An empty trip to California

Kent State went to Cal Poly Holiday tournament with a chance to even its record. Instead it lost two games to teams it might have beaten.

On Friday, the Flashes by 10 points lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christ, a team that was 0-3 against solid competition. It was a game where Kent State missed nine foul shots and 12 three-point shots. It committed 26 turnovers.

Saturday, the Flashes led Dartmouth by five points with 11 minutes to go but did absolutely nothing in the rest of the second half to lose by 11, 60-49. Dartmouth is picked to finish sixth in the Ivy League.

So Kent State comes home with a 1-5 record. a worse record than it had after six games last year.

Kent State’s shooting has been questionable for three years now, dating back to Bob Lindsay’s last year. It’s pretty simple: If the Flashes don’t shoot better for the rest of the year, they won’t start winning.

Through six games, the Flashes are shooting 37.9 percent from the field and 27.9 percent on three-point shots, both about the same as they did last year is a 7-23 season. Kent was 4 for 17 in three-pointers in California and made none of the four distance shots they took against Dartmouth.

Four shooting was just as bad — perhaps worse — in California. Kent was 4 of 13 against – nine misses in a nine-point game against Corpus Christi. The Flashes were 9 of 18 in their 11-point loss to Dartmouth. In both games, they missed one-and-one shots late in the game. For the year, Kent is shooting only 52.7 percent from the foul line and getting just 7.7 points a game there.

Coach Danny O’Banion talked mostly about in-the-paint scoring in her post-game interviews on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. With KSU’s relative lack of outside shooting, that’s where its scoring has to come from. She was not happy when Corpus Christi outscored Kent 32-28 in the paint. Kent outscored Dartmouth 30-14 there. But Dartmouth outrebounded the taller Flashes 43-36. “We left a lot of our paint points on the floor” when the Flashes couldn’t get offense rebounds, she said.

Corpus Christi outrebounded Kent 43-42.

Other notes from the weekend:

  • Kent State had 26 turnovers against  Corpus Christi, but only 13 against Dartmouth. Its full-court defense forced Dartmouth into 14 turnovers and Corpus Christi into 20. But both opponents still scored more points off turnovers than Kent State did.
  • As they did last year, the Flashes are showing major inconsistency on offense. Wing Larissa Lurken, Kent’s leading scorer, had 20 points against Belmont last week. She had five against Corpus Christi. Forward Montia Johnson, who has played her way back into the starting line-up, had 12 points and a career-best 17 rebounds against Corpus Christi. She had three points against Dartmouth. Guard Krista White had 9 points on 3 of 12 shooting against Corpus Christi and a career-high 20 on 7 of 12 against Dartmouth.
  • Cici Shannon blocked nine shots over the two games. She’s averaging three blocks a game this season.
  • Freshman guard Madison Ridout played 22 minutes — by far her most of the season — against Corpus Christi and scored seven points. She scored four points in eight minutes against Dartmouth. She hit three three-points over the two games, one more than Lurken, KSU’s best three-point shooter.
  • Freshman guard Naddiyah Cross played 28 minutes against Dartmouth; starting guard Mikell Chinn played 12. Against Corpus Christi, Cross played 11 minutes, Chinn 29. Over the weekend, Cross had seven assists and six turnovers. Chinn had 11 assists and eight turnovers. Neither guard is scoring; they combined for three points, all from Cross.
  • Freshman forward Jordan Korinek continues to struggle. After starting KSU’s first four games, she came off the bench in California to score a total of six points in 40 minutes. She had seven rebounds.
  • Kent next plays at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Duquesne, then plays at Cleveland State Sunday afternoon. After that, the Flashes are off for 10 days for exams before a home game against Arkansas State Dec. 17.
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