Flashes open MAC Tournament at Toledo, a team they beat in January

2018 bracketIt seems like forever since Kent State beat Toledo at Toledo on Jan. 24.

The score was 62-55, and there still seemed as if there were hope for the Flashes’ season. The victory was probably Kent State’s best of the season; at that point Toledo was 13-7 and had the 65th best RPI in the country. Kent State was 10-10, and the win put the Flashes at 3-5 in the conference. We thought it might be the start of the team playing up to its prediction of second place in the MAC East.

Alas, it was the high point of the Flashes’ conference season. Since then, Kent State is 2-8 and stuck in 10th place in the MAC.

Toledo hasn’t had a much happier time. Since that game, Toledo has been 4-6.

The two teams meet Monday in Toledo in the first round of the MAC Tournament. The winner will advance to play East Division champion Buffalo in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Kent State and Toledo met in the quarterfinals of the tournament last season, and the teams were the hottest in the MAC. Kent State had won seven games in a row, Toledo eight of nine. The Rockets rallied from seven points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Flashes 67-63 and went on to win the tournament.

Both the Rockets and Flashes have four starters back from the teams that met last March. Toledo lost second-team all-MAC forward Janice Monakana. Kent State lost MAC player-of-the-year Larissa Lurken. It’s pretty clear which team adjusted better.

Toledo is led by 6-2 junior center Kayla McIntyre, who averages 16 points and 7.8rebounds a game. Junior guard Mikaela Boyd, just 5-7, averages 8.4 rebounds and 12.2 points, and senior guard Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott averages 12.6 points.

In that first game, Kent State held Toledo to 31 percent shooting and 21 percent from three-point distance in perhaps their best defensive effort of the MAC season.

Kent’s Jordan Korinek scored 30 points in that game to put her average above 20 points a game. It stayed there until Saturday, when she equaled a season-low eight points in KSU’s 58-35 loss last Miami. She now averages 19.9.

Saturday’s game was Kent State’s worst of the season. The Flashes’ 35 points were their lowest of the season; the team looked listless, tired and unfocused.

Toledo is also coming off a loss, but a good one if there is such a thing. The Rockets pushed first-place Central Michigan before falling in Toledo, 72-67.

Toledo consistently draws 3,000-plus fans to women’s games. The Rockets are 11-3 at home this season; Kent’s win in Toledo in January was first in Toledo since 2007.

Monday will be a tough task for the Flashes.

To follow the game

Action starts at 7 p.m. Here are directions to Savage Hall if you plan on going. It’s about a two-and-a-half hour drive.

Video is on ESPN3. You can follow it online if your subscribe to ESPN on cable or by  satellite.

Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio only. The KSU men’s game will be on WHLO.

Live statistics will be available through the Toledo website.

Kent State website, including links to statistics, roster, schedule/results, record book and more.

Preview from the Toledo website, including links.

Conference-game only MAC statistics, including standings.

The tournament schedule


  • No. 9 seed Eastern Michigan (10-19, 6-12 in MAC) at No. 8 Northern Illinois (15-14, 7-11).
  • No. 12 Akron (9-20, 2-15) at No. 5 Ohio (15-14, 9-9).
  • No. 10 Kent State (12-18, 5-13) at No. 7 Toledo (17-13, 8-10).
  • No. 11 Bowling Green (11-18, 3-15) at No. 6 Western Michigan (16-14, 9-9).

WEDNESDAY at Quicken Loans Arena

  • Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois winner vs. No. 1 Central Michigan (25-4, 17-1), noon.
  • Akron-Ohio winner vs. No. 4 Miami (20-8, 12-6), about 2:30
  • Kent-State Toledo winner vs. No. 2 Buffalo (25-4, 16-2), about 5.
  • Bowling Green-Western Michigan winner vs. No. 3 Ball State (24-5, 13-5), about 7:30.

Games start about a half hour apart. Here is a link to ticket information on the MAC website.


  • Central Michigan game winner vs. Miami winner, 11 a.m.
  • Buffalo game winner vs. Ball State winner, about 1:30 pm.


  • Champion game at 11 a.m.

All games are on ESPN3 except for the championship, which is on the CBS sports network.




