What’s gone wrong — or perhaps what hasn’t gone right — this season was clearly on display in Kent State’s 65-59 loss to Miami at the M.A.C. Center Saturday’s.
Start with three–point shooting, the key factor in the game. Miami was nine of 17; Kent State was one of 13. The Flashes’ outside shooting has been a problem all season. They were second to last in the MAC in three-point percentage (27.7 percent) going into the game and are likely last now. They make 4.7 three-pointers a game, tied for last in the league.
“You can’t go one for 13 in a six-point game and expect to win,” coach Todd Starkey said. “Probably 11 of them were good looks.”
Three-point shooting isn’t the only problem on the offensive perimeter. Though it’s pretty close to impossible to replace a MAC Player of the Year like Larissa Lurken, the Flashes haven’t found anyone to fit into kind of role she played.
“We had a go-to perimeter player,” Starkey said. “Now everybody’s kind of looking around for who wants to do something at the end of the shot clock, and nobody really wants it. And that makes it difficult to score on critical possessions.”
The Flashes’ top scorer, senior forward Jordan Korinek, got into first-half foul trouble and sat out 10 minutes of the first half.
“When Jordan get into foul trouble, we turn into a different offensive team,” Starkey said. Korinek had two points in the first half, 15 in the second, and Kent State outscored Miami in the last 20 minutes.
Guard Megan Carter stepped up with 17 points, also with 15 in the second half, but she had six turnovers.
“It’s almost a tradeoff when you give them extra possessions,” Starkey said.
The Flashes, who have been near the bottom of the MAC in turnover margin all season, were outscored off of them 16-8 Saturday. They committed 14, one of their better efforts of the season. But Miami had only nine.
Saturday’s turnovers, Starkey said, were a matter of focus. That’s something he’s cited all season.
When Kent State closed to within three point in the middle of the fourth quarter, Miami quickly countered.
“We gave up three quick baskets and had two turnovers,” Starkey said. “We missed some defensive rotations, gave them some open looks.”
- The loss drops the Flashes to 4-10 in the MAC and 11-15 on the season. It was KSU’s fourth loss in a row. Miami is 8-6 and 16-9.
- Kent State remains in 10th place in the MAC, two games out of eighth (the last spot for a home game in the MAC tournament). Eighth is held by Eastern Michigan, a team KSU has beaten twice. The Flashes therefore would get a higher seed in the tournament if they tied. But ninth is held by Northern Illinois, which has beaten Kent State twice.
- Kent State held Miami’s Lauren Dickerson, the MAC’s second leading scorer, to 13 points on four of 13 shooting. But four other Redhawks scored in double figures, led by forward Kendall McCoy, who had 14 points. Dickerson, who had averaged 2.8 points a game, did have eight assists.
- The teams had almost identical field goal numbers — 24 for 55 for Miami, 25 for 55 for Kent State. It was just a lot more of Miami’s were three-point shots (and baskets).
- McKenna Stephens had nine points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks for the Flashes. Alexa Golden had eight rebounds and three assists.
- Kent State outrebounded Miami 37-24 and outscored the Redhawks in the paint 32-14.
Kent State on Wednesday heads to Ohio, a team that beat the Flashes 78-65 a week ago. Ohio (8-6, 14-11) beat Bowling Green 69-58 at Ohio Saturday.
Other MAC scores
- Central Michigan (13-1, 21-4) 95, Eastern Michigan (6-8, 10-15) 82 at Central.
- Buffalo (12-2, 21-4) 85, Akron (2-12, 8-17) 71 at Buffalo.
- Ball State (10-4, 21-4) 72, Northern Illinois (5-9, 13-12) 50 at Northern.
- Toledo (7-7, 16-10) 69, Western Michigan (7-7, 14-12) 68 in overtime at Toledo.
- Ohio (8-6, 14-11) 69, Bowling Green (2-12, 10-15) 58 at Ohio.