As the lone two seniors on the Kent State women's basketball team's roster, Merissa Barber-Smith and Alexa Golden weren't lacking motivation heading into the late stages of Wednesday night's Mid-American Conference battle against Akron.

The two made plays big, small and everywhere in between down the stretch to lift the Golden Flashes over the Zips 65-55 in overtime at Rhodes Arena. They anchored a stifling defense that blanked Akron for the first four minutes of the extra session while the Flashes seized control to secure of sweep of the regular-season series with their backyard rival.

Barber-Smith grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds to go with nine points and three blocked shots. Golden piled up eight boards, four assists and four steals while shadowing Zips leading scorer Megan Sefcik, who shot 4-of-13 from the field.

“Our two seniors were huge,” KSU coach Todd Starkey said. “[Golden] played 45 minutes chasing Sefcik around the court, made just about every shot really tough for her, and came up with two really big defensive rebounds at the end.

"[Barber-Smith] turned the game for us. She cleaned up all the loose change. She also scored in the post a little bit, which we needed.”

Junior guard Megan Carter led Kent State (17-11, 10-7) with 19 points, and was joined in double figures by freshman forward Lindsey Thall (13 points, two blocks), freshman point guard Asiah Dingle (12 points) and junior guard Ali Poole (10 points).

The Flashes have experienced their fair share of frustration on offense this season, but their defense has been rock-solid. Kent State shot just 29 percent in the first half, but was tied with Akron at 22 through two quarters.

Neither team led by more than three points in the second half until a Carter jumper gave the Flashes a 47-42 lead with 6:49 remaining in regulation. The Zips (16-12, 7-10) responded with six consecutive points, and took the lead on a 3-pointer by Sefcik.

Dingle's layup put Kent State back on top, then a Golden offensive board led to a Thall layup that gave the Flashes a 51-48 edge with 17 seconds to play.

UA junior guard Shaunay Edmonds drove on Dingle and drew a foul while flipping in a layup, and completed the three-point play to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, Golden fed Barber-Smith for a layup for the first points, and Barber-Smith added a free throw after grabbing her sixth offensive board to put Kent State up 56-51.

Dingle fed Thall for a corner 3-pointer that pushed the lead to nine, and Kent State wound up scoring the first 11 points of the overtime to put it away. The Zips managed just one field goal in the overtime, a meaningless layup with 13 seconds left.

Sefcik led Akron with 14 points, while junior forward Haliegh Reinoehl grabbed 20 rebounds to go along with eight points.