Bench brings big boost in women’s basketball 20+ point victory

Isabella Schreck, Sports Editor

In its second game of the season, the women’s basketball’s bench scored 34 of its team’s 77 points total Sunday.

And ten of the program’s 14 players scored at least two points.

“We have good players all the way down the bench,” coach Todd Starkey said. “The hard part for me as a coach is we’ve got talented players down the bench who probably deserve to play, but you can only play five players. So that’s a tough balance to have, but I was really excited that we have the confidence to play players down the bench and that they can contribute.”

Ten of his players scored at least two points.

Freshman guard Corynne Hauser led the bench with 11 points. Sophomore forward Bridget Dunn had a team-high nine rebounds.

KSU defeated Northern Kentucky 77-54 Sunday in the M.A.C. Center. The team is now 1-1.

The Norse are 1-1 on the season and won its home opener 101-95 in triple overtime to Lipscomb. They finished last year 21-8.

“That’s not the way they typically play,” Starkey said. “I thought we had a lot of do with that, but Northern Kentucky is going to win a lot of basketball games this year. So I was pleased to come out with a quality win against a tough opponent.”

Senior guard Katie Shumate scored a team-best 13 points. Senior guard Clare Kelly had 12.

Graduate student guard Lindsey Duvall led Northern Kentucky with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

She totaled 36 points and attempted 27 free throws against Lipscomb. Sunday, she tried zero free throws.

“[Clare] really embraced the game plan, and she guarded Duvall really well,” Dunn said. “She took charges early just to get people in foul trouble, which threw the game off a bit. She’s been playing really well, and there’s big things coming for her.”

KSU always led

Graduate student forward Lindsey Thall started off the game with a 3-pointer, and her team took off. By 10-0, Northern Kentucky called a time out.

The Flashes kept a 14-0 lead with less than three minutes left in the first period. Duvall broke the streak with a shot in the paint.

“They came out of that timeout, and I thought they were really effective,” Starkey said. “They just were consistent, even though we had some lapses, and that’s going to happen every game.”

The Flashes led 18-9 by the end of the first period. They shot 62.5% from the field in the second quarter, outscoring the Norse 26-11.

KSU had a 44-20 lead at halftime.

“It wasn’t like there was a specific gimmicky thing that we did because we didn’t really change a whole lot of main things,” Starkey said. “We just did what we do better.”

Kent State had a 29-point lead, its largest of the night, with 2:13 seconds left in the third quarter. Northern Kentucky never got within 20 points of KSU in the second half.

Dunn led her team with nine rebounds. She made six in her team’s 80-71 loss to the ACC’s Florida State Nov. 10.

“It’s been a real big focus for me,” Dunn said. “Playing defense gets you open on the offensive end for the team, and rebounds are really important to winning games. That’s something I’ve been buying into with my position group.”

Thall, junior guard Casey Santoro and graduate student guard Hannah Young started Sunday along with Shumate and Kelly. This was the same lineup as the team’s home opener against Florida State.

Thall totaled eight points and one 3-pointer. Santoro earned 10 points and went 5-of-6 from the three point line. Young made four rebounds.

From the bench, freshman guard Dionna Gray, who played 10:54, led the team with two 3-pointers and went 2-for-6 from the field.

The team totaled 40 points in the paint to Northern Kentucky’s 18. Dunn said her team saw success by sticking together.

“You can’t leave anyone on an island,” she said. “So we gotta be in our gaps and help each other, cover opens and then box out and rebound to finish the play. We did a pretty good job of that.”

Up next: at Arkansas

The Flashes play at the SEC’s Arkansas at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Razorbacks are 2-0 on the season.

Last year, the team went 18-14 overall and 7-9 in the conference. Four of the team’s top five scorers return this season. Amber Ramirez, who totaled a team-best 463 points last season, graduated.

Three players scored in the double digits in their latest 72-34 victory over Central Arkansas. Redshirt senior forward Erynn Barnum led Arkansas with 19 points and nine rebounds and went 9-of-9 from the free throw line.

The team totaled 32 points in the paint and 24 from its bench.

Santoro said her team is “a really connected group.”

“We’re all good friends on and off the court,” she said. “That definitely helps us meld well together, and we just know how to play and know each other’s games really well.”

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