Flashes falter despite Thames’ career-high

Ian Kreider

Kent State’s (11-12, 4-7) struggles started at the beginning of their Saturday matchup against Northern Illinois (11-11, 3-8).

The Flashes shot just 6-for-19 from the field in the first quarter. Defensively they weren’t much better, allowing 19 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Senior forward Jordan Korinek could only muster four points on 2-for-5 shooting.

Kent State bounced back in the second quarter, scoring 14 points on 5-for-11 from the field. Graduate student forward McKenna Stephens scored five points shooting 2-for-4 from the field. Korinek was limited to just 2 points in the quarter (1-for-2 shooting).

Northern Illinois scored with ease in the first half, as they have many games this season. They have the third-highest scoring offense in the Mid-American Conference (78.7 ppg). Their leading scorer is MAC scoring leader Courtney Woods, who sliced through the Flashes’ defense. She finished the first half with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

The Flashes trailed 32-27 at the half.

Kent State scored 20 points in the third quarter, but were not able to cut the lead. The team gave up 23 points in the third quarter. Sophomore guard Megan Carter scored 11 points in the quarter, helping keep the Flashes close.

Korinek played just two minutes in the quarter due to foul trouble. Heading into the fourth she had scored just eight points.

“They knew they could not get up on us and guard us man-to-man because of Jordan,” coach Todd Starkey said. “Teams that have sagged on us when we have settled for contested threes and not made them have had success against us.”

The Flashes finished the game 4-for-23 from three. Korinek finished with just 14 points. This is only the sixth game she has finished with under fifteen points, and the second time this season against a MAC opponent.

Coming into Saturday’s game Kent State was second in the MAC in points allowed per game (64.9 ppg). They struggled heavily in transition against the Huskies.

“We had long misses on three’s which resulted in less offensive rebounds and more transition opportunities for them,” Starkey said. We did not defend well in transition.”

Kent State had two players step up on Saturday. Megan Carter and freshman guard Erin Thames had their best games of the season. Carter took over in the third quarter, but the fourth belonged to Thames. She scored five of her career high 13 points in the fourth, and hit a timely three to keep it close.

“It is no secret that the game usually goes to the aggressor,” Starkey said. “We started playing aggressive in the third quarter. Instead of settling for three’s we started getting downhill, driving the basketball and getting open looks.”

Northern Illinois went on to win the game 72-62 behind Woods’ 21 points, snapping their seven game losing streak.

Kent State continues their season at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Buffalo.

Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]