With the victory, Kent State tied its home-court

By Jeff Kurtz Record-Courier correspondent Published:

With the victory, Kent State tied its home-court winning streak record of 13 consecutive games, set previously between the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons; and snapped a two-game losing skid to the Penguins dating to the 1996-97 season.

The Golden Flashes improved their season record to 6-3 and gave coach Bob Lindsay his 170th career victory.

Despite playing shorthanded due to a recent rash of injuries, Lindsay's crew never trailed in the contest after racing out to a 21-6 lead to open the game and holding a 40-27 lead at intermission. The Flashes then ended any Penguin comeback hopes with a 19-3 spurt to start the second half.

"There were two young teams out there today," said Lindsay. "I thought both teams looked tired at some points, and any time you play a lot of freshmen you don't know what you are going to get."

"We gave them the first 11 points of the game," said veteran Youngstown State coach Ed DeGregorio. "We prepared all week against the press. We played against seven defenders in practice and were able to get the ball up the floor," he said, shaking his head. "They (Kent State) are a good basketball team and we are not a very good basketball team."

Led by Carrie Nance's five steals, the Golden Flashes harassed the Penguins into 30 turnovers and converted many of them into easy buckets.

"Carrie got into some open gaps and got some steals, particularly in the second half," said Lindsay.

Kent State held the Penguins' leading scorer, Lisa Rotunno, to just two points, nearly 15 below her 16.6 points-per-game average, and limited the Youngstown State frontcourt starters to just seven total points. The trio of Rotunno, Missy Young and Darbi O'Brien came into the game averaging just over 37 points per contest.

"We came into the game hoping to be able to defend inside and deny their post players the ball," said Lindsay.

The Flashes responded by stifling the entire Youngstown State offense, which shot just 36 percent for the game. Only guard Brianne Kenneally was able to generate any offense as she led the Penguins with 18 points _ 12 of which came in the first half.

"I was open a lot in the first half," said Kenneally, who was 4-of-7 in the first 20 minutes. "They really took away my outside shot in the second half and I didn't get as many good looks at the basket."

Kent State got solid production from its frontcourt, as starters Jamie Rubis and Julie Studer scored 14 points apiece and Jenny Kempf picked up 10 off the bench. Rubis also tied her career high with a team-leading seven rebounds.

Kent State's play in the post caught the Penguins off-guard, and DeGregorio was quick to point to it as a key factor in the outcome.

"The weakest part of Kent's game is their inside game," said DeGregorio. "Today we made them look like All-Americans in there. We didn't expect Studer to be that good and she, Rubis and Kempf pretty much had their way inside."

Kent State's ability to pound the ball inside and work the low post also resulted in 34 trips to the foul line, where the Flashes converted 29 free throws and shot a blistering 85.3 percent for the game.

Offensively, Nance led the Flashes with 15 points in just 22 minutes of play, while backcourt mate Dawn Zerman scored 13 to go along with a team-high four assists.

"I feel totally different this season," said Nance regarding her level of play. "I feel more confident and I know that defense is what triggers everything. Today, in the second half, I picked up my defense and got in people's faces more."

Kent State will be idle until Dec. 28, when the Flashes travel to the Seelbach Classic in Louisville, Ky. to face Nebraska in the opening game.

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