Women’s basketball responds with a statement after previous loss

Kyle Kuchta, Reporter

Kent State’s women’s basketball team had a turnaround from its last game in a 82-61 victory over Northern Illinois.

The 21-point victory was the team’s largest margin of victory on the road since 2017 in conference play.

KSU was in complete control with graduate forward Lindsey Thall setting a new career high with 26 points. Thall went 9-of-13 from the field and went 5-9 from three. She was 5-of-9 from the line.

Freshman guard Corynne Hauser added 12 of her own along with senior guard Clare Kelly having 13. The Flashes are now 5-1 coming off of a loss.

“Our guards were pretty keyed into the game plan and I thought we executed a defensive game plan pretty well,” coach Todd Starkey said. “To be quite honest the last three or four games back to Miami, which wasn’t great but against Bowling Green we had a pretty good defensive game plan and in Eastern Michigan so three games in a row we’ve had a good defensive game plan and executed.”

Kent State moved to 12-6 overall with a 4-3 record in the Mid-American Conference conference. The Flashes are now tied for third place in the conference with Akron and Western Michigan.

Northern Illinois fell to 10-8 and are now 2-5 in the MAC. NIU is tied for fifth with Central Michigan and Miami in the MAC.

Dominant Start

Lindsey Thall and her team could not miss to start this game, going 6-7 from three in the first quarter. Five different players had scored from beyond the arc.

KSU had 10 turnovers in the first quarter against Bowling Green last Saturday. Wednesday night was a different story only having one turnover.

“Bowling Green is leading in turnover margin so that had a lot to do with it. So style of play had a lot to do with the reason why we turned it over,” Starkey said. “We also did a better job of taking care of the basketball.”

Despite KSU outscoring NIU in the second quarter by a point, the Huskies went on a 9-1 run in the second quarter with four minutes left to play. Northern Illinois shot just 33% from the field while shooting 43% from three.

Kent State shot 53% from three in the first half and shot 58% from the field going into halftime with a 49-34 lead. The first half was the highest scoring half against any division one opponent for KSU this season.

The Flashes kept up with their play despite sophomore forward Bridget Dunn getting knocked out of the game early as head coach Todd Starkey had to make rotational adjustments.

“We’re hopeful she’s okay, we’ll find updates on that probably not for a few days but we had a few players come off the bench and did well. Tatiana Thomas continues to grow as a player, Annie Pavlansky came in and gave us some help there at times,” Starkey said. “And then we played with four guards at a time. So Jenna Batsch was playing the forward position a little bit as well and on the rotation when we needed to get Lindsey some rest.”

Kent State finished the first half with eight bench points.

Staying ahead

KSU maintained the lead throughout the second half. The team scored the lowest amount of points scored in the third quarter with both teams having just 13 points.

The Flashes went 5-for-13 from the field and 2-for-8 from 3-point range in the third while NIU went just 3-for-14 from the field and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.

Kent State improved in the fourth quarter to seal the win. The Flashes shot 66% from the field and from the three. Northern Illinois shot just 5-for-15 from the field and only 1-for-4 from three.

KSU had 11 different players in the scoring column and four players with double digit points.

“The ball movement is really important to our offense. We got staggered a little bit in the third and fourth quarter and we started to handle things with the dribble a little too much,” Starkey said. “They pressed a little bit and slowed us down but the nice thing is our defense did a good job. This NIU team was down 17 to Toledo and came back to beat Toledo so I was glad that we were able to answer a team that’s very capable of coming back.”

The Huskies were held to under 30% shooting as the team went 19-for-64 from the field and 5-for-18 from three.

Kent State shot 55% from the field while shooting 46% from beyond the arc.

Back Home

The Flashes are back in the M.A.C.C. this Saturday as they take on Western Michigan.

Tip off is at 2 p.m.

Western Michigan lost to Eastern Michigan after coming off four-straight wins and are 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the conference.

Kyle Kuchta is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].