Largest margin ever: Women’s basketball sinks 105 points, its best scoring in 22 seasons


Matthew Brown

Kent State senior Katie Shumate spins around a Hiram defender as she drives towards the net.

Jacob Hansen, Reporter

Sunday, the women’s basketball team defeated Hiram by 72 points – the largest point differential in Kent State program history.

The 105-33 victory became the highest scoring game for KSU since 2000. It was the first time the Flashes have scored 100 points since November 2021.

“This team has been through the ringer,” coach Todd Starkey said. “We’ve played the 17th hardest strength of schedule in the country, so we’ve really tested ourselves early. We have done a good job and have been tested early and responded.”

The Flashes shot a season-high 52.8% from the field. Their 37.5% from three-point range is the third-highest three-point shooting percentage of the season.

KSU forced a season-high 34 turnovers, with a season-high 26 team steals.

Hiram shot just 7-of-38 from the field and 3-of-11 behind the arc.

Kent State is now 6-3 on the year. Hiram is now 4-4.

Starting off on a roll

Kent State started the game on a 18-0 run. Hiram did not score until the 4:56 mark in the first quarter.

Kent State’s basketball team snags the ball during the tip-off of the game against Hiram. The team would go on to win the game with a substantial lead. (Matthew Brown)

“We just wanted to come out and play really hard from the start, regardless of what the score was or who the opponent was,” Starkey said. “That was really the message, and they did a really good job of coming out and playing with great intensity and focus from the start.”

The Flashes ended the first quarter with a 31-4 lead. They forced 10 turnovers on eight steals in the first quarter alone.

KSU shot 58.8% from the field and 40% from three. Hiram shot just 11.1% from the field and 33.3% from three.

The Flashes controlled the entire second half, heading into the locker room with a 55-13 lead.

“It was more of a focus on us the last few days,” Starkey said. “focusing on some things that we know we need to continue to get better at and coming in here and respecting every opponent that we play.”

Kent State had a 56.3% field goal percentage in the second quarter and shot 60% from 3-point range.

Senior guard Katie Shumate, who leads her team in scoring overall this season, led the Flashes with 13 points, two steals and a rebound. Junior guard Casey Santoro added eight points and a rebound.

Hiram struggled against Kent State’s defense in the second quarter, turning the ball over 11 times. The Flashes forced 21 turnovers by the half.

KSU added eight more team steals, totaling 16 steals for the half.

Hiram shot just 12.5% in the second quarter. The team shot 11.8% and 33.3% in the second half

Dominating all the way through

Kent State’s defense was the reason for success in the third quarter. In the third quarter, Kent State forced six turnovers and recorded six team steals.

KSU saw its lowest shooting percentages of the game in the third quarter, going 8-of-18 from the field and 2-of-7 from behind the arc.

Kent State junior Casey Santoro races down the court, ball in hand, doing the game against Hiram. (Matthew Brown)

Hiram had its best quarter shooting wise with a 33.3% field goal and 33.3% from behind the arc. But the Flashes led 79-22 at the end of the quarter.

“Hiram, they practice and work just as hard as us,” Starkey said. “They want to win and get better as well.”

Kent State scored 26 points in the final quarter. The Terriers shot just 16.7% from the field and 20% from behind the arc in the fourth quarter.

All but one of Kent State’s athletes played and scored against Hiram. Graduate student forward Lindsey Thall, who holds the program record for most 3-pointers made, did not play. Going into Sunday, she had started in every game this season.

Five KSU players scored in the double digits:

  • Shumate led the team with 18 points, two steals and a rebound.
  • Santoro had 10 points, one rebound, one steal and one assist.
  • Graduate student guard Annie Pavlansky scored a career-high 13 points with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.
  • Graduate student guard Abby Ogle scored a career-high at Kent State with 13 points, five steals and two rebounds.
  • Freshman guard Dionna Gray tied her career-high at Kent State with 10 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals.

“We are all playing good,” Ogle said. “We just want to keep that energy up and keep everybody positive, but don’t stay away from our best.”

Kent State senior Clare Kelly moves in towards the net during the game against Hiram. (Matthew Brown)

Hiram had just one double-digit scorer with senior guard Taylor Valaitis scoring 12 points and three rebounds.

Kent State had team-highs in rebounds (43), field goals made (38), free throw attempts (attempts), assists (22) and blocked shots (7).

“We were extremely connected today, even though we were up by a lot,” Gray said. “Coach invited us to continue to play our basketball to be the better team and we did that today.”

Kent State plays Otterbein (4-3) Tuesday Dec. 20th at 11 a.m. in the M.A.C. Center. Both teams have two double-digit scorers leading their respective teams.

“Everyone of these players works really hard on and off the court and in the classroom and in practice every day,” Starkey said. “So to get everybody some playing time and everybody to contribute the way they did was exciting for me.”

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]