Women’s basketball’s senior-day victory marks first 20th regular-season win in 12 years


Yasmeen Matthews

Graduate student forward Lindsey Thall shoots a three pointer in the women’s basketball game against Northern Illinois University March 4, 2023.

Lucas Baker, Reporter

After shooting 71.4% from deep in the third quarter against Northern Illinois, the Kent State women’s basketball team secured its final win of the regular season Saturday.

The Flashes defeated the Huskies 73-58 on senior night.

The game marked the last KSU regular-season game for graduate students guard/forward Annie Pavlansky, forward Lindsey Thall, guard Hannah Young and senior guard Clare Kelly.

“It’s been an honor to be their coach,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I’m just really pleased to get a win on senior day for these four incredibly special players.”

Kent State is now 20-9 on the season and in fourth place in the Mid-American Conference at 11-6. NIU sits at fifth with a record of 16-12 and 8-9 in conference play.

Toledo is first in the MAC at 16-2.

Battling first half

Kent State and NIU swapped leads twice in the first quarter, and the Flashes were leading 20-13 by the end of the quarter. The Flashes were able to hold the Huskies to 42.9% from three while KSU shot 44.4%

Kent State outshot NIU from the field 41.2% to 38.5%. Kent State scored nine points off of NIU’s five turnovers while only allowing two points off of one turnover.

“I think everybody knows that we are capable of doing just about anything. Defensively, we’ve been able to hang our hat on that,” Starkey said.

Senior guard Katie Shumate (14) and freshman guard Corynne Hauser go for the rebound March 4, 2023. (Yasmeen Matthews)

Thall and senior guard Katie Shumate had tallied five points in the first.

The Huskies outscored the Flashes in the second quarter 13 to 10, but Kent State still kept ahead 30-26 by halftime.

In the second quarter, Kent State went 0-of-5 from behind the arc while the Huskies shot 25% (1-of-4).

The Flashes field goal percentage dropped to 26.7% compared to Northern Illinois’ 41.7%

Both teams had three turnovers. NIU earned four points from its turnovers – KSU earned none. “We weren’t pleased with the way we played in the second quarter,” Starkey said. “We slipped into passive mode there, and that’s one of the things that we’ve been really focused on all year, staying aggressive throughout the game.”

Commanding second half

The Flashes shot 71.4 % from beyond the arc, missing only two from deep and they shot 50% from the field.

The Huskies were locked down to only 33.3% from the field and three point.

“We were just getting really hot and everybody was celebrating with each other on the court,” Thall said.

Junior guard Casey Santoro added 11 points in the third quarter while shooting 4-for-4 from the field and nailing two three-pointers.

Women’s Golden Flashes celebrate Casey Santoro’s three point shot March 4, 2023. (Yasmeen Matthews)

“It’s about the types of shots we get,” Starkey said. “Because we have good shooters, we want to get good shots.”

Kent State remained ahead 52-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

NIU outshot Kent State from the field, 66.7% to 46.2%, and from deep, 60% to 57.1%.

Kent State forced the ball over four times and scored five points off that.

The Flashes have the fourth spot in the MAC tournament and will play Northern Illinois again Wednesday in the quarterfinals. NIU has the fifth seed.

Tipoff is 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The semifinals will be Friday and the championship Saturday.

“I think we just aren’t satisfied by any means,” Pavlansky said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better end to the regular season.”

Luke Baker is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].