Kent State Women’s Basketball Team Survives Frantic Finish To Down Rival Akron
Five Golden Flashes reach double figures in scoring for a second straight game.
KENT, Ohio -- The Kent State women's basketball team used a strong offensive effort and held off a late charge by Akron, defeating its Mid-American Conference East Division rival, 77-76, in a frantic finish Saturday (Feb. 25) at the M.A.C. Center.
The Golden Flashes (6-19, 5-10 MAC) put a halt to a seven-game losing skid, picking up their first win since a 67-61 triumph at Western Michigan on Jan. 25. Kent State evened the score with the Zips (12-17, 6-9 MAC), avenging a 68-62 loss at Rhoades Arena on Jan. 14. The victory also allowed Kent State to earn another half point over Akron in the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge, which the Flashes currently lead by a count of 4.5-3 after the Kent State women's track & field team won the MAC Indoor title and Akron captured gold on the men's side.
"We haven't won a lot of games this year, so getting a big rivalry is good for the heart and good for our fans," said junior guard Tamzin Barroilhet (Sainte Maxime, France).
Kent State saw five student-athletes reach double figures in scoring for a second straight game, led by a career-high 16 points by junior center Leslie Schaefer (Verona, Wis.), who achieved her first career double-double by hauling in a career-high 12 rebounds. She reached double figures in points for the third straight game while starting in place of injured junior forward Diamon Beckford (Upper Darby, Pa.).
"A seven-game losing streak is a long time, so it feels good to get out of that," said Schaefer. "When I was coming off the bench before and only playing a few minutes, I never felt quite adjusted to the game. I have the opportunity to see what I can get over 40 minutes now. It's a lot easier when you get a rhythm going, and today I just felt it."
Freshman guard Itziar Llobet (Sant Cugat de Valles, Spain) added 14 points and dished out a game-high six assists, while Barroilhet contributed 13 points and handed out five assists. Llobet has hit double digits in scoring 13 times this season and seven times in the last nine games while Barroilhet achieved the feat for the 12th time in 2011-12 and seventh straight game. Freshman guard Dena Droste (East Lansing, Mich.) tallied a career-high 12 points, and junior guard Trisha Krewson (Sandusky, Ohio) totaled 11 points to hit double digits for a team-high 15th time this season and third time in the last four games. Freshman guard Jamie Hutcheson (Ancaster, Ontario) just missed out on becoming the sixth Flash to hit double digits, scoring nine points in addition to matching Llobet with a game-high four steals on the defensive end.
"This game was not unlike the first one we played at Akron," said 23rd-year head coach Bob Lindsay. "We had a lead and let the lead get away from us, but we had a lot of bright spots. We had good scoring balance and stayed away from turnovers. We played well enough to get the win, and that's a great credit to our players."
Seven points apiece by Barroilhet and Llobet and six more from Droste helped the Golden Flashes take a 34-30 edge into halftime.
Kent State opened the second half on a 34-23 run over the first 14 minutes, using five layups by Schaefer, two treys and a layup by Krewson and threes by Llobet and Droste to help build a 70-53 advantage with just over six minutes to play. The Zips did not quit, though, finishing the game on a 23-7 run to close the gap to just one point with 34 seconds left on the clock. Fortunately for the Flashes, Akron failed to convert on three three-point attempts in the final 18 seconds -- two of which were second-chance attempts off of offensive rebounds by the Zips.
"They got a lot of shots at the end, and we were very fortunate that one of them didn't go in," said Lindsay. "We didn't help ourselves by missing free throws and turning the ball over at the end, but it was a good win for us."
Sophomore forward Sina King posted a double-double for Akron with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. She was joined in double figures by senior forward Jasmine Mushington, who posted 12 points.
Kent State closes the 2011-12 regular season by welcoming MAC East Division rival Bowling Green to the M.A.C. Center next Tuesday (Feb. 28). Tip time is set for 7 p.m. Tickets start at just $5. For more information contact the Kent State Athletics Ticket Office at (330) 672-2244.