has helped lead the younger teammates. Blackford said that the coaching staff, teammates and her all work well together on the court as she has a good support system for her transition from high school to college basketball.

“We’re all really good passers and we all try to look for each other and get each other a good look,” she said. “So yeah, I felt really comfortable playing with this team. I love playing with them.”

Blackford and the four other starters on the team, Dingle, Carter, Thall and Shumate, have all averaged in double figures per game so far. 

“I definitely wanted to be a better screener today because I feel like I haven’t been the best screener and passer,” Blackford said. “So I wanted to harp on that today in today’s game. Rebounding, wanted to make sure I got my team some good rebounds.” 

Starkey said this was the Flashes’ most complete game all season. Despite a few defensive miscues, Kent State was able to limit scoring chances from the Bonnies. This was only the second time the Flashes led at the half and its largest margin of victory for the season.

“Finally (I) have a game where I don’t have to sweat it out all the way down the stretch,” Starkey said. “So I thought that was our most complete game from start to finish. We had probably two or three defensive lapses I wasn’t really pleased with. Other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job answering their runs, we get a pretty good job with that. We switched up defenses multiple times. I thought we executed defensively and especially offensively in the second half. We really wanted to run our stuff, run our offense and trust it.”

Senior guard Ali Poole didn’t play, after playing three minutes in the win against Robert Morris. In the 2018-2019 season, Poole was tied for second on the team in three-pointers made per game, third in steals per game and fourth in points per game. This season, she has been fighting an injury. 

“We’re just going to take it cautious with Ali. Ali’s gonna play coming up in some games, but this was not a game that made sense to put her in, but everybody else got to play and did a really good job for the most part of defending and without fouling,” Starkey said.

Kent State’s next game will be Dec. 8 against Purdue University at 12 p.m. 

Contact Amanda Levine at [email protected].