Flashes lose improbable game to 3-0 Minn, 85-73

The Flashes lost to Minnesota 85-73 but defied all sorts of odds in an exciting  and ultimately positive game.

Let’s play percentages (all are my opinion):

Chance Kent State would beat the Gophers, one of the better teams in the Big Ten: less than 5 percent.

Chance Minnesota, which won its first two games by an average of 35.5 points, would go ahead by 17 points in the first quarter: 55 percent.

Chance Kent State would then come back within a point at halftime: less than 2 percent.

Chance Kent State would then take an eight-point lead late in the third quarter: less than 5 percent.

Chance Minnesota’s preseason all-American, Rachel Banham, would have a great fourth quarter and make the difference: 60 percent.

Chance Kent State would shoot 3 for 27 on three-pointers: less than 10 percent.

Chance Kent State would force 20 turnovers against a Big Ten team with three experienced guards (while committing just 14): less than 15 percent.

All that happened — except, sadly, the victory — in what was, at times, one of the best games Kent State has played in years.

Minnesota, which was leading the nation in three-pointers per game, made six of eight in the first quarter as it took a 29-16 lead. The Gophers out rebounded Kent State 15-6. It looked like a rout.

Then the Flashes outplayed Minnesota just as badly in the second quarter. They held Minnesota to just six baskets and one three-pointer. They outrebounded the Gophers 13-6. They had eight second-chance points (Minnesota had two.) They forced seven turnovers and had four steals.

Kent outscored Minnesota 25-13 in the quarter, and the halftime score was 42-41.

“We showed great resolve when it was tough in the first half,” coach Danny O’Banion said in her postgame radio interview. “They figured out how to do what we knew we needed to do on defense.”

The Flashes took the lead on the first possession of the second half and led 56-48 with 1:46 to go in the period. They continued to play great defense — Minnesota made just 3 of 11 shots in the first eight minutes and had four more turnovers. At that point Kent State had allowed the Gophers just three foul shots for the entire game.

And then Minnesota ran off six straight points to finish the quarter and the first four points of the fourth quarter.

It was tied 70-70 with four minutes to go. Minnesota led 76-72 with 1:49 left.

But as Kent State had to foul to get the ball back, Banham made nine free throws.

Banham, a fifth-year senior who is the leading active career scorer in Division I, had 17 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter. She also had four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot in the quarter. She is now 31 points away from becoming Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer.

Notes:

  • Kent State is 1-3. Minnesota is 3-0.
  • Kent State made just 3 of 27 three-point shots (0 of 9 in the fourth quarter.) It had been shooting about 34 percent and shot about 31 percent last season. 27 is also far more three-pointers than Kent usually takes.
  • Junior Larissa Lurken, KSU’s best shooter, was 1 of 10 on three-pointers. Redshirt freshman Tyra James, who had been Kent’s leading scorer, was 0 for 6. Point guard Naddiyah Cross was 2 for 7. “There were a lot of good looks that rimmed out,” O’Banion said. Lurken did seem to be forced to shoot from longer range than usual.
  • Kent State has had a turnover margin of at least minus-five for the last four seasons. So far this season, it’s better than plus-two per game. It’s been more than plus-five in three of its four games. The Flashes had 12 steals; they were second in the MAC going into the game.
  • Freshman Alexa Golden had four steals, seven rebounds and seven points in 23 minutes. She leads the team in steals with 11 through four games, playing less than 20 minutes a game. “Alexa did what she came here to do — play great defense,” O’Banion said.
  • Sophomore forward Jordan Korinek had a career-high 22 points on 7 of 13 field goals and 8 of 9 foul shots. Lurken and Cross each had 13 points and junior college transfer Chelsi Watson 10. Those four also all scored in double figures against IPFW last week.
  • James had a rough second game in a row. She was 3 of 14 for six points. She did have six rebounds and two steals.
  • Kent State made 18 of 21 free throws.
  • The Flashes had 15 offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points. Korinek and Watson each had four offense rebounds and seven overall.
  • Freshman Megan Carter, one of Kent State’s top recruits, didn’t play. She was injured in the first half of the IPFW games, and it’s still  unclear how serious it is. It didn’t sound good after last week’s game.
  • Freshman Taylor Parker, who had been the No. 3 point guard (behind Cross and Carter), didn’t play. It wasn’t clear why. Walk-on freshman Paige Salisbury played point when Cross wasn’t in. She had an assist, a steal, a rebound and no turnovers in 13 minutes.
  • Sophomore forward McKenna Stephens, who’s still recovering from knee problems, didn’t play.

The Flashes host Division II Malone at 2 p.m. Saturday and play home games next Wednesday against Cleveland State and next Saturday against North Dakota State.

Full box score.

Link to video highlights, including O’Banion comments, along with the KSU website story on the game.

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3 comments

  1. goldenflash101

    The injuries are piling up. It seems every game we have one less player. I didn’t realize we were down to a 4th string point guard. No wonder she looked weak. Makes it even more mysterious as to why Cross came out for a minute or two in the last four minutes.

    I love the way the coaches use the HIPPA laws to their advantage. It’s frustrating to a fan not knowing the severity of most injuries. The ironic thing is if you just ask the player she usually tells you what the problem is.

    Like

  2. goldenflash101

    This is not related to last nights game but just to the program in general. I received my season tickets yesterday (they lost some of the tickets in the mail so I was using substitute tickets in November) and noticed the men’s tickets honored the history of the programs 100 years. The women’s tickets were all this years players (understandable since it’s nowhere near a 100 years). It got me thinking though how little the Lindsay players seem to support the program. They come back to get inducted to the hall of fame and that’s about the only time you see them. There has been no celebration of Kents first MAC regular season championship (either men or women) in 1996. How about a 20 Year celebration this season? They also have the only win in the NCAA beating Texas A&M that year. Then their was the 25 win team in either 2000 or 2002.

    I know the end of the Lindsay era was not pretty but that certainly was not the players fault. It just seems the school could celebrate some of their accomplishments. Who knows it might inspire the current team which seems to have some potential. I know almost all of the regular fans became fans because of those years. I’m sure all of us would like to see some recognition to those players and teams.

    Like

    • Carl Schierhorn

      O’Banion had Sherry, Bader, Zerman and Shearer all talk to the team — mostly by Skype, I think — in the off-season about the program’s tradition.

      Idea of the 20th anniversary is a good one.

      Like

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