It’s been a long time since Kent State had a game like its Saturday match-up with Bowling Green — a home conference game in which the Flashes are clearly favored.
The game is at 3 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center and is the second in a double header with the men’s team, which plays Central Michigan at noon. A ticket to the men’s game gets you into the women’s; if you have a women’s ticket, it’s good for a general admissions seat at the men’s game.
Kent State goes into the game 10-10, 4-4 in the MAC. The Flashes are tied for second in the MAC East with Buffalo, two games behind Ohio. They’re two and a half games ahead of Miami and Akron, which are tied for fourth at 1-6. Bowling Green is 1-7.
Second place is the highest KSU has been in the league since the early 2000s. The Flashes’ highest finish since 2011 has been fifth in the six-team division.
BG dominated the MAC from 2004 to 2014, winning nine East, four overall MAC and five MAC tournament titles. Most of those years were under Curt Miller, now head coach of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. Current coach Jennifer Roos was Miller’s top assistant. Her teams finished second in the East her first year and 30-5 her second. But the last two years the Falcons have been 9-21 and 10-18.
Their current overall record is 5-15, worst in the MAC.
BG’s only conference win was a 62-58 over Akron in Bowling Green. The Falcons did take 14-5 Central Michigan to overtime before losing at home, 76-65. They played another overtime game Wednesday, losing at Eastern Michigan, 81-74.
Bowling Green is led by 5-10 sophomore guard Carly Santoro, who is averaging 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. The Falcons are last or next to last in the MAC in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and assists. They average about eighth in defensive categories. BG is second in the conference in offensive rebounding and fourth in rebounding margin (+3.6).
“Bowling Green is a dangerous team,” coach Todd Starkey said on the Thursday Flash Talk radio show on Golden Flash iHeart Radio and Facebook Live. “We’ll have to prepared for them as we’d prepare for anyone else.”
Kent State is +2.1 in rebounding margin, sixth in the league. The Flashes are led on the boards by Larissa Lurken (6.6 per game) and Jordan Korinek (6.0). McKenna Stephens averages 5.1 and 6.9 in KSU’s eight conference games.
In conference play, Stephens also averages 10.3 points a game and is fourth in the league in shooting percentage at 55.7. She equaled a career high with 19 points on Wednesday.
“What she does is that she stretches the floor, so Jordan (forward Jordan Korinek) has space to operate,” Starkey said. “Teams really can’t double (on Korinek) off of McKenna because she can shoot the ball well.
“When we have those three pieces (Lurken, Korinek and Stephens) working together, we can be a tough team to beat.”
Korinek averages 18.4 points per MAC game but got in foul trouble and scored only 8 in Kent State’s 93-72 loss at Northern Illinois Saturday.
“Any game where that’s been the case, we haven’t handled it the best,” Starkey said “So we need to figure out what our flow seems to look like if she does get into foul trouble.”
Despite Lurken’s 22.8 point per game average, Kent State’s offense runs best when the ball is consistently getting to Korinek in the post, where she can move on the basket or send the ball back to the perimeter.
The Bowling Green game starts a string of MAC East play for Kent State, which has only a home game against 1-7 Eastern Michigan left against Western Division teams. Three of the East games are against BG, Miami and Akron, which have won a total of three league games among them.
If you can’t go to the game
- Video starts at 3 p.m. on the Kent State website.
- Audio starts at 2:45 on Golden Flash iHeart radio and 640 AM WHLO.
- Live statistics can be followed though the KSU website.
- In-game updates on Twitter are at @KentStatwbb.
Game preview on the KSU website.
Flash Talk interview with Starkey. It starts about 34 minutes in. Earlier is an interview with Athletic Director Joel Nielsen. After Starkey’s interview is one with men’s coach Rob Senderoff.
Game preview from the Bowling Green website.
Kent State statistics, with links to roster and schedule/results.
MAC statistics and standings.