In lackluster final regular-season game, Flashes fall at Miami, 58-35

Kent State’s 58-35 loss at Miami Saturday was a dispiriting end to a disappointing regular season.

About the only life the Flashes showed was a 10-4 run led by their bench to make the score 16-12 at the end of the first quarter. Miami had complete control after that.

KSU finishes the regular season at 5-13 in the MAC, the reverse of the 13-5 record that gave it an unexpected East Division championship last season. Overall the Flashes are 12-18.

They play on the road Monday in the first round of the MAC Tournament. Parings had not been officially announced at 5 p.m., but my reading is that KSU will play at Toledo. The Flashes beat Toledo 62-55 at Toledo Jan. 24 in their best conference game.

Kent State’s 35 points against Miami was its lowest since a 55-31 loss at Ball State in January 2013.

“We had a group that flat-out didn’t show up today,” coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame radio interview on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “It’s disappointing. I was embarrassed by the way we played today.”

Eleven team members played more than 10 minutes as Starkey looked for any kind of productivity. He took out his entire starting lineup three-and-a-half minutes into the game after Miami jumped to a 10-2. That set of reserves — Tyra James, Zenobia Bess, Ali Poole, Monique Smith and Erin Thames — brought the score to within four at the end the quarter.

“They just played harder,” Starkey said. “We still didn’t play good basketball.”

Players shuttled in and out for the rest of the game — often five at a time. Every player available got in; freshman walk-on Margaux Eibel played a career-high 11 minutes, and not just at the end of the game.

But no one had success. No Kent player scored in double figures. Leading scorer Jordan Korinek had eight points, equaling her low for the season. Going into the game, Korinek was the MAC’s second-leading scorer and the fifth-highest scorer in Kent State history. James also had eight points. Bess had five. KSU’s four starters besides Korinek combined for eight points.

Now it’s up to the Flashes, who have lost seven of their last eight games, to try to regroup for the tournament.

“If they show up like this, our season will be over,” Starkey said. “If we decided to fight with purpose, then maybe we have a chance.

“Now that the regular season’s over, records don’t matter. That will be the message to them. If they want to play for something significant, all they have to do is show up and beat whoever we play Monday. And then we get to go to Cleveland and extend our season.”

Box score


  • Miami finishes its regular season 12-6 and the fourth seed in the MAC tournament. Its 20-8 overall record is nine wins better than last year’s 11-21 season.
  • Kent’s 35 points were the seventh fewest allowed by an opponent in Miami history.
  • Miami’s Lauren Dickerson, the conference third leading scorer at 20.1 points a game, got into foul trouble in the first half and scored only six. Kendall McCoy, the Redhawks’ second leading scorer, had only five. Kayla Brown led Miami with 11 points.
  • Kent State made 27.5 percent of its shots, second lowest of the season, and 2 of 15 three-point shots. The Flashes were outrebounded 35-25. They had been second in the MAC in rebounding margin.

After being very negative about his team’s performance for most of his radio interview, Starkey paused of a minute near the end, perhaps remembering how almost all of these players were on last year’s championship team.

“I do love these kids,” he said. “They’re great students, great student-athletes, really good people. We just didn’t come out with enough tenacity today.”

Other MAC scores

  •  Buffalo (16-2, 25-4) 74, Bowling Green (3-15, 11-18) 38 at Buffalo.
  • Central Michigan (17-5, 25-4) 72, Toledo (8-10, 17-13) 67 at Toledo.
  • Akron (3-15, 9-20) 62, Ohio (9-9, 15-14) 59 at Akron.
  • Western Michigan (9-9, 16-14) 85, Northern Illinois (7-11, 15-14) 66 at Northern.
  • Ball State (13-5, 24-5) 88, Eastern Michigan (6-12, 10-19) 63 at Eastern.

Final MAC standings









Flashes fall to Miami in final regular season game, 58-35

Kent State scored just 35 points — a season low — and had no player in double figures as it lost its last regular-season game at Miami Saturday, 58-35.

The Flashes will play their first-round MAC Tournament game on the road Monday. Pairings will be announced later Saturday.

Kent State finishes the season 5-13 in the MAC, the opposite of its 13-5 East Division championship record last season. Overall the Flashes are 12-18.

