Katie Shumate (14) led Flashes with career-high 27 points. Lindsey Thall (44) had a career-high 12 rebounds in 96-86 win over Bowling Green. (File photo by Liam Morrison from Stater/KentWired.)
Kent State’s women spotted Bowling Green a 19-point lead in the first quarter, then battled back to beat the Falcons 96-86 in double overtime Saturday.
The Flashes scored at the buzzer of the first overtime to tie the game, then scored the first 11 points in the second overtime.
The win ties Kent State for third place in the MAC with Ohio, which lost its third straight game, 63-62 to Buffalo. Kent plays the Bobcats Wednesday at the M.A.C. Center. Both teams are 10-6 with two games to go in the regular season. KSU is 17-10 overall.
Five KSU players scored at least 12 points, led by freshman guard Katie Shumate with a career-high 27. Megan Carter had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Lindsey Thall scored 15 and had a career-high 12 rebounds, along with three 3-point baskets and two blocks. Asiah Dingle also had 15 and six steals. Hannah Young had 12 with two 3-pointers and four rebounds.
“We got punched in the mouth in the first quarter and then kept chipping away,” coach Todd Starkey said in postgame media interviews. “We weren’t making anything early and weren’t getting any offensive rebounds.”
“I didn’t yell them at the end of the first quarter,” Starkey said. “I didn’t yell at them at halftime. I just said, ‘Listen. This is something you’re going to have to make a decision on. There’s no easy way out. You’re going to have to fight the rest of the way to even have a chance.'”
The key play of game came at the end of the first overtime. Kent State inbounded the ball in in front of its bench, trailing 83-81 with four seconds left. The pass went to Katie Shumate about seven feet from the basket. She turned to drive, then saw Nila Blackford alone under the basket. Blackford made the shot, her only basket of the game.
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) February 29, 2020
“I’d like to say that exact action was what we drew up,” Starkey said. “But we wanted to get the ball into Katie and let her to make a play. She just made a great pass, and — you know — good players make good plays down the stretch.”
Shumate said she broke off her first option.
“I wasn’t open,” she told KSU radio broadcaster David Wilson. “So I posted up. Nila came open down low, and it’s perfect timing.”
On Shumate’s way to 27 points, which were three above her previous high, she made eight of her 15 shots, three-of-five 3-point attempts and eight-of-eight free throws. She had three assists and six rebounds in 45 minutes on the court.
Carter came close to her second straight double-double with 21 points and nine rebounds. She also had a career-high seven assists.
Dingle’s six steals match her career high. She set the tone for the second overtime when she stole the ball on Bowling Green’s first possession and drove the length of the court for a layup. “Those steals were huge,” Starkey said.
Thall’s 12 rebounds were three more than her previous high and eight above her season average. She also had three steals.
The six periods — counting the two overtimes — were almost like six different games.
First quarter: A truly ghastly start
Bowling Green made its first three shots and two free throws to take a 9-0 lead. It got as bad as 23-4 as BG made nine of 15 shots and three-of-four 3-pointers, all by Caterrion Thompson. Kent State struggled to three-of 21 shooting and missed all five of its 3-point attempts. It was 25-8 at the end of the quarter.
“You hate to start a game like that,” Shumate said. “We just had to move on and play the next play and not think about what just happened and just chip away, stick together as a team, not let us get down.”
Second quarter: Flipping the script
The Falcons pushed their lead back up to 33-14 with six minutes to go in the first half, but then Kent State found its game. The Flashes went on a 10-0 run and finished by outscoring BG 11-7. The Flashes made nine-of-14 shots and five-of-10 three-pointers. In the second quarter, Shumate had 12 points, Young eight and Carter seven. Halftime: 39-35.
“I think we just hit some shots,” Shumate said. “And our energy got back up, and we started playing harder and more connected.”
Third quarter: Taking the lead
Bowling Green scored the first four points to push its lead to nine. But two minutes later, Thall hit a 3, then hit another 3 a minute later. A minute after that, Carter hit a jumper to give KSU its first lead, 50-49. Thall then hit another 3 and Kent State led 55-51 at the end of the quarter. The Flashes made eight-of-15 shots and four-of-eight 3-pointers. Thall scored 12 points.
Fourth quarter: Down to the wire
The Falcons took the lead back at 60-59 with 5:28 to go, the Kent scored and the teams were within four points for the rest of the quarter. Kadie Hempfling had a jumper with 14 seconds to go to tie the game. Carter missed a jumper with a second to go. 72-72.
Overtime 1: Looking bleak
The teams were within two points of each other the entire quarter. Morgan McMillen hit one foul shot with four seconds to play but missed the second. KSU called timeout, advanced the ball to the front court, and Shumate and Blackford did their thing to extend the game another five minutes 83-83.
Overtime 2: All Kent State
After Carter started things with her steal and score, Kent State ran off nine points more in a row. Bowling Green turned the ball over four times and missed six of its seven shots in the quarter.
Welcome to March
“I’m excited for this young team and what they’ve put themselves in position to do,” Starkey said. “So now we have to erase Bowling Green on our whiteboard and write it Ohio and but focused on a very talented Ohio team.
“It’s the last day of February. Now it’s March madness, and we’ve ushered it in.”