Women’s basketball holds fourth place in M.A.C. with one game left of season

Kyle Kuchta, Reporter

The Kent State women’s basketball team’s four-game win streak came to an end Wednesday night, losing to Toledo 64-60.

The Rockets swept the Flashes this season and pushed their winning streak to 12 games. They are now 13-1 on their home court.

“Tough first and fourth quarter, really good second and third. I thought we played well enough to win, obviously down the stretch I thought they were certainly the aggressor in the fourth quarter,” coach Todd Starkey said. “They were able to get to the bonus really quickly and shot a lot of free throws down the stretch. I thought we got a little bit passive against the press and it affected us too much. We were right there, we learned some things and move forward.”

KSU falls to 19-9 on the season and are now 11-6 in the conference, sitting in fourth place.

Toledo improved to 24-4 overall and 15-2 in the conference, placing the Rockets alone at first place.

The Flashes struggled in the first quarter and did not record their first field goal until 1:04 left in the quarter when freshman guard Tatiana Thomas hit a jumper. Prior to that KSU started out 0-of-14 from the floor and 0-of-5 from three.

Kent State didn’t score its first two points four minutes into the first quarter with two free throws.

Toledo scored just 14 points in the quarter, keeping the Flashes in the game as both teams headed into the second quarter with a score of 14-8.

Kent State was only able to collect two made shots from the field going 2-of-16 and 1-of-6 from three. Toledo shot just under 50% from the field while connecting on one 3-pointer.

The Flashes responded in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 19-18 with five minutes left to play in the half. KSU held the Rockets to just five points scored in the second quarter at this point.

KSU took their first lead of the game at 4:27 off a three from graduate student forward Lindsey Thall. The team then went on a scoring run to take a nine point lead with 2:35 left to play as Kent State had five players in the scoring column.

Senior guard Katie Shumate led the team in points with nine while having three rebounds all on the defensive side of the floor. Graduate student guard Hannah Young added eight points.

Kent State closed out the half with two made free throws from junior guard Casey Santoro to put KSU up 36-27.

“We didn’t play particularly well in the first quarter and we look up and it’s only 14-8,” Starkey said. “We started playing more aggressive in the second quarter, obviously we knocked down a bunch of shots but they were good rhythm shots for us.”

Leading scorer for Toledo senior guard Quinesha Lockett averages 17.9 points a game but was only held to just eight points to end the half.

The third quarter started off slow as KSU only put up five points with 6:00 left to play in the third, but was able to extend its lead to 14 with a score of 41-27.

Over the final four minutes of the quarter KSU was held scoreless until senior guard Clare Kelly hit a jumper with 0:17 left to go in the quarter as Toledo cut the lead going into the fourth quarter 45-37.

The Flashes shot 23% from the floor while missing all four shots from beyond the arc. Toledo went 4-of-12 from the field.

Toledo cut the deficit to two with 7:19 to play in the fourth as Toledo junior guard Sammi Mikonowicz made both free throws.

“I thought our defense for the most part through three quarters was really good. We got a little bit lazy on our switching angles in the fourth quarter, they were able to get downhill on us and that really had a lot to do with it,” Starkey said. “We need to be more disciplined in the fourth quarter.”

The Rockets were able to tie the game at 54 with 1:50 left to go in the final quarter. The lead change went back-and-forth until Mikonowicz put the game out of reach, hitting both free throws with 0:24 left as the Rockets went up by five.

Toledo was able to hang on to lead as Santoro missed a three pointer with six seconds left.

Shumate continued her hot streak as she finished just short of a double double, tallying 19 points with eight rebounds. Santoro finished with 11 points and Young added nine points and eight rebounds.

Kent State shot near even from the floor and from three as KSU had a 35% field goal percentage and 33% from 3-point. Toledo had a 38% field goal percentage, going 21-of-54 while shooting 14.3% from three.

Last Home Stand

Kent State will wrap up its season on senior day in the M.A.C Center against Northern Illinois.

KSU defeated Northern Illinois in the first meeting 82-61.

Tip off is 2 p.m. Saturday.

Coach Starkey said he is not concerned as Kent State looks to bounce back.

“Not one bit, I think this team has a lot of confidence and we know when we play well we can beat anyone in the league,” Starkey said. “I got a lot of confidence in this team and what we’re capable of doing. We took the best in the league all the way to the end on their home court and we know we’re capable of getting that win.”

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