It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a game like Kent State’s 75-54 victory over North Dakota State Saturday.
The Flashes have won only one other game by more than 20 points in coach Danny O’Banion’s four years here (69-46 over Niagara in 2013).
They had 20 steals and forced 34 turnovers, the most in at least three years. (Game-by-game records before that aren’t easily accessible.)
It’s the most steals and turnovers by any MAC team this season. KSU already led the MAC in steals per game.
Jordan Korinek’s 27 points were the second-high by an individual in the O’Banion era. (Korinek scored 28 last week against Division II Malone.)
“We had really talked a lot about re-establishing our identity” after a disappointing loss to Cleveland State on Wednesday, O’Banion said in her postgame radio interview. “We made a concerted effort to be in position on defense and not trying to force plays.”
Junior Larissa Lurken and redshirt freshman Tyra James each had four steals and 15 points. Freshman Alexa Golden and sophomores Naddiyah Cross and McKenna Stephens each had three steals.
The game turned in an eight-minute span at the start of the second quarter when the Flashes forced the pace, forced turnovers and forced fouls.
Kent State had fought back from eight points down to lead 17-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Then in the second quarter, the Flashes had five steals in 57 seconds on their way to a 37-24 lead. Lurken made six straight free throws in that stretch, and the Flashes had assists on six of seven baskets in the second quarter.
“This team is special because they play so hard and play so hard for each other,” O’Banion said.
All in all, the coach said, “it was a fun night to be a Golden Flash.”
- KSU’s record is 3-4. North Dakota State drops to 2-5.
- The game was called “Victor Day” in honor of people who have fought cancer and their families. Guest coach was Bonnie Beachy, KSU’s all-time leading scorer (men and women). Beachy is a cancer survivor, as is O’Banion, who fought lymphoma through last season. The name of the day came from Beachy, who describes herself as a cancer victor, not a victim.
- KSU made its first starting line-up change of the season. Golden and Stephens started in place of Cross and Chelsi Watson. Other starters were Lurken, Korinek and James. Cross still played 30 minutes and had one of her best games with 10 points, eight assists, three turnovers and three steals.
- Stephens, who had missed the first five games of the season with a knee injury, had four points, three rebounds and three steals in 17 minutes.
- Kent State had a season-high 20 assists on 31 baskets. James and Golden each had four assists.
- KSU’s 47 percent shooting was third highest of the season and its 31 baskets were the most of the year.
- The Flashes outscored North Dakota State 50-32 in the paint, 36-14 off turnovers and 16-11 on second-chance points.
- The Bison outrebounded KSU, 42-26.
Kent State goes on the road next week for games at Bradley Tuesday and at Youngstown State Saturday.
Kentstatesports.com story, including video highlights and O’Banion interview.