Flashes force 2 turnovers in last 18 seconds to claim 78-75 win at Miami

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Nila Blackford led Kent State with 23 points and eight rebounds. The two freshmen in KSU’s starting lineup — Blackford and Katie Shumate — combined for 41 points and 19 rebounds. (File photo from KSU website.)

Kent State’s women almost gave away a victory at Miami Saturday, but Asiah Dingle and Lindsey Thall stole it back in the last 18 seconds.

The Flashes won 78-75 for their third win in a row and second straight victory on the road. They’re now 3-2 in the MAC and in a six-way tie for third in the conference.

Kent State had blown a 13-point lead in the last five minutes of fourth quarter. Miami’s Lauren Dickerson gave the Redhawks their first lead — 75-74 — since four minutes into the game when she scored on a layup with 1:17 left.

Each team missed a shot over the next minute. Miami got the ball off of a KSU turnover with 18 seconds to go, but Dingle cut in front of the inbounds pass. Miami’s Ally May, trying to throw it around Dingle, led her too much and the ball went and out of bounds.

Officials spent more than three minutes reviewing the play, then decided no one had touched the ball and gave the ball to Kent.

Dingle hit two free throws 10 seconds later to give KSU the lead.

Miami called timeout to advance the ball to the front court, where Thall tipped the inbounds pass to Nila Blackford, who made a layup as time expired.

Blackford scored 23 points, 19 in the first half, and had eight rebounds. Dingle had 18 despite being limited to 22 minutes with foul trouble. 11 of those points came in the fourth quarter. Katie Shumate also had 18 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.

Thall had 11 points, made three 3-point baskets, blocked four shots, had three assists and a steal.

“We dodged some bullets there,” coach Todd Starkey said in an ESPN interview after the game. “Obviously we made some major defensive mistakes, and we’ve got to get better at pressure situations.

“But any road win is a good win in this league no matter how it happens.”

The game was the second straight when the Flashes had a big lead, then struggled down the stretch. On Wednesday, Northern Illinois cut an 18-point deficit to four before Kent State won 79-71.

The Flashes looked ragged on defense much of the game. But on offense, they did their best shooting of the season. Kent State made 53.6% of their shots, its best of the year. KSU made seven-of-14 three-point shots, their second best percentage of the year.

The other key statistic of the game was Kent State’ 17-9 edge on second chance points. Shumate had six offensive rebounds, Blackford and Monique Johnson two. KSU outrebounded Miami 33-28.

Box score

Thall’s very long 3

Miami had missed a shot with four seconds to go in the second quarter. Guard Mariah Modkins took the inbounds pass and threw to Thall, who gathered her feet as if it were a routine 3-pointer from 21 feet. She swished it at the buzzer.

Notes

  • Kent State and Miami have now played 92 times since their first game in 1976. They have each won 46 games.
  • The Flashes committed 20 turnovers, second highest of the season. Miami had 15. But KSU outscored Miami off those turnovers 18-14.
  • Sophomore guard Hannah Young played a season-high 21 minutes after playing 20 minutes at Northern Illinois Wednesday. She made five-of-six fouls shots and had three rebounds.
  • Backup point guard Mariah Modkins played 18 minutes with three steals, two assists, three rebounds and a 3-point basket. She has played at least 14 minutes in the last four games after averaging just under six in KSU’s first nine games.
  • Miami made three 3-point baskets in their fourth-quarter rally, and KSU committed three turnovers.
  • The Redhawks made five-of-nine 3-pointers in the last quarter. Kent State made six of eight in the first half.
  • Attendance was 431.

The Flashes have their midweek bye this week and play Buffalo at the M.A.C. Center at 1 p.m. Saturday. KSU broadcaster David Wilson said guard Megan Carter was expected to play then. He didn’t attribute it to Starkey but rode the team bus and interviewed Starkey before the game.

Carter, the only senior in the starting lineup and KSU’s second-leading scorer, has missed three games with mononucleosis. She’s been on the bench in warm-up dress for those games.

Other MAC scores

Central Michigan remained the only unbeaten team in conference play with a win at Western Michigan. Toledo is in second place at 4-1. Kent State, Buffalo, Ohio, Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan are tied for third at 3-2.

  • Central Michigan (5-0, 12-4) 80, Western Michigan (3-2, 10-6) 70 at Western.
  • Buffalo (3-2, 12-4) 66, Eastern Michigan (3-2, 8-8) 63 at Buffalo.
  • Ohio (3-2, 10-6) 79, Ball State (3-2, 11-6) 71 at Ohio.
  • Toledo (4-1, 9-7) 79, Bowling Green (0-5, 7-10) 72 at Toledo.
  • Northern Illinois (1-4, 5-11) 70, Akron (1-4, 8-8) 65 at Akron.

MAC standings.

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