Eleven-point lead to nine-point loss: Women’s basketball falls late Florida State

Isabella Schreck, Sports Editor

At the end of the first period against Florida State — a team that has five players taller than 6-foot-1 and had scored 113 points in its season opener — Kent State had a one-point lead.

By the half, the score was 39-38, Seminoles.

The Flashes played from behind until tying the game 43-43 then 45-45. With 2:35 left in the third period, they took an 11-point lead — their biggest of the night.

Senior guard Katie Shumate came out with a layup 34 seconds later to get KSU to 62-51.

But for the next seven and a half minutes, the team could not score again.

“We got a bit stagnant,” said graduate student forward Lindsey Thall. “After that big run, we were just playing not to lose instead of just playing hard and keeping it going like we had with all the momentum we had going. If we would have just stayed aggressive and just kept pushing it out, we could have stretched out more.”

The Flashes lost to the Seminoles 80-71. This is the first game Florida State was held under 100 points this season.

KSU is 0-1 on the year; FSU is 2-0.

Thall led her team with 19 points and three 3-pointers. Shumate was second with 18 points and had the most rebounds with seven.

Freshman guard Ta’Niya Latson had the best scoring of the night with 34 points. All other FSU players scored under 13 points.

“She’s an awesome player,” said senior guard Clare Kelly, who totaled five points on the night. “I’m thankful to be able to play against a team like that because she really is preparing us for the rest of the season. It definitely makes me better as a player and makes our whole team a lot better.”

Close first half to stalled fourth period

Kent State was winning 18-17 by the end of the first period.

Eleven of FSU’s points came from turnovers – the team had forced five. KSU had one point from its four turnovers forced.

Graduate student guard Hannah Young went 1-for-1 on 3-pointers and Shumate led the team from the field, going 3-for-4.

Latson had made three shots from the field and one 3-pointer.

The Flashes were only losing by one at the end of the first half.

“We wanted to make sure we were switching things up defensively,” coach Todd Starkey said. “We didn’t want to be predictable.”

Kent State headed into the locker room down 29-28. Florida State had forced five more turnovers by the half and doubled its points from turnovers with 22-1.

Thall made two 3-pointers and junior guard Casey Santoro had one. The two tied with eight points scored.

Latson had scored nine.

With 4:30 left in the fourth period, the Seminoles were leading 66-62 after a 15-point run which started in the third period.

Latson had scored 13 of those points and made two 3-pointers.

Then, she fouled out. She left the game with two turnovers, four rebounds and three steals.

Young went 2-for-2 on free throws to break FSU’s run.

The Flashes only shot 14.3% from the field that final period, going 3-for-21 from the field and 0-for-9 in 3-pointers.

“You hope that you don’t put yourself in a position like that where you have to make big shots like that, especially with all the pressure of playing an ACC team,” Thall said.

Kelly, who went 2-for-8 from the field and 1-6 on 3-pointers, said her team needs to remember its potential during a game.

“It’s important that we know our team, pretty much down to every individual, has an awesome shot,” Kelly said. “We just need to keep working on trusting that and not living and dying by if you made your last shot. [It’s] just keep shooting, clear head, windshield mentality.”

Florida State forced 16 turnovers on the night and earned 26 points off them. Kent State forced 15 and got 11 points.

“I don’t think it was us wearing down,” Starkey said. “Our girls played hard all the way through. This was a game that was definitely winnable if they didn’t have as many points off turnovers.  We got good looks down the stretch, we just were missing shots.”

Starkey used the same starting lineup as Nov. 3’s exhibition win against Mercyhurst: Thall, Santoro, Shumate, Kelly and Young.

Freshman guard Corynne Hauser played 22:39 and shot 2-of-11 from the field and 2-of-5 on free throws. She had the most free-throw attempts from her team.

Thall said this game showed “a lot of positivity” for the rest of the season.

“We have a lot of grit playing a big team like that for the home opener,” Thall said. “It’s exciting to see but obviously we wish we would’ve won.”

Up next: Northern Kentucky at home

The Flashes play Northern Kentucky (1-0) at 2 p.m. Sunday in the M.A.C. Center. The Norse won their Thursday home opener against Lipscomb 101-95 in triple overtime.

Last season, they went 21-8 and lost to Kent State 80-73.

Graduate student guard Lindsey Duvall, who was first in points on the team last season, scored a team-high 36 points and had 15 rebounds in the opener. All three of the team’s top scorers from last year are returning.

Starkey said KSU’s battle showed his team can play with anyone.

“This team knows that they’re capable of doing special things,” he said. “If we stay consistent, and we shoot like this but we play against some other people – maybe we win that game.”

Isabella Schreck is sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].