For a team that has been struggling on the road, Kent State looked like anything but in extending its home win streak to 35 games in a row. The Golden Flashes are now 4-5 on the season, with all four victories coming at home.
Boston College, whose losses were to highly-ranked teams like Tennessee, Purdue and Duke, dropped to 5-4.
"It was the most physical game we have played all year," said Boston College coach Cathy Inglese. "We knew this was a tough place to win. They did what they had to and I give them the credit."
The game was in doubt right down to the final seconds. With 1:38 left, Boston College had cut the lead to 70-68 on a jump shot by center Jamie Cournoyer in heavy traffic.
Kent State coach Bob Lindsay called a 20-second timeout with 36 seconds remaining in the game, setting up a play to center Julie Studer. Carrie Nance delivered the entry pass and Studer put in the shot, giving Kent State a four-point lead at 72-68. Kent State forward Liz Beggs grabbed a rebound on the ensuing play and time ran out on the Eagles.
"I told the kids we had to do three things to win this game," said Lindsay. "First, we had to defend better than we have been. Secondly, we had to execute our gameplan. And thirdly, we don't lose a game when we are close halfway through the second half."
Kent State did defend better. The Flashes made 14 steals and were only outrebounded 44-39. As far as the gameplan went, Kent State took 24 3-pointers and made nine. That forced Boston College to make changes and Studer was able to run rampant inside.
And with 10 minutes left, Kent State had a 55-53 lead and went on an 8-0 run to bust the game open. Trailing and forced to play harder, Boston College didn't have the stamina to stay with Kent State.
"We made the big plays to keep and extend our lead in the last 10 minutes," said Lindsay. "Studer had a great game finally, and Shibata came through with some big shots."
Kent State kept the game close in the first half by making 7-of-16 3-pointers. Every time the Eagles would get a five- or six-point advantage, Kent State made a trey. The Golden Flashes trailed 37-34 at halftime.
At the start of the second half Beggs made a jumper and Studer added layup. Kent State never looked back as the intensity of the game increased. The Flashes answered every run Boston College made.
Studer led the Flashes with 24 points and 10 rebounds, her first double-double of the season. Shibata added 12 points, including three 3-pointers, in 35 minutes.
"I got good shots in the second half," said Shibata.
Nance had a steady 11 points. Guard Morgan O'Hara provided 12 solid minutes when Lori Krezeczowski got in foul trouble and made a career-high six points. Lisa Wube pulled down six rebounds at forward, a career-high.
Amber Jacobs led the Eagles with 19 points. Cournoyer scored 12 and Rachel Byars added 11 points.
The Eagles were 13-of-21 from the foul line while Kent State was 17-of-22. Both teams had 20 turnovers.
"What we have to do now is put together a couple of wins on the road," said Lindsay. "Our teams have done that in the past just before Christmas and it carried over into conference play."
Kent State 72, Boston College 68
(At Kent State)
Blocked shots _ Boston College (3): Cournoyer 2, Byars 1. Kent State (2): Studer 1, Csaszar 1. Turnovers _ 20-20. Technical fouls _ none. Attendance _ 1,021.