Kent State loses to Michigan, beats Purdue Fort Wayne

Freshman Nila Blackford, 4, talks to her coach Todd Starkey during a free throw in the women’s basketball game against Purdue Fort Wayne. The Golden Flashes beat Purdue Fort Wayne 75-67 in the Akron Classic on Nov. 16, 2019.

On Friday, Kent State lost 88-53 to the University of Michigan. It was the first loss of the season for Kent State and the teams biggest loss since Nov. 25, 2016 when they lost 84-42 to Baylor University. 

“We just got beat by a bigger and more athletic team,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I think a lot of our youth showed up. When you play against teams that are that good, and that big, your mistakes are magnified.” 

On Saturday, Kent State beat Purdue Fort Wayne 75-67. It was the team’s largest regulation win of the season. 

“Going into today, I think we were trying not to think about yesterday and trying to get past it,” freshman guard Katie Schumate said after the game. “The team we were playing today, we knew we were going to drive and be physical and work hard the whole game.” 

Shumate, who had 10 points against Michigan and 16 points against Purdue Fort Wayne, was one of five players who scored more than eight points each game.  

Kent State made 32.3 percent of its field goal attempts against Michigan and 49 percent of its field goal attempts against Purdue Fort Wayne. 

“When your making shots, everything feels good,” Shumate said. “It’s easier to have energy. The opposite of that is when we’re not making shots, to get in there and keep having energy on both ends of the floor.”

Sophomore guard Hannah Young, who came off the bench in both games, had eight points against Michigan and nine points against Purdue Fort Wayne. Her 17 points over the weekend are more than every other Kent State reserve combined this season. 

“I knew that we needed a little bit of spark,” Young said. “I figured that I had to come out with everything I had.” 

In the 2018-19 season, Kent State averaged 15 turnovers per game. In the first two games of this season, they averaged 12. Against Michigan, the team committed 14 turnovers. Against Purdue Fort Wayne, the team had 22. 

“I thought we were just really careless with the basketball,” Starkey said. “We weren’t playing connected with each other and there’s just some careless passes.”

On Thursday, Kent State is playing The Ohio State University at home. Ohio State lost 74-68 to Ohio University on Sunday. Ohio University committed only 14 turnovers, while Ohio State committed 20. 

“We’re just lacking consistency in practice, we’re lacking consistency in games. Some of that’s our youth, and some of it’s just a lack of discipline,” Starkey said. “You teach consistency by the discipline you have in practice every day. So we’ve got to tighten the screws a little bit on the level of discipline we have in practice.”

Ohio University was picked in a preseason poll of the Mid-American Conference’s 12 coaches to be the MAC regular season champions. Ten coaches picked them to win the MAC tournament. Kent State was picked third in the east division. 

“We try to be patient because of our youth,” Starkey said. “But sometimes when you’re a little too patient, some complacency creeps in. So we’ll try and work on that and get that fixed in practice.”

Contact Gina Butkovich at [email protected]