The surface story of Kent State’s 55-48 victory over Bowling Green Saturday was Cici Shannon’s amazing statistics — 16 points, 20 rebounds. She’s the first Kent State player since Tracy Lynn in 1992 to have 20 rebounds in a game.
The underlying story is a game plan executed to near-perfection.
In an interview on the Golden Flash Radio preview, assistant coach Geoff Lanier said that the Flashes expected Bowling to start five guards due to multiple injuries. Kent State’s strategy would be go pound the Falcons inside and pressure them with larger players outside.
Inside they pounded. 6-foot-4 Shannon was six of eight from the field. 6-2 forward Jordan Korinek was 6 of 10. The Flashes outscored BG 22-10 in the paint and Kent State shot a season-best 51 percent from the field (61 percent in the second half). (Take away Larissa Lurken’s third straight bad game — she was 2 of 11 from the floor — and Kent State made 22 of 36 shots.)
Bowling Green, on the other hand, shot just 31 percent, mostly from outside. It often took BG 10 seconds just to get the ball up the court and in a position to start their offense.
And when BG missed, it was usually one and done. Kent State outrebounded the Falcons, 39-29.
In short, it was a dominating performance — except at the foul line.
Kent State is not a very good foul shooting team, and it made just enough in the last minutes to keep the game from getting away. For the game, KSU was 6 of 14 from the line. For the season, it’s shooting just 56 percent.
But BG, which usually makes more foul shots than its opponent shoots, had just nine, making seven.
Coach Danny O’Banion said coaches challenged Shannon to guard smaller players on the perimeter without fouling and to handle two and three players collapsing on her inside.
Shannon responded with the best game of her career.
“Now we’re going to challenge her to get 25 Wednesday,” O’Banion said with a laugh after the game.
- Attendance was 736, highest of the year (not counting the doubleheader with the men, when KSU played Youngstown State). in her postgame show, BG coach Jennifer Roos called it a “tough environment.” She said players had trouble hearing play calls from each other and from the bench.
- Shannon also had three blocks and two assists in 37 minutes.
- Melanee Stubbs and Krista White each had eight points. White had five assists and ran the team from point guard during the last five minutes.
- Bowling Green, which has had major injury problems, played only eight players. But so did Kent State. Lanier said before the game that senior point guard Mikell Chinn, out since Thanksgiving with a concussion, would be available. But she didn’t play. Neither did senior forward Montia Johnson, who also has a head injury and has missed three straight games. Chinn had been KSU’s starting point guard before she was hurt. Johnson started most of last year and was KSU’s leading returning scorer. She still is Kent’s leading rebounder.
- The two senior starters on the floor — Shannon and BG’s Deborah Hoekstra — each played about 37 minutes. BG senior Jasmine Matthews played four minutes off the bench. BG junior Miriam Justinger played 40 minutes, KSU junior Stubbs played 20. KSU sophomores Lurken and White played a total of 36 minutes, and KSU freshmen played a total of 77. BG sophomore Rachel Konieczki played 28, redshirt freshman Kennedy Kirkpatrick played 14 and three true freshmen played 76 minutes. The point is that it wasn’t that KSU had a huge advantage in experience.
- KSU did have a big advantage in height. BG had no player taller than six feet.
- Kent State had 17 turnovers, leading to 16 Bowling points. BG had 14 turnovers, leading to 10 KSU points.
- KSU is now 3-11 overall, 1-2 in the conference. Bowling Green is 7-7, 0-3 in the MAC.
Other MAC scores from Saturday:
- Central Michigan (8-6, 3-0 MAC) 56, Northern Illinois (5-7, 1-1) 43, at Central Michigan.
- Akron (12-2, 2-1) 65, Eastern Michigan (7-6, 0-2) 48, at Akron.
- Ball State (7-7, 3-0) 54, Western Michigan (9-5, 2-1) 36, at Ball State.
- Ohio (11-3, 2-1) 65, Toledo (9-5, 2-1) 58, at Ohio.
- Buffalo (9-6, 1-2) 71, Miami (3-1, 0-3) 51, at Miami.