Miami, picked last in the East, is finishes 12-6 in the MAC and is 20-9 overall. The Redhawks have the fourth seed in the tournament and have a bye to the quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday.

Jordan Korinek and Tyra James had eight points each for Kent State. The eight equaled a season-low for Korinek, who went into the game as the MAC’s second-leading scorer and the fifth-highest scorer in Kent State history.

Eleven KSU players played at least 10 minutes as the Flashes searched for — and didn’t find — productivity.

Box score


Flashes end regular season Saturday at 19-9 Miami, the MAC’s surprise team

The regular season comes to an end for the Kent State and the rest of the MAC Saturday.

About all that will be decided is minor variations in seeding for the league tournament, which starts Monday at campus sites.

Kent State will definitely play on the road, likely as a 10th seed. If the Flashes win and Eastern Michigan loses, the two will tie and KSU will move up to the ninth seed because it beat Eastern twice in conference play.

If the Flashes sneak into the ninth seed, they’ll play at Northern Illinois, a team that beat them twice. If they finish 10th, they’ll play at Western Michigan or Toledo, with a long shot of playing at Ohio. KSU lost twice to Ohio in the regular season, once to Western and beat Toledo at Toledo in probably its best conference game.

Miami is guaranteed the fourth seed, ending a remarkable season for a team that was picked last in the MAC East. Much as KSU’s Todd Starkey did last season, first-year Miami coach Megan Duffy took pretty much the same lineup from the previous year and turned things around. The Redhawks are 11-6 in the conference and 19-9 overall. Last season they were 5-13 and 11-21.

Kent State has gone the opposite direction. Surprise winners of the East last season with a 13-5 record (19-13 overall), the Flashes are 5-12 and 12-17.

To follow the game

Action starts at 1 p.m. (an hour earlier than most Saturday games).

Video is on ESPN3. You can follow it online if your subscribe to ESPN on cable or on satellite.

Audio starts at about 12:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio and WHLO 640.

Live statistics will be available through the Miami website.

Kent State website, including links to statistics, roster, schedule/results, record book and more.

Preview from the Miami website, including links.

Conference-game only MAC statistics, including standings.


Powerful Buffalo (24-4) uses strong third quarter to rout Flashes, 81-51

In the end, Kent State coach Todd Starkey said after the Flashes’ 81-51 loss to Buffalo Wednesday, the reason was simple:

“Buffalo is just a much better team than we are.”

The Bulls, 24-4 on the season and No. 16 in RPI rankings after Wednesday, pulled away from the Flashes in the third quarter, outscoring them 26-8. Buffalo (15-2 in the MAC) is second in the league by a game to Central Michigan, which beat third-place Ball State 88-80 Wednesday.

Kent State is 10th in the conference at 5-12 and 12-17 overall.

The league’s final regular season games are Saturday (KSU is at Miami). The MAC tournament starts Monday on campus sites. The Flashes will be on the road, probably at Toledo or Western Michigan.

“Our margin for error in a game like this is paper thin,” Starkey said. “They exposed all of our weaknesses” in the third quarter.

“I thought we had the right game plan. We tried to slow it down and reduce the number of possessions, and we had a good first half even though we missed some shots.”

Then came a 26-8 third quarter in favor of Buffalo.

“The most important things that we talked about when we prepared for the game was not turning the ball over and giving them layups,” Starkey said. “We just beat ourselves; it’s been an ongoing theme all year.”

Buffalo had four steals in the third quarter and scored seven points off KSU’s six turnovers. Buffalo just had one turnover in the quarter. The Bulls pushed a 36-28 halftime lead to 18 points within three minutes. KSU never got any closer.

The MAC hasn’t had more than one team in the NCAA Tournament since Toledo and Kent State made it in 1996. Starkey said that should change this season.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Ball State, too (with Buffalo and Central). I don’t think there any team outside the top 10 that would want to face those three teams in the first or second round of the NCAA.”

Buffalo and Central are 24-4, Ball State 23-5. After Wednesday, Buffalo is 16th in the RPI, Central Michigan 23rd and Ball State 36th. RPI rankings are based on a team’s record and strength of schedule. It’s one factor that determines which 32 teams get at-large bids to the NCAA tournament. 64 teams will make the tournament, half of them by winning their conference tournaments. RPI rankings are from WarrenNolan.com. 


