Seniors Megan Carter (foreground), Sidney Brinlee (to her left) and Ali Poole (to Brinlee’s left) ring the victory bell to celebrate Kent State’s 80-75 win over Miami. (Photo by Jeff Glidden from team Twitter feed.)
Megan Carter saved one of her best games for her Senior Day.
Carter had the first double-double of her five-year career with 21 points and 10 rebounds as she led Kent State to a 80-75 win over Miami at the M.A.C. Center Saturday.
The victory keeps the Flashes in a fourth-place tie in the MAC with four games to go in the regular season. Kent State, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan all have 8-6 records. Fourth place earns a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament next month.
“A heckuva game, a really gutsy performance,” coach Todd Starkey said of Carter, who has played sick the entire conference season. She missed three games with mononucleosis.
“She’s battling,” Starkey said. “I don’t think you can recover from mono full strength in midseason. She’s probably not going to fully recover until she has two or three weeks of rest.”
Carter says it doesn’t matter.
“I want to empty the tank,” she said, “for the team, for myself. I want to have no regrets.”
Carter also had five assists and two steals.
The Flashes had to overcome 10 missed free throws in the fourth quarter and saw Miami take its lead of the game — 75-74 — with 1:15 to go.
But Lindsay Thall drove strongly to the basket on the next possession and drew a fifth foul from Miami freshman Peyton Scott. She made both free throws.
Miami didn’t score again.
Its senior star, 5-3 guard Lauren Dickerson, certainly tried. Dickerson had already made two 3s in the fourth quarter and scored 12 points to lead the Miami comeback.
As Starkey shouted, “No 3s,” Dickerson was hounded by Carter. Dickerson got off a shot from behind the arc, but it was an air ball. 15 seconds later, when Kent had a 78-75 lede, she got another off under pressure from Hannah Young and missed again. Dickerson missed a third at the buzzer when KSU had its 80-75 lead.
“That’s always a tough guard,” Carter said. “She can drive, shoot the 3, pull-ups.”
On Dickerson’s last 3-point attempts:
“I just wanted to get into her vision,” Carter said. “She’s 5-3, a small guard — just get in her way.” (Carter is all of 5-7.)
The Flashes, Starkey said, had no answer for Dickerson.
“We tried a couple of different thing,” he said. “But when she’s feeling it, she’s as tough a guard as there is in the conference.”
It did take Dickerson 33 shots to get her 29 points. She made 11, including five of 14 three-pointers. She also had four assists and a steal.
For Kent State, it was Carter, Thall (20 points), Katie Shumate (18 points) and Asiah Dingle (12) doing the most damage on the scoreboard.
4:40 4Q | Kent State 69, Miami 60
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) February 22, 2020
Thall is best known as one of the conference’s top 3-point shooters, but 17 of her 20 points came on inside shots or fouls drawn inside.
“She’s starting to play in a lot of different areas than before,” Starkey said. “We’ve had to do that, especially with Nila out. It’s been nice to see her play some mid-range, she had a really nice finish at the basket for an ‘and one’ and had a couple of really nice dump-offs underneath, too.”
Thall has seemed more and more comfortable with the role.
“Having somebody on the inside helps our guards with spacing offensively,” she said. “We’ve gotten some good looks on the perimeter and inside.”
Miami chipped at at KSU’s 10-point lead as the Flashes missed its last two fouls shots of the third quarter and first six of the fourth quarter. Kent State would miss two of its next four before Thall sank the pair that gave her team the lead for the last time.
Even when they can barely walk, seniors start on Senior Day
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) February 22, 2020
Ali Poole shares a hug with coach Todd Starkey after playing the first eight seconds of the game.
Carter, Sidney Brinlee and Ali Poole all started for the Flashes.
Poole is just a few weeks off of ACL surgery. She was hampered by a knee injury suffered in summer practice for the first half of the season, then tore her ACL diving for a ball in January. She had started 48 — now 49 — games for Kent State, and the Flashes have missed her scoring, court presence and leadership.
In an obvious pre-arrangement with Miami, Brinlee jumped the opening tipoff against the 5-3 Dickerson. She tapped it to Carter, who walked the ball over to Poole, who was standing wearing her knee brace just in front of the KSU bench. Carter handed her the ball, and Poole handed it to Starkey, who stood out of bounds. Many fans stood and applauded.
Both Carter and Poole graduated in December, though they’re still taking classes. They became classmates when Carter was redshirted after she blew out her own ACL early in her freshman year.
“I feel for her,” Carter said. “I tell her to keep her head up. She’s going off to P.A. (physician’s assistant) school, and I’m proud of what she’s done and what she’s doing.”
“She’s been a big presence, a very big voice. And great jokes. She’s always the life of the party.”
Thall on Carter:
“She leads so great by example. Every game she plays really hard. We’re going to hate to let her go.”
They include Senior Day ceremony, opening tip sequence, key Kent State scoring and Dickerson’s missed 3 in final seconds.
— Kent State Athletics (@KentStAthletics) February 22, 2020
- Officials called a total of 53 fouls — 32 on Miami, 21 on Kent State. The Flashes shot 46 free throws — highest of the season by 10. They made only 28 of them. Miami was 19 of 23. Two Miami starters fouled out, and three other players had four fouls. “I don’t think either coach was happy,” Starkey said.
- Hannah Young had a career-high nine rebounds in a career-high 33 minutes. “She rebounds the ball like crazy in practice, and it’s showing up in games,” Carter said. Both teams had 41 rebounds.
- Kent State made 24 of its 61 shots for 39% but only four of 18 three-pointers (22%). Miami shot 37% from the field and 32% from 3-point distance.
- Attendance was 1,872, the third highest of the season. Last week’s doubleheader with Toledo drew 5,300, but only abut 2,500 stayed for the women’s game. Top attendance this season was 4,272 against Ohio State, which we think is the most in KSU history. Records from before 1990 are sketchy.
The Flashes stay at home to play Akron at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Zips upset second-place Ohio 79-76 at home Saturday and have won three in a row since losing to Kent State two weeks ago.
Other MAC scores
- Eastern Michigan (8-6, 13-12) 61, Ball State (10-4, 18-8) 58 at Eastern.
- Western Michigan (8-6, 15-10) 70, Toledo (6-8, 11-14) 58 at Toledo.
- Akron (6-8, 13-12) 79, Ohio (10-4, 17-8) 76 at Akron.
- Central Michigan (14-0, 21-4) 70, Northern Illinois (4-10, 8-17) 66 at NIU.
- Buffalo (5-9, 14-11) 62, Bowling Green (1-13, 8-18) 56 at BG.