Both Miami and Kent State are playing much better than their records at this point in the season.
But at Miami, it was the problem that has cost Kent State all season — actually for three seasons — that cost the Flashes in Miami’s 66-59 victory.
The Flashes — who have committed more turnovers than any team in the MAC — had 17 Saturday, leading to 19 Miami points. More than a dozen times this season, their opponents points off turnovers have been greater than their margin of victory. The Flashes had taken care of the ball in the last two games — forcing more turnovers than they made against both Akron and Bowling Green and scoring more points off them both games.
Miami is not a team that forces a lot of turnovers — just 14 a game in conference play. But the Redhawks have been playing well lately with three wins in a row and four out of their last six.
The win moves Miami past Kent State into 10th place in the MAC — fourth in the East — and practically guarantees the Redskins a higher seed in the MAC tournament because of their season sweep of the Flashes. Miami is now 4-12 in the conference (6-21 overall). Kent State is 3-13, 5-22 overall. Bowling Green is in last place at 2-14, 9-18 overall.
Kent coach Danny O’Banion acknowledged turnovers was the difference, but she said that Miami played more physically and got more foul shots — the other statistic that shows how the Redhawks won. Miami shot 21 free throws, making 17. Kent State was 7 of 11.
“Usually the more aggressive team gets the more class,” she said in her postgame radio interview. “Miami was the more physical team, and they got the free throws. “It was frustrating in the paint – around the rim. Miami was more physical, which can’t be on the road if we want to win.”
Miami — which didn’t have an offensive rebound in the first half — had 10 in the second and got 10 second chance points. Kent State had 13 offensive rebounds and led in rebounds overall, 36-32. Notes:
- Larissa Lurken led Kent State with a career-high 22 points on 8 of 17 shooting, including four three-pointers. Jordan Korinek had 11 on 5 of 8 shooting but got into foul trouble for the second straight game and played only 23 minutes. Cici Shannon had 11 points and 13 rebounds — her seventh double-double of the season.
- Both teams shot very well in the first half — 60 percent for Miami and 54 percent for Kent State — and not very well in the second — 25 percent for Miami, 32 percent for Kent.
- Miami blocked seven Kent State shots. Kent State blocked three.
- Miami’s Baleigh Reid, a candidate for freshman of the year honors, also had 22 points — 16 in the first half.
- Kent State jumped out to a 23-13 lead, making seven of its first nine shots.
- It was KSU’s fifth straight close game. Over those five, Kent State beat Northern Illinois by two, lost at Buffalo by two, won at Bowling Green by four, lost to Akron by won and lost at Miami by seven.
- Kent State’s three guards besides Lurken went 3 for 19.
- Guard Krista White missed her second-straight game with a foot injury. So for the second-straight game, Kent had only eight scholarship players in uniform.
The Flashes return home next week for the final two games of the season. On Wednesday, they’ll play league-leader Ohio23-4, 14-2 MAC) which beat Bowling Green 67-47 Saturday. They’ll finish their season next Saturday against Buffalo. Other Saturday MAC scores:
- Eastern Michigan (16-11, 9-7 MAC) 60, Northern Illinois (11-15, 7-9) 52, at Eastern.
- Western Michigan (17-10, 10-6) 51, Ball State (15-12, 11-5) 50, at Western.
- Buffalo (16-11, 9-6) 87, Akron (20-7 10-6), at Buffalo.
- Toledo, (17-10, 10-6) 62, Central Michigan( 12-15, 7-9) 53, at Toledo.