Kent State Women’s Basketball Suffers Tough Loss To Utah Valley
Llobet leads Golden Flashes with career-high 14 points.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Kent State women's basketball team suffered a tough loss in its opening game of Northern Arizona's Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic, falling to Utah Valley, 46-45, Friday (Nov. 25) at the Rolle Activity Center.
The Golden Flashes (1-3) dropped their first-ever meeting with the Wolverines (2-2). Utah Valley finished the Classic with a 1-1 mark after dropping a 73-59 decision to the host Lumberjacks Wednesday (Nov. 23).
Freshman guard Itziar Llobet (Sant Cugat de Valles, Spain) led all scorers with a career-high 14 points. Junior guard Tamzin Barroilhet (Sainte Maxime, France) joined Llobet in double figures, scoring a season-high 10 points. Junior center Leslie Schaefer (Verona, Wis.) hauled in a career-high seven rebounds (three offensive, four defensive) while junior forward Diamon Beckford (Upper Darby, Pa.) swiped a career-high five steals.
Despite being outshot by Kent State and trailing the Golden Flashes in points in the paint (26-16), points off of turnovers (16-11) and second chance points (13-10), the Wolverines were able to take advantage of a 46-34 rebounding edge, which included 17 offensive caroms. Three Utah Valley players reached double figures in rebounds. Senior guard Jenna Johnson led Utah Valley's attack with 13 points. She was joined in double figures by junior forward Sammie Jenson, who achieved a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds (three offensive, eight defensive). Sophomore forward Kim Bell led all rebounders with 12 boards (two offensive, 10 defensive) off of the bench. Junior forward Kaycee Mansfield also hit double figures, collecting 10 rebounds (eight offensive, two defensive).
Neither team led by more than four points in the first half as Kent State went into the break holding a 28-26 lead thanks in large part to 10 points by Barroilhet. Three layups by Beckford, two by junior guard Trisha Krewson (Sandusky, Ohio) and a three by Llobet helped Kent State keep pace with Utah Valley at 17-all with 10:54 remaining in the half. Two jumpers by Jenkins and another by Johnson gave the Wolverines a 23-19 led with just over four minutes to play in the opening stanza, but another lay-in by Barroilhet and a three by Llobet evened the score at 24-all. The Llobet trey sparked a 7-0 Kent State run at the end of the half, as Schaefer drew a foul and knocked down both freebies, and Krewson followed it up by stealing the ball from senior guard Abbie Beutler on Utah Valley's ensuing possession, leading to a fast break that ended in a dish to Barroilhet for a bucket.
Unfortunately for the Flashes, the hot end to the first half did not translate into a strong start to the second. Utah Valley went on a 9-0 scoring run that spanned five minutes. A layup by Schaefer and a lay-in and a three from Llobet helped cut Kent State's deficit to two at 37-35, but a three by Bell and a layup by Jensen swelled Utah Valley's advantage to seven again. That was the last basket for the Wolverines for over seven minutes, as a Krewson layup cut their lead to five and a trey by freshman guard Jamie Hutcheson (Ancaster, Ontario) shaved it to two. Llobet gave Kent State its first lead since the 19:38 mark of the half by nailing a three, putting the Flashes up 43-42 with just over three minutes to go. Jensen countered with a jumper to break Utah Valley's drought and put the Wolverines back up by one with 1:06 to go. A jumper by Hutcheson put Kent State back ahead, 45-44, with 44 seconds left. Krewson was forced to foul Jensen with 32 ticks on the clock. Jensen went to the charity stripe and knocked both down both free throws to make it 46-45. Kent State had two opportunities to pull out a victory on their final two possessions but could not convert two three point attempts.
The Flashes look to get back on track Saturday (Nov. 26) against Northern Arizona. Tip time is 4:05 p.m.