Uupdated with extra O’Banion quote and OU score)
After four minutes of Kent State’s game with Western Michigan Saturday, the Flashes could have been good shape.
They led 3-2. Western’s best player, forward Miracle Woods, had picked up two fouls trying to guard KSU’s Cici Shannon in the post. Then Western’s leading rebounder, Michelle O’Brien, picked cup her second foul trying to guard Shannon.
And then things went very wrong.
WMU’s A.J. Johnson hit a three-point basket.
Kent State made four turnovers in the next four minutes.
But the score was still 5-3.
Then Meredith Shipman hit a three-pointer. 8-3.
By the time there was eight minutes to go in the half, it was 15-6, and the game was effectively over.
Western’s second string front line held Shannon, who was coming off three straight double-double, to zero points and just one just in the first half. The score 38-22 at halftime and grew to as many as 33 points in the second half.
The final score was 78-55. Kent is now 1-5 in the MAC, 3-14 overall. Western is 5-2 in the conference, 12-6 overall.
- In her postgame radio interview, coach Danny O’Banion said she thought the early turnovers were key. “We only attempted 19 shots and turned the ball over 12 times,” she said. “We can’t give away that many positions.”
- O’Banion said Kent State knew that Western — and everyone else — would collapse around Shannon, and KSU didn’t do a good job getting other people to score. She said she was happy that Larissa Lurken, who had been struggling badly, scored again.
- Lurken had 18 points on 4 of 10 shooting (3 of 7 three-pointers). She made 7 of 8 foul shots. She had scored only 15 points in the previous games combined and was shooting below 50 percent from the foul line going into the game.
- Overall for the game, Kent was 21 for 26 on foul shots (81 percent), its best performance of the year by far. It had made only 56 percent of its shots before the game.
- Shannon had 10 rebounds — her fourth straight game in double figures. But she didn’t score until there were nine minutes left in the game and finished with seven points.
- Shannon and Kent’s other post players had a total of only 14 points.
- Kent State had 23 turnovers, leading to 24 Bronco points.
- Western Michigan outscored Kent 34-18 in the paint, mostly on drives to the basket and breakaways. The Broncos had 20 fast-break points, which is a huge number. It’s rare for a team to have double digits.
- Kent State was outrebounded 35-26 despite the foul trouble for Western’s two leading rebounders.
- Four Broncos, including Woods ands O’Brien, scored in double figures.
The Flashes play at Central Michigan Wednesday. The Chippewas (9-8, 4-2), who are tied for the MAC West lead, lost to Akron Saturday in Mount Pleasant, 74-72. Akron (15-3, 5-2) is a game behind Ohio in the MAC East.
Other Saturday MAC scores:
- Ohio (15-3, 6-1) 60, Ball State (9-9, 5-2) 53, at Ball State.
- Bowling Green (9-9, 2-5) 66, Miami (3-15, 0-7) 53, at Bowling Green.
- Buffalo (10-8, 3-4) 47, Northern Illinois (6-10, 2-4) 43, at Buffalo.
- Eastern Michigan (10-7, 3-3) 75, Toledo (11-7, 4-3) 61, at Toledo.