  • Jordan Korinek led Kent State with 14 points and seven rebounds. McKenna Stephens had 10 points and four assists. It was the last game at the M.A.C. Center for the two players, who have started 193 games between them in their four years on campus (112 for Korinek, 81 for Stephens). Korinek’s moved into fifth place in Kent scoring history. She has 1,741 points, 13 more than Ann Forbes, who played between 1989 and 1992.
  • Kent State outrebounded Buffalo 32-30. In the first game between the teams, the Bulls had 51 rebounds to KSU’s 39 in an 80-42 victory.
  • After making 48 percent of its shots in the first half, Kent State was seven of 30 (23 percent) in the second. Buffalo made a season-high 54.4 percent of its shots for the game.
  • Buffalo’s Autumn Jones, starting her first game of the season, made three three-point baskets and all four of her shots into the first period as Buffalo took a 21-13 lead. She was one of four UB players in double figures, led by guard Cierra Dillard with 17. None of Buffalo’s starters played in the fourth quarter; none played more than 27 minutes in the game.
  • The win set a school record for number of victories in a season for Buffalo.
  • Kent State’s Amanda Sape, a 6-3 freshman center, scored her first college point on a foul shot in the last minute. Seconds earlier, freshman Margaux Eibel got her first college basket (she had scored on free throws earlier in the season).
  • Sophomore Ali Poole was back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a leg injury. She had three points and two rebounds in 18 minutes.


Box score

Other MAC scores

  • Miami (11-6, 19-9) 78, Ohio (9-8, 15-13) 56 at Ohio.
  • Northern Illinois (7-10, 15-13) 89, Toledo (8-9, 17-12) 79 at Northern.
  • Western Michigan (8-9 MAC, 15-14 overall) 74, Eastern Michigan (6-11, 10-18) 66 at Western.
  • Bowling Green (3-14, 11-17) 84, Akron (2-15, 8-20) 63 at BG.
  • Central Michigan (16-1, 24-4) 88, Ball State (12-5, 23-5) 80 at Central.

MAC standings 





Big third quarter powers Buffalo past Kent State, 81-51, in final home game

Buffalo capitalized on six Kent State turnovers and held the Flashes to three of 17 shooting in the third quarter and won its 10th straight MAC game Wednesday, 81-51.

Kent State kept the game fairly close in the first half against the Bulls, No. 14 of 349 Division I teams in the latest RPI rankings. Buffalo led 36-28 at halftime.

The Bulls added 10 points to that lead in the first three minutes of the second half.

Jordan Korinek led Kent State with 14 points. McKenna Stephens had 10. It was the last game in the M.A.C. Center for the two players, who started throughout their four-year careers.

Four Buffalo starters scored in double figures, even though none played more than 27 minutes and not at all in the fourth quarter.

Buffalo is 15-2 in the MAC and 24-4 on the season. Kent State is 5-12 and 12-17.

Box score


Flashes finish home season against Buffalo, No. 14 in latest RPI rankings

Senior Day was Saturday, but KSU will play its final home game of the 2017-18 season tonight against Buffalo, leaders of the MAC East and highest ranked of all MAC schools in the latest RPI rankings.

Buffalo is one of three MAC teams with 23-4 records going into the last two regular season games. The Bulls aren’t even in first place overall in the MAC. That record belongs to Central Michigan, which plays the Ball State, the third 23-4 team in the conference, tonight.

There has been a lot of talk online about whether the league will get two bids to the NCAA tournament for the first time in more than 20 years. But it’s hard to figure out how that couldn’t happen. Buffalo is No. 14 (in some rankings, 13th) and is 14-2 in the conference. Central Michigan (15-1 in MAC) is No. 27. Ball State (12-4 in the league) is 36th. Rankings come from WarrenNolan.com, the rating service I most use. There are about four of them.

The MAC ranks seventh of 32 conferences, which I’m pretty sure is highest in school history. In the 30 years I’ve been following KSU women’s basketball, I cannot remember a year when three team had 20 wins, let along 23. (I can’t find a MAC Record Book online, so I can’t give official results.)

