More unfortunately, they ran into Kent State on

By Don Dreger Record-Courier assistant sports edit Published:

More unfortunately, they ran into Kent State on Saturday afternoon, whose women's basketball team is off to a 6-1 start this season.

The results was as predicted, Kent State by a lot. In fact, 83-45 to be precise.

"Kent State's pressure is very good," said Monmouth coach Susan DeKalb, whose Hawks dropped to 2-2. "It is phenomenal. It caused us a lot of frustration, especially in the second half."

DeKalb was asked to compare basketball in the east to the midwest.

"It is a lot different," said DeKalb. "Here the players cut a lot harder, spread the floor and are very physical. We play a tighter game in the east and rely on post play."

As one-sided as the score appears, it's even more impressive considering the fact that Kent State was missing several key performers.

Three players sat out the game for various reasons: sophomore center Julie Studer has an injured foot, sidelining her for two weeks; junior guard Alison Drews has a bad thigh; and sophomore forward Laura Gehrke sat out the game for disciplinary reasons.

It was also a good time for Kent coach Bob Lindsay to find out just what he had on the bench. And he found out in a hurry because starters Alana Bader and Dawn Zerman picked up two fouls each in the early minutes.

"We needed to play the entire bench," said Lindsay. "We found that the kids could maintain a lead and make the plays to keep us in the game.

"We are a young team and we need to find out these things. It was a good game for us. The kids stepped up. It is going to be important down the road. To have high expectations so early is premature. The young kids are just learning. Once they figure this game out, they will be an asset."

Actually Lindsay's reserves turned in a very credible performance.

Senior Maureen Zolik played 26 minutes at point guard, well above her normal 10 minutes. She produced seven assists, doubling her season total. More importantly, she started the called plays properly.

"Zolik did a decent job running the team," said Lindsay. "Carrie Nance also did a good job at the point."

Nance led the team with 18 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 effort from the foul line. Her slashing style, both on offense and defense, kept the Hawks off balanced all afternoon. She had five steals and tipped several more passes.

Kent led by 10 points at halftime, 35-25. There were many missed opportunities, especially on the boards.

But the second half was a different tale, with Kent outrebounding Monmouth 22-12. Sophomore Liz Beggs was the story. She was not going to be denied in the post.

"Beggs did a better job in the second half," said Lindsay. "It was a big contrast to the first half. She came out with a fire in her. She was much more physical."

Two freshmen stepped up and were counted. Jamie Rubis had a season-high 17 points, while Kristen Buelow hit the boards and played tough defense.

"Rubis is just figuring out what it is like to play basketball at this level," said Lindsay. "Every play is important. She is helping us now and will be better. Buelow didn't have the stats, but was fundamentally solid."

Kent's pressure held Monmouth to 32 percent shooting (14-of-44), while the Flashes shot 48 percent (27-of-57). The Hawks will be relieved to see Cleveland State on Sunday.

Kent returns to action in Iowa, playing the Hawkeyes on December 4 in a two-day tournament.

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