The first thing coach Danny O’Banion said in her postgame radio interview after the Flashes’ 91-61 loss to Youngstown State summed up the game well:
“A very disappointing performance in almost every facet,” she said.
KSU fell behind quickly through a barrage of three-point shots. The game never was close.
Youngstown State made 51 percent of its field goals, 42 percent of its three-point shots and 93 percent of its free throws. It outrebounded KSU 44-30 and had an astounding 29 assists on 31 baskets. The Penguins blocked eight Kent State shots.
KSU best statistic was 27 points off 19 Youngstown turnovers.
It was by far the worst defeat of the season for the Flashes; their biggest loss had been by 18 to Indiana Purdue at Fort Wayne. The last time KSU lost by 30 was a 94-63 defeat to Duquesne in 2013.
The Flashes are 3-6. Youngstown State is 7-1.
About the only bright spot was the play of freshman reserve point guard Taylor Parker, who scored seven points and had four assists in 15 minutes. The points and assists were more than she had in her other six appearances combined.
“I think it showed how she can positively impact the game with her quickness,” O’Banion said. Parker is the fastest player on the team.
Larissa Lurken led the Flashes with 15 points, 13 in the second half, and had four steals.
Leading scorer Jordan Korinek struggled against a good defense for the second game in a row. She had 10 points on 3 of 7 shooting in just 21 minutes. She had three fouls in the first half.
Redshirt freshman Tyra James, who also had three first-half fouls, continued to struggle shooting. She was 3 of 12 Saturday and averages 32.2 percent from the field this season. One of James’ roles is the force the action, and she’s taken the most shots on the team this season with 118. (Korinek has 105 and Lurken 104.)
“Larissa continues to play like our more experienced player should,” O’Banion said. “But she needs help from Jordan and Tyra.”
Youngstown moved the ball well and quickly against Kent State’s zone defense and repeatedly got open three-point shots. The Penguins’ first 11 shots were three-pointers. They made six and led 21-9 after the first quarter.
Kent State has a 10-day break for final exams before it plays Brown at home on Dec. 22.
“We need the time to get back to the gym and make some adjustments, especially on defense,” said O’Banion, who several times took personal blame for the defeat. “We need time to get back our identify. I’m grateful for exam week.”
- Sophomore McKenna Stephens score seven of KSU’s first nine points and finished with nine. Stephens, who started her third straight game, had missed the first five games with a knee injury.
- Naddiyah Cross, who had come off the bench the last two games, started at point guard but played on 13 minutes and didn’t score. Parker and freshman Paige Salisbury played most of the game at point.
- Kent State made only 4 of 16 three-pointers and remains below 25 percent for the season. Overall shooting Saturday was 36.8 percent.
- Junior college transfer Keziah Lewis scored a season-high eight points on three of four shooting, including two three pointers.
- KSU got 21 points from the bench, by far its high for the season.
- YSU guard Allison Smolinski made 6 of 11 three-pointers and guard Nikki Arbanas 7 of 12. Guard Indiya Benjamin had 15 assists. Leading scorer Sarah Cash had 12 rebounds, 10 points, four assists and four blocks.
- Kent State freshman guard Megan Carter tweeted Friday that surgery on her torn ACL was “very successful,” and she expects to be back on the court in seven months. Carter, one of KSU’s top recruits, was injured in the third game of the season. It was the third ACL surgery on her knee.