Asiah Dingle came out of a three-game slump to lead Kent State with 16 points. Thirteen came in the second half on six-of-11 shooting. She also had three assists and a steal against one turnover, her low for the season.
Four minutes at the end of the second quarter cost Kent State a chance at an upset at Purdue Sunday.
The Flashes missed eight of their last nine shots in the quarter. Purdue made four of five, including a three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer. That shot ended an 11-2 run and gave Purdue a 38-24 halftime lead.
Kent State played perhaps its best basketball of the season in the second half, outscoring Purdue 40-39. But the Flashes never got within eight points. Final score was 77-64.
“We’re really proud of our second half,” associate head coach Fran Recchia said in her postgame radio interview with David Wilson. “That second quarter, though. If we could take that one back and replay it, that would be great.”
It was the best of Kent State’s three games against Big Ten teams. Its loss to Ohio State was 75-65, but the closer margin came because the Flashes outscored OSU 25-12 in the fourth quarter. Earlier the Flashes had lost to Michigan 88-53.
KSU is 5-3 as it takes a 10-day break for final exams. Purdue is 7-2.
Kent State missed 12 of 16 shots in the second quartet and 11 of 16 in the first.
“A lot of that was layups,” Recchia said. “We got some great looks.
“It’s been a point of emphasis in practice, and i think it’s something where we just have to get better. We have a lot of downhill drivers, and we have to be able to capitalize on that.”
Some of the Flashes’ problems finishing at the basket were due to Purdue’s defense, which features Ae’Rianna Harris, two-time defensive player of the year in the Big Ten.
“We’re not going to see another team with that type of length the rest of the season,” Recchia said.
In the second half, KSU made 48.4% of its shots. It was led by Asiah Dingle, whose main game is driving to the basket. She scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half.
Purdue junior guard Karissa McLaughlin proved to be the weapon Kent State couldn’t blunt. McLaughlin was first-team all-Big Ten as a sophomore but had struggled in the Boilermakers’ first seven games. In her last three games, she made just six of 31 shots and two of 16 three-pointers. For the season, she was shooting below 30% and averaging 8.8 points a game.
Sunday she made nine of 15 and six of 10 from 3-point distance. She added 10 of 10 free throws to finish with a career-high 34 points.
Two buzzer-beating shots were especially bruising for Kent State. A KSU shot seemed to brush the rim at the end of the first half, but the officials ruled it didn’t and called a shot-clock violation. Purdue got the ball with 0.5 seconds to go; Kent State didn’t guard the inbounds play, and McLaughlin sent a 70-foot shot cleanly through the net.
At the end of the third quarter, McLaughlin hit another 3-pointer as time expired when Kent State had cut Purdue’s lead to 52-43.
Kent State got to the score to 60-52 with 4:42 to go on a jumper by reserve forward Sydney Brinlee. But McLaughlin made 10-straight foul shots in the last two-and-a-half minutes.
Lots of fouls
Both teams struggled with foul trouble. Thall picked up two in the first six minutes and played only nine in the first half. She eventually fouled out. So did Dingle. Nila Blackford, KSU’s leading scorer and rebounder going into the game, had four fouls.
Blackford and Thall’s foul problem meant lots of playing time for reserves Brinlee and Monique Smith. Both played some of their best basketball. Brinlee had five points, including a 3-point basket, and two rebounds in 13 minutes. Smith also played 13 minutes, which I think was a career high. Her four points tied a career high, and she also had three rebounds.
Purdue’s Harris, the all-Big Ten player, was limited to 21 minutes by her three fouls. She had five rebounds, four below her average, and didn’t block a shot. She already has blocked more shots than anyone in team history. She scored 12 points.
Purdue’s leading scorer, Dominique Oden, had four fouls and didn’t score in 14 minutes.
Overall Kent State committed 23 fouls, Purdue 20. The Boilermakers outscored KSU 21-10 from the foul line. Kent State has won every game this season when it has made more free throws than its opponent and lost every game when it made fewer.
Highlights from today’s game at Purdue. https://t.co/O10Bkjn5aC
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) December 8, 2019
- Thall had 11 points and made three 3-point baskets. Megan Carter had 10 and a career-high nine rebounds. Blackford, who had a total of 51 points in KSU’s two previous games, had eight, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals. Katie Shumate had seven rebounds and three blocked shots to go with six points.
- Purdue came into the game 15th in the country in blocked shots, averaging 5.6 per game. But Kent State blocked six to the Boilermakers’ two.
- Purdue made 45.3% of its shots, by far the lowest of the three Big Ten teams KSU has played. Both Michigan and Ohio State shot better than 55%. Purdue’s percentage actually is the third best Kent State has done on defense. Still, Purdue’s 77 points were its most of the season.
- Kent State had assists on its first five baskets, then only four for the rest of the game. KSU coach Todd Starkey said early this week he wanted his team to average at least 14. Purdue had 20 assists on 24 baskets.
- Purdue had 35 rebounds, Kent State 34 rebounds. The Flashes had 15 offensive rebounds, led by four by Blackford and Carter. Purdue had 10 offensive rebounds.
- Recchia said to get in the mood for the game, the team watched the movie “Hoosiers” on the bus as it road across Indiana.
- Attendance was 5.585, largest crowd to see KSU play this season.
Kent State is off this week for finals week and plays next at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic Dec. 19 and 20. The Flashes will play two teams from the Sun Belt Conference — Georgia Southern (2-5) and Troy (5-2). Troy’s losses have come to Mississippi State and Duke.
The view from Purdue
From the Journal & Courier, the West Lafayette newspaper
Coach Sharon Versyp on Karissa McLaughlin’s 70-foot basket at the end of the first half:
“They (Kent State) weren’t even up. They were just standing on the sideline, so I’m like, ‘Just grab it and heave it.’ That was huge.”
Purdue guard Cassidy Hardin, on that basket:
“I was like, ‘No, you’re going to make it; I know you are’ and she did.’ think going to the locker room, it let us relax.”
McLaughlin on Purdue scoring 70 points for the first time this season:
“Before we were going back to our old ways of just walking the ball up the floor and not getting points in transition. I think we got more of that today.”
Versyp on the win:
“We need this. We needed to score. It was nice to see our young kids step up and do some really good things and score the ball in a variety of different ways.”
It was Versyp’s 400th win as a head coach. The Boilermakers gave her a brief water cup shower in the locker room, the Journal and Courier reported.
“It wasn’t a very good one,” Versyp said, smiling.