Freshman guard Katie Shumate received the inbounds pass from redshirt senior guard Megan Carter. Shumate dribbled toward the basket, was double teamed and passed the ball to cutting freshman forward Nila Blackford who laid the ball in to send Kent State to double overtime.
“I’d like to say that’s the exact action we drew up," coach Todd Starkey said. "But we wanted to get the ball to Katie and for her to make a play there, she just made a great pass to Nila cutting on the backside, and good players make good plays.”
The Flashes (17-10, 10-6 Mid-American Conference) outscored Bowling Green (9-19, 2-14) 13-3 in the second overtime to solidify their 96-86 win on the road.
“I saw when I broke off the play that I wasn’t open off of that,” Shumate said on the Golden Flashes Radio post-game interview. “I posted up a little bit and then thankfully found Nila down low, and she finished it.”
Kent State did not start the game on a strong note on the offensive or defensive end. Bowling Green jumped up to a 17-point lead, holding Kent State to eight points and shooting 14.3 percent in the first quarter.
“I know we were down by a ton and we just kept chipping away and didn’t go away,” Starkey said on the Golden Flashes Radio post-game interview. “That really showed a lot of growth for us to be in a game like this and find a way to win.”
The Flashes bounced back quickly, shooting 64.3 percent in field goals and 100 percent from 3-point in the second quarter. They found themselves down 40-35 at halftime.
“We hit some shots, and our energy got back up,” Shumate said. “We started playing a little bit harder and more connected.”
Kent State carried the momentum it found into the third quarter and led by four going into the fourth.
The Falcons outscored the Flashes 21-17 in the fourth to send the game into overtime, and the first overtime would bring back and forth scoring from both teams to lead into the second overtime.
“Games like this are where you can really see growth and how they [the team] handle situations like this,” Starkey said.
Kent State had five players in double-digits: Shumate with a career-high 27 points, Carter with 21 points, sophomore forward Lindsey Thall and sophomore guard Asiah Dingle each with 15 points and sophomore guard Hannah Young with 12 points.
“I’m just really proud of Katie,” Starkey said. “For a freshman she really showed poise and has come a long way.”
Along with her 15 points, Thall grabbed 12 rebounds to achieve a double-double on the day. Carter had nine rebounds and seven assists to go with her 21 points and Dingle had six steals to go with her 15 points.
“She’s [Dingle] a heck of a ball defender,” Starkey said. “She came up with some really big plays, and we needed them in the open court. She made great plays defensively.”
Bowling Green’s redshirt junior guard Caterrion Thompson scored 32 points, setting a new Stroh Center record with eight made 3-point shots for the Falcons.
The Flashes’ win puts them in a tie for third place in the MAC with Ohio University (17-10, 10-6 MAC). The Bobcats lost to Buffalo (16-11, 7-9 MAC) at home Saturday.
“I’m excited for this young team and what they’ve put themselves in the position to do,” Starkey said. “Just because you’re in position to do it doesn’t mean you get to do it. We have to erase Bowling Green on our whiteboard back in the locker room and write up Ohio. We have to be focused on a very talented Ohio team.”
Kent State will close out its home schedule at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Ohio in Kent.
Kathryn Rajnicek is a sports reporter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.