Jordan Korinek goes for two of her career-high 36 points Thursday. That was five better than her previous high, set earlier this season against Southeastern Louisiana. Photo by Alexander Wadley, KentWired.com.
Two weeks ago Bowling Green beat Kent State 60-50 in one of the low points of the season for the Flashes.
Wednesday night’s game against the Falcons was one of the high points.
The Flashes beat BG 81-57 at the M.A.C.C. Center. It was Kent State’s widest margin of victory for the season. KSU’s three previous MAC victories all were by seven points.
“We’ve just let too many wins get away from us by not playing for a full 40 minutes,” said coach Todd Starkey, who treated the game as if it were overtime in the MAC tournament finals. He was directing and pushing and exhorting his players, usually very loudly. (The refs got an earful, too.)
“I told them that from start to finish I was going to on them, I was going to be in their ear, I was going to be relentless, and they had to play the same way,” he said. “I was probably yelling at things that a lot of people had no idea why I was yelling.
“I thought this was our best conference game offensively and defensively,” even better than the Flashes’ 62-55 win at Toledo, when KSU played great defense and good-enough offense.
Lots of things were different from at game at BG Jan. 17:
- Jordan Korinek, the MAC’s third-leading scorer, scored a season-low seven points then. Wednesday she scored a career-high 36 points, making 12 of 18 field goals, two of three three-point shots and 10 of 11 free throws. She had nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. At Bowling Green, the Falcons’ good-sized post players banged Korinek around.
“We ran some different actions to get her the ball in different spots,” Starkey said. “Our post-entry passes were much better today, we used pass fakes to get her open a little better, and she did a great job of finishing.”
Korinek agreed it was a good game plan.
“The first game there was a lot of physicality that we kind of played into,” she said. “We were really stagnant. The last two days in practice we really worked on offensive flow and not letting that affect us.”
- Starkey made major changes in the starting lineup, which had been the same for 20 of the team’s first 21 games. Wednesday starters were freshmen Erin Thames and Monique Smith, redshirt sophomore Megan Carter, Korinek and junior Alexa Golden.
“We need a spark,” the coach said. “We’ve been stagnant and haven’t played well consistently for a long time. So we thought, ‘Let’s give some freshmen some opportunities and see what they do.’ They’ve been working really hard in practice.
“I think it gave some energy to what we were doing. And we thought the starters could give us a bench spark.”
The old starters — sophomore Ali Poole and seniors McKenna Stephens and Naddiyah Cross — combined for 30 points and played almost exactly the same number of minutes they’ve been playing all season. Poole had 14, equaling her third highest total of the year.
“It worked in our favor,” Poole said. “I’m still playing. I’m still contributing.”
New starters Thames, Smith and Carter combined for only five points. Carter had four assists and four rebounds, Smith three rebounds, two points and a steal, Thames three rebounds and an assist.
- The Flashes pushed the ball up court harder than they have most of the season.
“We need to find a way to generate some easier baskets,” Starkey said. “Much of what we’ve been doing offensively has seemed like a grind. I think we’ve been giving up points because we haven’t been pushing the ball. And the way Akron pushed on us (in a 75-60 win over KSU Saturday), we said, ‘That’s the way you want to play. You have to push for ball for some easy baskets early.'”
- Kent State shot much better than it had at Bowling Green earlier. The Flashes’ shooting percentage was 47 percent, eight points above it’s season average. At BG, KSU shot 34 percent. Wednesday the Flashes made 64 percent of their shots in the first quarter in running to a 29-11 lead. 29 points was more than they scored in either half in the first game between the two teams.
Kent State stays home to play Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. Saturday. Like Bowling Green, NIU beat the Flashes earlier this season. (The score was 81-79 as KSU lost an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter.) Northern (2-8 in the MAC, 10-11 overall) lost to Miami 77-62 in Dekalb Wednesday.
- Kent State’s win moves its record to 4-6 in the MAC and 11-11 overall. BG is 2-8 and 10-11. The Flashes’ record is still ninth best in the conference, which is significant because they have to finish at least eighth to get a first-round home game in the MAC Tournament. KSU is one game behind Miami and Western Michigan and a game-and-a-half behind Ohio and Eastern Michigan.
- Kent State outrebounded BG 43-31. They’ve outrebounded their opponents in 15 of 21 games this season and lead the MAC in rebounding margin in conference games only at plus-5.4. Stephens had eight rebounds and Golden six Wednesday.
- Kent State outscored BG in the paint 34-16 and 19-16 off turnovers. KSU did make 16 turnovers to Bowling Green’s 10.
- The Flashes equaled a season high with 18 assists on 25 baskets. Bowling Green had only three assists in the game.
- The 24-point margin of victory was Kent State’s biggest over Bowling Green since 2001.
- Freshman Amanda Sape saw her first action of the season, playing the last minute of the game.
Game story from Kent State website.
Game story from KentWired, website for Kent State student media.
The view from Bowling Green
Coach Jennifer Roos, quoted on the BG website:
“We beat Kent at the Stroh Center, and they were looking to take it to us early on tonight. Their intensity in the first quarter, compared to ours, was the difference. We got in some early foul trouble and could not dig out of a hole that was way too deep.
“This is the second game in a row where we came out with less intensity than our opponent. We get down early, and we spend the rest of the game clawing back. We can’t overcome that first quarter; we’ve got to address what that intensity problem is, and we’ve got to make some adjustments.”
Game story from Bowling Green website.
Other MAC scores
Central Michigan (10-0 MAC, 17-3 overall won the battle of divisional leaders, beating Buffalo (7-2, 16-4) 86-79 at Central. The teams play again in Buffalo in two weeks.
Toledo (6-4, 15-7) 78, Western Michigan (5-5, 12-10) 73 at Western.
Ball State (7-3, 18-3) 97, Akron (1-9, 7-14) 65 at Ball State.
Miami (5-5, 13-8) 77, Northern Illinois (2-8, 10-11) 62 at Northern.
Ohio (5-4, 11-9) and Eastern Michigan (5-4, 9-11) had the night off.