It couldn't have been an uglier first half for the Kent State women's basketball team (20-9) in their MAC quarterfinal game on Wednesday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland against Central Michigan.
After losing first team All-MAC performer Jamilah Humes with two fouls at the 14:09 mark of the first half, the Flashes bumbled and stumbled their way to 17 first half turnovers and 21-percent shooting on 6/28 field goals. The sloppy first half led to a 21-28 deficit at halftime.
With Humes able to play the entire second half, Kent State turned it around. Humes finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists, with 22 of those points coming in the second half. Kent State also poured in five three pointers in the second half to break the game open. Humes got the message delivered at halftime by the Kent State coaching staff. The Flashes recovered to shoot 61-percent in the second half.
"Really we weren't playing with character is the message I got out of it," she said. "We needed to hear that to light a fire under us. We just all knew that if we didn't step up in the second half, we would be going home."
"We played very poorly in the first half and I thought we frankly played without energy in the first half," KSU coach Bob Lindsay said. "I thought the second half we played great defensively with entirely different energy. I thought we went to the offensive boards with a lot of energy in the second half and that was the difference in the game."
Yoshica Spears had 12 points, nine rebounds and six steals while Taisja Jones chipped in with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Golden Flashes advance to Friday's semifinal against Toledo in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports Ohio. The Rockets beat defending tournament champion Ball State 67-56 in the first game of the day.