Megan Carter drives for two of her 20 points against Ball State Wednesday. (Photo by Nick Cammett from KSU Twitter feed.)
Megan Carter was playing just her second game after missing time with mononucleosis, but she came through when the Flashes needed her on Wednesday.
Carter scored 20 points, ran the offense much of the time in the absence of Asiah Dingle, and made a layup layup off a broken play with 10 seconds to go that led to the Flashes 69-68 win over Ball State.
Carter’s basket gave Kent State a 3-point lead, and its defense kept Ball State off the 3-point line in the last 10 seconds. The Cardinals got only a meaningless layup in the last second.
The win over second-place Ball State moves Kent State to 4-3 and a three-way time for fifth in the MAC. The Flashes are 11-7 overall. Ball State is 5-3 and in a second-place tie in the league and 13-7 overall.
In that last minute, Carter had the ball to the left of the basket when she lost control of the dribble. The ball headed toward the out-of-bounds line, but Carter beat her defender to it. With the shot clocking running out, she drove to the basket and hooked in a layup from a two feet away.
10.8 4Q | Kent State 69, Ball State 66
Another basket by Carter gives her 20 puts and puts the Flashes ahead by 3. pic.twitter.com/hNJAQLHGmU
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 30, 2020
“I saw the sideline and the out of bounds and tipped it to myself,” Carter said. “I spun around her and went to the basket and laid it in.”
When she saw the ball get away, she said she told herself, “I’m not giving up on the play.”
Carter was clearly getting through much of the second half on determination.
“I was definitely tired, but I didn’t really care,” she said. “I was just trying to hold up as much as I can for the team.”
Coach Todd Starkey said he was as proud of Carter’s game as any she’s played, and the redshirt senior has scored more than 1,000 points for him and hit three previous game-winning baskets.
“With everything she’s been through season, she comes out and battles — tired, fatigued, trying to get her breath,” the coach said. “And she comes way with 20 points and seven drawn fouls against the best defensive team in the conference.”
Carter played almost 36 minutes. With Dingle out, sophomore Mariah Modkins started. She and Carter shared playmaking duties, but Carter played 16 minutes more.
The first thing Starkey said in his post-game meeting with reporters was that he was not going to answer questions about Dingle, who is the Flashes’ second-leading scorer. Dingle was not on the bench, but she was in the gym wearing a protective boot on one foot. That doesn’t necessarily mean a major injury. Players often wear the boot between games if they’re nursing a minor injury.
The game was a big win for the Flashes, who lost at Ball State 66-62 in the conference opener. They also were coming off a disappointing 57-44 loss to Buffalo at home on Saturday when they shot just 24% from the field.
Wednesday they shot 46%, their second best performance of the conference season.
Katie Shumate provided 13 points in the first half, Nila Blackford 12 in the second half and Lindsey Thall hit three 3-point baskets.
“We wanted Katie to be more aggressive,” Starkey said. “She’d been playing way too passive for her ability. So we tried to run some stuff for her early to get her into a rhythm and get her aggressive.
“We knew they’d have a good game plan for Nila because she had 23 and 9 (points and rebounds) at their place.”
Blackford had only two points and two rebounds at halftime. She finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Shumate had 15 points, nine rebounds, a career-high five assists, a block and a steal.
“Katie’s a beast on the boards in games and in practice,” Carter said “That’s her thing, just a knack for the ball.”
2:17 3Q | Ball State 53, Kent State 49
Katie Shumate to Lindsey Thall for a 3-pointer in transition. pic.twitter.com/93kff9H9Z1
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 30, 2020
Kent State jumped out to a 19-10 first-quarter lead, then saw Ball State drive to the basket almost at will in the second quarter and shoot 68%. The Cardinals outscored KSU 30-14 and led by as many as eight in the third quarter. But Kent State chipped the lead to one at the end of the third quarter, took a one-point lead with 7:40 to go.
Neither team led by more than three in the fourth quarter.
Beating Ball State (finally)
The loss broke Kent’s four-game losing streak to Ball State. It was the first time Starkey has beaten the Cardinals and the first time Carter had played in a winning game against them.
“We beat Ball State my freshman year, but I was out with my ACL,” Carter said. “So it was very big.”
Starkey now has beaten every team in the MAC except Central Michigan, which won the conference his first three years at Kent State.
“It’s in the back of my mind,” Starkey said. “But it’s more about splitting with a really good Ball State team this year.”
Kent is 13-2 against Ball State in Kent since 1997. They are 0-13 in Muncie in that time.
- For the second time this season, Ball State star Oshlynn Brown struggled against the Flashes. Brown, a preseason all-MAC West pick, had five points the first time the Flashes played Ball State. This time she had 15 but only four rebounds. (She averages nine, second in the conference.) Wednesday she missed eight foul shots shots, five in the fourth quarter.
- Kent State outscored Ball State 16-9 off turnovers, more than the margin of the game. Ball State had 14 turnovers, KSU 12.
- Ball State had outrebounded Kent State 33-19 through three quarters, but the Flashes had a 10-7 advantage in the last 10 minutes.
- Hannah Young played a career-high 26 minutes off the bench. She had a basket, a rebound and a steal.
The Flashes next travel to Toledo for a 2 p.m. Saturday game. Toledo lost (4-3, 9-9) at home to Eastern Michigan Wednesday 77-62. Eastern is 4-3, 10-9.
— Kent State Athletics (@KentStAthletics) January 30, 2020
Even more video is on the team Twitter feed.
Other MAC scores
Central Michigan won its fifth road game of the conference season, beating Buffalo 98-93 in double overtime. The Chippewas are 8-0 in the MAC and 15-4. Every other team has lost at least twice. Buffalo is 4-4 in the league, 13-6 overall.
Ohio (6-2, 13-6) 70, Akron (2-6, 9-10) 57 at Ohio.
The Western Michigan at Miami game was postponed at Western Michigan’s request because of two suspected cases of Coronovirus at Miami. The university remained open and operating normally.