Three other teams — Toledo (62nd), Ohio (81st) and Miami (84th) — also are in the top 100 in RPI. That’s got to be the league’s best, too. Last season five teams were in the top 100, including Kent State (99th). Highest ranking team then was Central Michigan at 54th. Toledo, which won the tournament in 2016-17, was 55th.

RPI is based on a team’s record and strength of schedule. 25 percent is based on a school’s record, 25 percent on its opponents’ record, and 50 percent on its opponents’ opponents’ record. Road wins count about double of home wins.

It once counted significantly when the NCAA selection committee decided on the tournament field and seedings. In recent years, it’s seemed to mean less. RPI gives teams more credit for playing good opponents than beating them. No MAC team has beaten a top 25 team from outside the conference. (Both Central and Buffalo have lost within the league). Best win is Toledo’s win over No. 31 Dayton. Central’s best is over No. 109 Iowa State, Buffalo’s over No. 64 Nebraska, Ball State’s over No. 41 Western Kentucky.

Lack of such “quality wins” is the only thing likely to keep Buffalo or Central out of the tournament. It’s hard to see three MAC teams making it.

Kent State’s RPI is 161, higher than we could have imagined two years ago. In coach Danny O’Banion four years and Bob Lindsay’s final season, KSU was below 300.

The Flashes obviously face a very tough task against Buffalo. They lost to the Bulls 80-42 on Feb. 7, their worst lost of the season (13 points more than their loss to No. 15 Stanford).

Buffalo is deep and loaded. Four starters average in double figures. The Bulls are second in the conference in scoring defense, first in field-goal defense, first in three-point defense, first in blocked shots, second in steals, third in rebounding margin and turnovers margin.

Kent State’s best is third in free-throw percentage (first in free-throws made, which isn’t an official stat). The Flashes are fourth in scoring defense but last in scoring offense.

KSU is 10th in the 12 team MAC. There is a distant possibility of moving up to eighth, which would get the Flashes a home game in the first-round of the MAC tournament next week. But they’d have to beat Buffalo for any chance of that happening.

To follow the game

Action starts at 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center.

Video is through the ESPN3. (For the second straight weak, the game is not on ESPN3.)

Audio starts at about 1:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio and WHLO.

Live statistics will be available through the Kent State website.

Preview from the Kent State website, including links to statistics, roster, schedule/results, record book and more.

Preview from the Buffalo website, including links. Detailed media game notes.

MAC statistics, including standings.




Flashes are strong for 3 quarters and strong down stretch to beat Akron, 60-55

Bell vs Akron

Kent State seniors (from left) Zenobia Bess, Jordan Korinek, McKenna Stephens and Naddiyah ring the bell for their Senior Day victory over Akron. (David Dermer photo from women’s basketball Twitter feed)

Kent State had dominated the first three quarters against Akron, and in the last 10 minutes, the Flashes:

  1. Tried to “gift wrap and give it to them,” in coach Todd Starkey’s words.
  2. Made the plays at the end of the game they needed to win.
  3. Won their Senior Day game with strong performances from four-year starters.

The end result was a 60-55 victory over the Zips, an end to KSU’s five-game losing streak and revenge for a 76-60 loss to Akron in January.

“It wasn’t like we had an elaborate game plan to take them out of their stuff,” Starkey said. “We just played better and played harder.

For most of the game, the Flashes looked as if they had learned all the right lessons from the first Akron game, when they were outscored 14-0 on fast-break points and 13-2 off turnovers. At the end of the third quarter, they had outscored Akron 8-7 off turnovers. Fast-break points were insignificant — 3 to 2 Akron.

And the Flashes led 44-33.

But between five minutes and two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Akron stole the ball five times and with 2:10 to go, the score was 55-53 Kent State.

Then Alexa Golden made three free throws and Jordan Korinek had a block, a key rebound and two foul shots. Akron didn’t get another point until Fredniqua Walker made an deliberately uncontested layup with four seconds to play.

Korinek and fellow forward McKenna Stephens, who have played together for four seasons, both had double-doubles on their Senior Day. Korinek had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Stephens 14 points and 11 rebounds. Between them, they made 12 of 22 shots.

