If an 18-point loss can be encouraging, Kent State’s 72-54 defeat by the Big Ten’s Northwestern was.
- Northwestern (3-0) had defeated its first two opponents by a combined 164-84. It beat Hampton, which has won five straight Mid Eastern Athletic Conference champions, by 26.
- Kent State outrebounded the Wildcats, one of the few teams Kent State will play this year that are taller, 46-36.
- The Flashes showed a scrambling full-court defense that gave Northwestern real problems at times. The Wildcats are an experienced team with all five starters back, including three players who have gotten some all-Big Ten honors at guard. “Our defensive pressure certainly made Northwestern uncomfortable,” Kent coach Danny O’Banion said in her post-game interview on Golden Flashes Radio “If we can make a team like that uncomfortable, we can do it to a lot of people.”
- Shooting guard Melanie Stubbs (10 points) and Krista White (8 points) showed scoring production in a position that’s going to need to score if Kent is going to win. O’Banion called them the “x-factor” in the team’s offense. They combined for 9 of 18 shooting. Stubbs had six rebounds, five of them offensive. They were all in the second half. White had four steals. Both played very hard.
- Freshman point guard Naddiyah Cross, who leads the team in assists, had five more. She actually played two more minutes than starting guard Mikell Chinn and had five points, including a three-pointer.
- Freshman guard Madison Ridout got her first college baskets with a two- and a three-pointer.
- Forward Montia Johnson haad eight points and nine rebounds in a very active 24 minutes. But like Tuesday’s game against Youngstown, she didn’t score in the second half.
Things that weren’t good:
- The Flashes, who shot only 32 percent against Youngstown State Tuesday, shot only 34 percent. Northwestern, though, had held Hampton to 14 percent.
- Starting center Cici Shannon and starting forward Jordan Korinek continue to struggle shooting. Shannon was 4 of 12 and missed a lot of close-in shots. Korinek was only 1 of 4. She had six rebounds but fouled out. She played only two minutes in the second half.
- Kent State had 21 turnovers and gave up 18 fast-break points.
- Kent State got only seven foul shots and made just two. Northwestern had 12 fouls, the Flashes 23.
- Guard Larissa Lurken, Kent’s best shooter, was 3 for 14 and missed all six of her three-point shots.
- Kent State was only 2 for 11 on three-pointers.
The Northwestern win was the 600th for coach Joe McKeown, who played for Kent State’s men’s team from 1976 to 1978 and captained the 1978 team. He’s been at Northwestern for six years and previously coached at George Washington and New Mexico
The Flashes next play Belmont at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The morning time is because Kent State’s football team was originally scheduled to play Akron Tuesday night.