It was the game Miami had dreamed of since the conference season started.
For Kent State, it was a nightmare.
The last-place Redhawks dominated KSU Wednesday for their first conference victory. The score was 69-53. The two teams are now tied for last in the MAC East (and the MAC overall) with 1-10 records. For the season, Miami is 4-18, Kent 3-19.
For a Kent State team that had played well when losing to some of the conference’s best teams, the loss was very disappointing. The Flashes played well for the first five minutes and led 13-6. Then nothing went well.
The overall reason is pretty simple: Miami shot better and played better defense.
The Redhawks were last in the conference in field goal percentage going into the game at 36 percent. But they shot 49 percent Wednesday (62.5 percent in the second half). They also made 15 of 17 foul shots.
Kent State, on the other hand, made 35 percent of its shots, 5 percentage points below its season average. The Flashes made 11 of 19 foul shots.
In her postgame radio interview, coach Danny O’Banion said Ohio played several zone defenses that kept Kent State’s post players from getting comfortable and that KSU players passed up some good shots.
- This is one game you can’t blame on turnovers. Kent State had 13, leading to 12 Miami points. Miami had 12, leading to eight KSU points.
- Miami outrebounded Kent State 33-29. Cici Shannon’s string of double-digit rebounding games ended at eight. She had eight rebounds but played only 21 minutes and fouled out.
- Larissa Lurken led Kent State with 15 points on five three-pointers, four in the first half. She took only four shots in the second half.
- Jordan Korinek returned from a concussion to score eight points in 34 minutes, but she had only one rebound.
- Montia Johnson, who also had been sidelined with a concussion, also scored eight points in her 15 minutes. She had missed the first nine games of the conference season and played only two minutes in Saturday’s game. Johnson was KSU’s leading scorer last season, averaging about nine points a game.
- Melanee Stubbs, who had a 54 percent field goal percentage in conference play, made only 2 of 12 shots.
The Flashes are home again Saturday for a 2 p.m. game with Northern Illinois. The Huskies, who beat Kent State 66-49 Jan. 17, lost at home to MAC West leader Western Michigan Wednesday, 60-51. They had won four in a row before that game and are 10-11 overall, 6-5 in the MAC.
Other MAC scores from Wednesday:
- Ohio (19-3, 10-1 MAC) 71, Bowling Green (9-14, 2-10) 46, at Bowling Green.
- Ball State (12-10, 8-3) 72, Eastern Michigan (11-10, 4-6) 62, at Eastern Michigan.
- Akron (18-5, 8-4) 81, Buffalo (13-9, 6-5) 70, at Akron.
- Toledo 13-9, 6-5) 61, Central Michigan (11-11, 6-5) 46, at Central Michigan.