Behind a season-high 40 points from the Eastern Michigan University bench, the women’s basketball team cruised to their largest victory this season, 64-45, Thursday night against the Kent State Golden Flashes at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio.
For EMU (4-14, 2-3 Mid-American Conference), freshman Bianca Cage played 23 minutes and scored nearly half of the bench’s 40 points, with 19 from 8-of-17 shooting to go along with 3-of-9 from three-point range.
“Bianca stepped on the floor and they played zone and she was our zone-buster tonight,” EMU head coach Tory Verdi said.
Junior Desyree Thomas finally had her breakout game of the season as she scored a season-high 12 points. She was 4-of-7 from the floor, to go along with 4-of-4 from the foul line and dished out four assists.
Junior Natachia Watkins continued her consistent play by scoring nine points on 4-of-9 shooting, to go along with 1-of-2 from the free-throw line and nine rebounds.
Junior Sara Stone rounded out the Eagles’ main scoring with eight points. She shot 4-of-5 from the floor, to go along with seven boards.
“We had a very balanced attack, and I will gladly take this any night,” Verdi said.
For Kent State (2-16, 0-5 MAC), sophomore Jamie Hutcheson led the way with 16 points, 6-of-13 and 4-of-8 from three-point range.
Senior Tamzin Barroilhet chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks to round out the Golden Flashes’ main scoring.
EMU made more free throws this game, with 11-of-16 (68.8 percent), than in their last game against Miami where the team only shot 5-of-17 (29.4 percent).
EMU managed to force 23 Kent State turnovers, which were turned into 28 points.
The Eagles outrebounded the Golden Flashes 38-29. The team’s field goal percentage also improved in this contest as the Eagles shot 46.3 percent (25-of-54).
“[The field goal improvement] was because our defense created offense and all of the sudden as a result you feel good making shots,” Verdi said. “It all starts with the work ethic and they put that in tonight.”
Unlike the last game, EMU came out of the gate scoring eight of the first 10 points.
With 9:00 left in the first half, the Eagles’ lead expanded to 21-8, led by Cage and Thomas who made timely shots and layups.
EMU’s dominant start forced Kent State to call a timeout with 8:55 left.
The Eagles continued their high level of play for the remainder of
the half and went into the locker room with their largest halftime lead of the season, 32-19.
EMU showed no mercy as they went on a 6-2 run to start the second half to go up 38-21, forcing Kent State to call another full timeout.
The Eagles made sure they were not going to let the game slip away from them on this night, with the lead growing to as many as 24 points at 64-40.
The Golden Flashes managed to score the last five points of the game, but it was a moot point as the Eagles’ hard work paid off once the final buzzer sounded.
“When you play hard, you put yourself in a position to win games and we did that tonight,” Verdi said.
Kent State’s 45 points is the lowest EMU’s defense has given up all
EMU’s 19-point win snaps a three-game losing streak.
The Eagles return home to the Convocation Center Jan. 27 for a cross-divisional showdown with the Bowling Green State University Falcons.
Game results were not available as of press time.
The Falcons are 12-6 and 3-2 in the MAC; they dropped a nail-biter to the Miami RedHawks 57-54 on Jan. 24.
Make sure you come out and support your EMU Eagles.