Any win over Akron is special,” Korinek said. “Getting the win to end the losing streak was really big. And for our last one, it was really important to us, especially beating Akron on our home court.”

Korinek, the second-leading scorer in the MAC, had just four points at halftime. As most opponents do, Akron was crowding her inside and trying to keep her from the ball.

“I asked her at halftime if she’s rather have 30 points or beat Akron on Senior Day,” Starkey said. “She said, ‘Beat Akron.'”

Golden didn’t start for the first time this season but played a key role. She had 14 points, including seven of eight foul shots, five rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in 26 minutes. That’s on top of her first career double-double at Ohio Wednesday.

She’s done it on very sore legs.

“She’s limping around most of the time,” Starkey said. “We’re holding her from practice. She’s in a boot. She’s got a lot of pain in her legs with shin splints. 

“She doesn’t even flinch. I ask her, ‘You OK?’ She says, ‘Yes, I’m fine.’ She does not want to come out, and we have to protect her from herself sometimes. Her effort is always great.”


  • The win moves Kent State’s record to 5-11 in the MAC and 12-16 overall. But the Flashes remain in 10th place in the MAC, and the math to move up to eighth and the final home seed for the MAC tournament is very difficult. The Flashes are a game behind Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois, who are tied for eighth. For KSU to get the eighth seed, it would have to win its last two games and NIU lose its last two. (If they tie, NIU gets the higher seed because it beat the Flashes twice.) The Huskies have tough games against Toledo and Western Michigan, but KSU has an ever tougher one Wednesday against 23-4 Buffalo.
  • Akron is 2-14 and 8-19 and tied with Bowling Green for last in the conference.
  • It was Stephens’ second Senior Day, perhaps a first in school history. She was honored last year before she graduated in May. Over the summer, Stephens decided  to come back for a redshirt season she had earned because she sat out a year after transferring from Michigan State. She’s a graduate student in criminal justice after getting a bachelor’s degree in public health. Is she glad she came back despite a season that hasn’t had nearly as many wins as last year? “Absolutely,” Stephens said. “I would have regretted it for the rest of my life if I hadn’t.”
  • Both Korinek and Stephens had scholarship offers from Akron and Kent State. “It’s always nice to beat Akron,” Stephens has said. Her mother played for the Zips in the 1990s.
  • Starkey started all four of his seniors. Point guard Naddiyah Cross had three points, three rebounds and four assists. She ranks 10th in career assists in KSU history. It was the first start for Zenobia Bess in her two years at Kent State. (She transferred from Illinois State.)  Bess had four rebounds, two steals and an assist in a career-high 18 minutes. On Wednesday, she had a career-high six points and seven rebounds at Ohio.
  • Junior Tyra James got her first start of the season. She had two points, three rebounds, two assists and a block in 21 minutes. On Wednesday, she had a season-high 15 points and a career-high three blocked shots.
  • Kent State outrebounded Akron 44-34, the 13th time this season the Flashes have ourebounded their opponents by at least 10. KSU made 33 percent of its shots (20 of 60 but just two of 10 in the fourth quarter). Akron was 20 of 63 for 32 percent. KSU made 15 of 16 free throws, Akron 11 of 15.
  • Forward Haliegh Reinoehl led Akron with nine points. Guards Shaunay Edmonds and Destiny Perkins, who combined for 34 points against Kent in the game at Akron, had a total of eight on one of 16 shooting.
  • Attendance wasn’t announced but looked to be about 800. That would be the biggest crowd of the season.

Box score

Other MAC scores

  • Central Michigan (15-1, 23-4) 78, Western Michigan (7-9, 14-14) 62 at Western.
  • Buffalo (14-2, 23-4) 70, Ohio (9-7, 15-12) 53 at Buffalo.
  • Ball State (12-4, 23-4) 78, Toledo (8-8, 17-11) 73 at Ball State.
  • Miami (10-6, 18-9) 92, Bowling Green (2-14, 10-17) 64 at Miami.
  • Northern Illinois (6-10, 14-13) 84, Eastern Michigan (6-10, 10-17) 75 at Eastern.



Seniors lead Flashes past Akron on Senior Day, 60-55

McKenna Stephens and Jordan Korinek both had double-doubles to lead Kent State past Akron, 60-55, at the M.A.C. Center Saturday.

