Kent State coach Danny O’Banion put it succinctly after her team lost to Bowling Green 65-55 Saturday
“Their post play was better than our post play,” she said on her postgame radio interview. “That’s the long and short of it.”
Bowling Green’s 6-4 center, Lauren Tibbs, had the best game of her career with 24 points on 11 of 15 shooting. Tibbs also had two three-point baskets, eight rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists. She is a a fifth-year player, a transfer from Marquette who was immediately eligible because she had finished her undergraduate degree. She had played sparingly at Marquette.
Meanwhile, Kent State’s best post player, Jordan Korinek, struggled with foul trouble. She had 14 points and five rebounds but played only 21 minutes. And right after she picked up critical fouls, Bowling Green went on runs that made the difference in the game.
In the second quarter, the score was tied 18-18 when Korinek picked up her second foul and went to the bench. One second earlier, Kent’s Tyra James, who played one of the best games of her redshirt freshman season, had picked up her second.
Bowling Green went on a 7-0 run and never trailed after that.
Kent State settled down after that BG run and pulled within three points at halftime, then to within 31-30 in the first 90 seconds of the second half.
But 30 seconds later, Korinek picked up her third foul and went out, and Bowling Green scored 10 points in a row and eventually extended its lead to 15 points.
Kent State rallied to within three with two minutes to go, but the Falcons pulled away with nine straight points.
None of Korinek’s fouls came defending a shot. Two were offensive fouls, one was on a rebound, and the fourth away from the ball just before the shot clock ran out on a BG possession.
The 6-2 forward, Kent’s leading scorer, has had at least four fouls in 11 of Kent State’s 14 conference games.
“We’ve got to help Jordan understand the value she brings to the the team,” O’Banion said. “And we have to learn how to protect her from foul trouble.”
Korinek couldn’t score taking the ball directly at Tibbs, who blocked several of her shots. But she adjusted by taking jump shots. She was effective – when she was in the game.
James led KSU with 19 points – second best of her career – and led Kent State’s comeback attempts in the fourth quarter. She also had four rebounds and two steals.
“Tyra’s a player to cheer for,” O’Banion said. “She’s invested in her game. She’s constantly in our office and constantly in the gym.”
The third of Kent “big three” scorers – Larissa Lurken – scored nine points in the first half but was held scoreless in the second by BG senior Miriam Justinger. Justinger originally signed with Kent State but switched to BG after former coach Bob Lindsay was fired.
The Flashes are now 5-19 on the season, 2-12 in the MAC. Bowling Green is 9-14 and 5-9.
- In the first meeting between BG and KSU, the Falcons made 15 of 29 three-point shots, most of them by guards Sydney Lambert and Rachel Myers, in a 71-49 victory. Saturday the two went a combined 5 of 20, and just 2 of 13 from three-point range. Overall, Bowling Green made 8 of 24 three-pointers.
- Bowling Green had 18 turnovers, Kent State 15. But the Falcons scored 21 points off of the KSU turnovers. KSU managed 14 from turnovers.
- For the first time in six games, point guard Naddiyah Cross played more minutes (25) than freshman Paige Salisbury (17), who had started all of those games. Neither was effective. They combined to go 0 of 4 shooting and had six turnovers between them, along with five assists.
- Bowling Green had 18 assists on 25 baskets. KSU had 10 on 21.
- BG outrebounded Kent State 34-28 and had 13 second-chance points. KSU had six second-chance points.
- It was a game Kent State pretty much had to win to have any chance to host a first-round MAC tournament game. The Flashes now are three games behind Bowling Green and Buffalo with four games to play. They’re just one behind Miami and play the Redhawks in Kent in two weeks. They’re also one behind Northern Illinois of the West Division in a struggle for the last three seeds in the tournament.
Kent State travels to Ohio Wednesday to play the league-leading Bobcats, who are 13-1 in the conference and 21-4 overall.
Other MAC scores:
- Ohio (21-4, 13-1) 101, Akron (13-12, 7-7) 73, at Akron.
- Ball State (18-7, 10-4) 60, Western Michigan (15-11, 7-7) 54, at Ball State.
- Toledo (15-10, 10-4) 81, Central Michigan (17-8, 11-3) 79, at Central.
- Buffalo (13-12, 5-9) 58, Miami (9-16, 3-11) 39, at Buffalo.
- Eastern Michigan (17-8, 8-6) 84, Northern Illinois (10-15, 3-11) 60, at Eastern.