No razzle-dazzle. No flare for the dramatic. Just a quick, painless, methodical beating.
And that's exactly what the Golden Flashes administered to the Thundering Herd at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center on Wednesday. Kent State unleashed its vaunted press on Marshall in the first half, forced 22 turnovers while grabbing a commanding 46-28 halftime lead, then coasted in the final 20 minutes to earn a rather routine 88-67 victory.
"We did what we had to do to win," said Flashes coach Bob Lindsay, whose squad increased its string of MAC home victories to 19. "We did a good job of attacking on defense with our press in the first half and got some deflections and steals, and we were able to convert some into points. In the second half we tried to rest some starters, because we have to leave for New Mexico (this morning) to play two tough games this weekend. And we let them get back in the game a little bit."
A little, but not much.
The Flashes (2-2, 1-0 MAC) opened up a 10-2 lead less than four minutes into the game after a layup by center Anne Chicorelli, and slowly pulled away as the first half progressed.
After Marshall's Cindy McCauley nailed a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 26-21, Kent State immediately answered with a 9-0 run to take control. Alana Bader ignited the rally with a driving layup, and freshman guard Carrie Nance added a 3-pointer and later tossed in a layup of her own to give the Flashes a 37-23 lead with 4:51 remaining in the first half.
Nance, playing in relief of starting point guard Dawn Zerman (foul trouble), gave Kent State 15 solid minutes in the first half. She finished with 6 points and was even more effective on defense (6 steals).
"Nance and (fellow freshman Lisa Beggs) are getting thrown into the fire early in the season, and that's good," said Lindsay. "Nance gave us some real good minutes. She didn't shoot particularly well (3-of-13), but she did a good job defensively."
Kent State led by as many as 23 in the second half, but could never completely shake the Thundering Herd (0-6, 0-2). Marshall cut the lead to 77-63 after two free throws by Keri Simmons with 4:18 to play, but Templin promptly answered with a 3-pointer. The Flashes' senior forward then added two free throws to put Kent State up 83-65 with 2:15 remaining, ending any microscopic bit of doubt that may have still existed.
The Flashes forced 36 turnovers overall and finished with 24 steals, led by Nance (8), Gwen Hurley (5) and Templin (5).
Marshall coach Juliene Simpson was pleased overall with her squad's performance, but simply didn't believe her squad could match the Flashes' physical style of play.
"We came to play and we were well prepared, but we ran into a group that's used to the physicalness allowed in the MAC, " said Simpson. "You work hard to prepare for it, but until you exactly experience it, it's tough to handle. Kent deserves a lot of credit for the tradition of non-stop offense and defense that they've built. And with the injuries we're dealing with now, we just didn't have enough horses to keep up the whole game."
Marshall managed just 40 field-goal attempts, but stayed in the neighborhood with free throws. The Thundering Herd was in the bonus for the vast majority of the game and made 27-of-42 charity tosses.
Templin drained 8-of-11 field goals and 3-of-4 3-pointers to finish with a game-high 24 points, and added 10 rebounds for the Flashes. Four teammates also finished in double figures: Chicorelli (13 points), Gwen Hurley (13), Ashley Bland (10 points, 6 assists) and Bader (10).
Kent State opens a six-game road trip Friday night, when the Flashes will take on Baylor in the first round of the Borden's Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.