The two forwards have played together for four years. Korinek had 16 points and 10 rebounds against Akron; Stephens had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Korinek is a true senior and the No. 6 scorer in Kent State history. Stephens is a grad student, having gotten her degree in May. She returned because she had a year of eligibility left after transferring from Michigan State. Both players chose Kent State over offers from Akron when they were deciding on colleges.

The Flashes, who lost to Akron 76-60 in January, controlled Saturday’s game through three quarters, then held off an Akron rally that made it a two-point game with a minute to go.

Junior guard Alexa Golden made five of six foul shots in the fourth quarter and had 14 points overall.

The win breaks a five-game losing streak for Kent State, which is 5-11 in the MAC and 11-16 overall. The Flashes remain in 10th in the MAC. Akron is 2-14 and 8-19.

Box score


Flashes look for revenge when they host Akron in Senior Day at the M.A.C.C.

On Jan. 27, Akron pretty much ran Kent State off the court in the fourth quarter, outscoring KSU 28-18 on the way to a 76-60 victory.

It may have been the low point of a Kent State season without a lot of high points. At that time, Akron hadn’t won a league game. Kent State went into the game with hopes of climbing back into contention in the MAC.

Since that game, both teams have lost five of six games. The Flashes are pretty much out of contention for even a home game in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

Saturday Kent State (4-11 in the MAC, 11-16 overall) gets a chance to avenge the Akron loss in a 2 p.m. game at the M.A.C. Center. Akron is 2-13 and 8-18.

In the first Akron game, the Zips pushed the ball hard in transition, outscoring KSU 14-0 on fast-break points. They had nine steals and outscored the Flashes 13-2 off turnovers.

Turnovers and fast-break baskets have hurt Kent State throughout the season, though the Flashes actually outscored Ohio off turnovers in their 79-78 loss in Athens Wednesday.\

That game was KSU’s best in a month, and coach Todd Starkey said he expects that kind of play to carry over to the Akron game.

“We’ll be ready,” the coach said in his postgame interview Wednesday. “These girls are going to take the momentum of how hard they fought in this game, and I expect us to play well.”

Jordan Korinek continues to lead the Flashes in scoring at 20.7 points a game (22.3 in MAC games). Both figures are second in the conference by about a point per game to Courtney Woods of Northern Illinois. Korinek is third nationally in made foul shots and seventh in free-throw attempts.

The senior forward scored 26 at Ohio and is up to 1,711 in her career. That’s sixth all time for the Flashes. She’s 17 points behind Ann Forbes for fifth and 88 behind Lindsay Shearer for fourth with at least four games to play. Ahead of Forbes and Shearer are three 2,000-point scorers in Amy Sherry, Tracey Lynn and Bonnie Beachy.

Akron is led guards sophomore Shaunay Edmonds, who averages 11.5 points a game, and freshman Destiny Perkins, who averages 8.0. Perkins had her best collegiate game against Kent State in January, scoring 19 points with four assists and two steals. Forward Haliegh Reinoehl leads the Zips in rebound at 8.8 rebounds per game (fourth in the MAC) and averages 7.5 points.

The game is Senior Day for the Flashes. Korinek, McKenna Stephens, Naddiyah Cross and Zenobia Bess will be honored before the game. It’s actually the second senior day for Stephens, who also was honored last season. She graduated in May but still had  eligibility remaining because she sat out a year as a transfer. She returned to the team as a graduate student this season.

The game is also part of the Wagon Wheel Challenge, which matches the two schools in all sports. Saturday is worth a half point (because the teams play twice in basketball). Akron leads 4.0-2.0 this season.

To follow the game

Action starts at 2 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center. The men’s game against Bowling Green will follow at 6 p.m., but it’s not technically a doubleheader. You’ll need separate tickets for both games.

Video is through the KSU website. (For the second straight weak, the game is not on ESPN3.)

Audio starts at about 1:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio and WHLO.

Live statistics will be available through the Kent State website.

Preview from the Kent State website, including links to statistics, roster, schedule/results, record book and more.

Preview from the Akron website, including links. Detailed media game notes.

MAC statistics, including standings.