‘Superwoman’ Hooks’ hands Flashes second loss to Ohio in as many weeks

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Junior guard Alexa Golden drives through the Bowling Green defense during Kent State’s 81-57 victory Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. [FILE]

Ian Kreider

Kent State (11-16, 4-10 Mid-American Conference) was looking for a spark to ignite its season, but that light grew ever more dim after Wednesday night’s loss in Athens.

The Flashes lost a barn burner, 79-78, to Ohio (15-11, 9-6 MAC), in which the team showed glimpses of offensive efficiency. They finished the game shooting 45 percent from the floor. However, they shot just 5-for-17 from behind the three-point arc.

The Flashes had a crucial defensive stop that allowed them one final possession with 17 seconds left in the game.

“We were trying to run a back-screen play to get Jordan the ball at the basket, but they switched it and took it away,” Kent State coach Todd Starkey said. “We still had McKenna (Stephens) open on the stepout. Then we tried to do an iso play, and they took that away, but we actually ended up getting a good shot. McKenna got a good look at it, and Megan Carter got the rebound and kind of rushed the putback.”

The Bobcats shot the ball well all game, finishing at 50 percent from the field, while knocking down nine of their 22 attempts from three-point range.

Kent State currently ranks fifth in the MAC in points allowed per game (66.2 ppg), but the Flashes have allowed opponents to score 78 points or more three times over their five-game losing streak.

Senior forward Jordan Korinek finished with a game-high 26 points, shooting a perfect 9-for-9 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Junior guard Tyra James finished with a season-high 15 points, knocking down six of her 11 shots; however, she finished with a team-high six turnovers. Junior guard Alexa Golden added 14 points, but finished the game shooting just 3-for-12 from the field.

The team finished the game with 20 or more turnovers for the ninth time this season. They are 2-7 in such games.

The Bobcats had four players in double-digits, one of whom was freshman guard Cierra Hooks. She was efficient, shooting 10-for-19 from the field for 21 points, while also tallying eight assists and nine steals.

“Hooks is going to be a problem for four years,” Starkey said. “She almost had a triple-double today with nine steals. We did not guard the ball well enough, especially with her.”

Hooks took over in the fourth quarter. She scored or assisted on 14 of the Bobcats’ 23 points.

“We had that momentum there for a little bit, but then all of a sudden Hooks just put on a Superwoman cape and just took over for about three or four minutes in the fourth quarter,” Starkey said.

The Flashes had only nine players suit up to play.

“We’re just kind of playing with a skeleton crew, but I was proud of their effort,” Starkey said of the limited team.

Kent State will look to end its losing streak at 2 p.m. Saturday at the M.A.C. Center against rival Akron (8-18, 2-13 MAC). The Zips beat the Flashes, 75-60, in their last meeting on Jan. 27 in a game where Kent State shot below 30 percent from the field.

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