While Kent State women’s basketball coach Danielle O’Banion was waiting her turn for her weekly basketball radio show following men’s basketball coach Rob Senderoff on Thursday, she contemplated walking up to the microphone and simply saying “ditto.”
“I was listening to Rob’s show and him talking about his guys needing to find some consistency in their play [following Wednesday’s disappointing 70-55 loss at Bowling Green] and thought I could just walk there and let them use Rob’s thoughts for my segment,” O’Banion said.
“We’re trying to play eight to 10 women in a game who will play the kind of up-tempo offense and defense we’re trying to establish. But in the process of trying to extend our bench, we’ve really struggled to find a core group of players who can take care of the basketball and score.”
The Flashes (2-16, 0-5 Mid-American Conference) are still seeking their first conference win after losing 64-45 Thursday night to Eastern Michigan (4-14, 2-3).
One big reason the Flashes have struggled to score is they have been unable to take care of the ball.
“The turnovers are a combination of things, but on Saturday [in a 59-44 loss at Ball State] it was frustrating to have 35 turnovers, including 20 in the first half,” O’Banion said. “When I went back and watched the film, I don’t think they pressed us but two possessions. So some of them are us being careless with the basketball and some of it is the fact that at times, we’re playing faster than we can handle.”
Senior guards Trisha Krewson (9.4 points per game) and Tamzin Barroilhet (10.4) have helped to provide the leadership the team needs. O’Banion said the most surprising help has come from two freshmen — guard Rachel Mendelsohn (4.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists) and center Heather Bachman (2.4 points, 3.7 rebounds).
“Coming into the season, I was determined we were going to play fast,” said O’Banion, in her first year at KSU. “But the young kids weren’t ready at that time and neither was the team as a whole. So we play fast in spurts when we can.”
One area in which the Flashes have excelled is at the free-throw line, ranking fourth in the conference at 74 percent.
“We need those freshmen to come along and be immovable in the paint,” O’Banion said. “That’s going to be a point of emphasis moving forward, getting to the line and making it count.
Senderoff had predicted his Golden Flashes would make a statement at Bowling Green after KSU’s tough 71-67 loss against the visiting University of Akron.
He just didn’t expect it to be a losing statement. The Flashes (11-8, 2-3) were blown out despite entering the game as the league’s top road team at 5-2.
“We had been playing well on the road,” Senderoff said. “But we didn’t play well in any way. We laid an egg in all aspects. We didn’t have any energy to start the game. In the first half we were awful. It was the worst half of basketball we’ve played in a while. Some may say it was a hangover, but that is an excuse. There are no excuses for the way we played.”
There’s no rest either. The Flashes play Ohio at the M.A.C. Center at 7 p.m. Saturday in the return of former coach Jim Christian.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.