Weak 2nd-half offense, 26-6 Toledo edge on free throws send KSU to 69-60 loss

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Kent State’s Katie Shumate defends against Toledo’s Arianne Wheeler. Shumate was wearing No. 21 instead of her usual No. 14. Wheeler led Toledo with a season-high 12 rebounds. (Photo from Toledo Twitter feed.)

Kent State’s women were ahead as the second half began in Toledo Saturday, but somehow it didn’t seem that way.

The Flashes came out sluggish and never found any offense in the second half. They fell to the Rockets 69-60 and dropped to 4-4 in the MAC, 11-8 overall.

“We played like we were down when we were up by three,” senior guard Megan Carter said. “We just came out flat and disconnected, and they took advantage.”

The Flashes were outscored 22-11 in the third quarter and made only 10 of 31 shots in the second half.

The win moves Toledo past Kent State into fourth place in the league at 5-3, 10-9 overall. The Flashes are tied for sixth.

“They obviously came out of the locker room at halftime with more fight and toughness than us,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I thought we were in a good spot mentally coming out second half. We took our foot off the gas just a little bit and that’s all Toledo needed to feel like they were going to win the game.”

The slowdown really started two minutes before halftime. The Flashes had pushed their lead to 31-24 on a 3-point basket by Mariah Modkins.

But Toledo hit two foul shots with 40 seconds to go, and Rocket guard Mariella Santucci scored on a fast break at the buzzer.

Toledo took the lead at the start of the second half, but it was still a one-point game with four minutes to go in the third quarter. But over those last four minutes, Toledo made six foul shots and hit another shot at the buzzer, this one a 3-point basket.

That made the score 50-42, and Kent never challenged after that.

Mentally tough teams overcome that type of thing and are able to fight back,” Starkey said. “I don’t think we handled that one at the end of the third quarter the way we should have. We looked down coming over to the bench.”

Foul shots were another big reason for the loss.

Toledo outscored Kent State 26-6 at the foul line, the biggest margin in Starkey’s four years at Kent State. The next biggest was 15, the next one below that 10. The Flashes have made more free throws than their opponents in 80 of 120 games Starkey has coached.

“It’s something we work on,“he said, carefully not criticizing the officiating. “It’s a discipline thing.”

All those foul shots also allowed Toledo time to set up a loose press through the second half. It didn’t force turnovers, but it delayed the Flashes as they moved the ball up the court.

“They were able to set up and slow us down,” Starkey said. “They really controlled the tempo of the game that way. It took us out of our rhythm.”

Box score

The lineup shuffle

Sophomore point guard Asiah Dingle missed her second straight game. In this pregame radio interview with David Wilson on Golden Flash iHeart Radio, Starkey called it “short-term suspension” and said he expected her back Monday. In his postgame interview, he sounded a little less certain about the date of her return. Dingle is KSU’s second-leading scorer.

Modkins started in Dingle’s place, hit two 3-pointer baskets and scored eight points in 34 minutes.

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Carter came off the bench in her third game back from mononucleosis. She played 34 minutes and scored 12 points,

Freshman Katie Shumate didn’t start for only the second time this season. Some kind of mixup with her jersey had her wearing No. 21 instead of her usual No. 14. She didn’t play the first four minutes and only scored two points in the first half. She finished with 13 and three 3-pointers.

“Katie’s a player who has to be aggressive from start to finish, and she was a little passive early,” Starkey said.

Hannah Young made the second start of her career but didn’t score in 15 minutes. Clare Kelly also started; she had two points in five minutes.

Notes

  • Kent State had 16-4 advantage in points off turnovers, but it was only 4-2 in the second half. The Flashes had only seven turnovers for the game, a season low. Toledo had 17.
  • Nila Blackford led Kent State with 14 points and nine rebounds. She played just 25 minutes because of foul trouble.
  • Lindsey Thall had nine points on four inside baskets, the most from close range I can remember. She didn’t have a 3-point basket for only the second time of the season and the sixth time of her 66-game career.
  • Toledo outrebounded Kent State 42-24, but because the Rocketrs were spending most of the afternoon shooting foul shots, KSU didn’t have a chance for many rebounds. Toledo made only 19 baskets; Kent State had 24.
  • Nakiah Black led Toledo with 22 points. Mariella Santucci had 20 .

Kent State returns to the M.A.C. Center on Wednesday to play last-place Bowling Green.

The view from Toledo

Coach Tricia Cullop, quoted in the Toledo Blade:

“In games past we’ve had good minutes, and then we labored in the fourth quarter. I thought today we stayed really focused.

“We made our free throws and executed offensively better than we have been doing,  and we got stops – all those little things you need to do to win. I’m really proud of this group, and (Kent State) is a really good team.”

“This is kind of that divisive time in the league where there is kind of a logjam in the middle. Any separation we can get will help when we get the pairings later on. You have to try to take care of your home court. That’s why that last one (a Wednesday home loss to Eastern Michigan) stung so bad, and that’s also why this one felt so good.”

Other MAC scores

Central Michigan finished a sweep of the first-half of the MAC schedule with its second-straight overtime victory. The Chippewas beat second-place Ohio 92-90 in Mt. Pleasant.

CMU is 9-0 in the MAC, 16-4 overall. Central has beaten Ohio twice — by a total of three points. On Wednesday Central won in overtime at Buffalo 98-93. Ohio is 6-3 in the MAC, tied for second overall and first in the East Division. Overall the Bobcats are 13-7.

  • Northern Illinois (2-6 MAC, 6-12) 64, Buffalo (4-5, 13-7) 63 at NIU.
  • Akron (3-6, 109-10) 88, Eastern Michigan (5-4, 10-10) 81 in overtime at Akron.
  • Ball State (6-3, 14-7) 68, Western Michigan (4-4, 11-8) 65 at Ball State.
  • Miami (2-6, 9-11) 80, Bowling Green (1-7, 8-12) 59 at BG.

MAC standings.

One comment

  1. goldenflash101

    We do seem to get pushed around a lot. Thall and Blackford at 6’2” should be big enough for this league but neither is a strong rebounder. If Shumate didn’t have a nose for the ball we would be in big trouble. Blackford has to stop being blocked so much. That’s a real downer and it happens a lot. This team has some talent but it also has some glaring weaknesses. The bad 3rd quarters and the lack of long term improvement in specific areas tends to point at coaching. Lets see if the can turn it around in the second half of the MAC season.

    Like

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