Edmonds facilitates, Akron beats Flashes for first conference win

Junior guard Alexa Golden is fouled as she drives to the rim in a 75-60 loss at Akron’s James A. Rhodes Arena Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. 

Ian Kreider

Akron was without its leading scorer, junior guard Megan Sefcik, for the sixth straight game; they came into Saturday’s contest against Kent State 0-5 in those games.

Shaunay Edmonds decided to change that.

The sophomore guard led the offense in a fast-paced game in which she penetrated, scored and rarely turned the ball over. She finished with 15 points, nine assists and only two turnovers as the Zips beat Kent State, 75-60, for their first Mid-American Conference win of the season.

Akron (7-13, 1-8 MAC) dominated most of the game with guard play and tough defense, and Kent State (10-11, 3-6 MAC) was unable to respond.

“We did not do a very good job of guarding the basketball,” coach Todd Starkey said. “They broke us down at the top, and our defensive rotations were not very good on the backside.”

The Flashes were able to keep the game within reach due to rebounding, second-chance points and Jordan Korinek.

Kent State shot just 29 percent from the field, but outrebounded Akron, 51-42, including 21 offensive rebounds to the Zips’ seven.

The Flashes also dominated the second-chance points, 20-3.

Korinek had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting and 10 rebounds; however, she only attempted two foul shots all game. Kent State did not attempt any foul shots in the first half for the second time this season. The Flashes attempted 38 foul shots in their win at Toledo Wednesday (30-for-38), and Korinek attempted 18, only missing one.

“There is obviously some glaring stats: Our field goal percentage and transition defense were not very good,” Starkey said. “Also, they had 19 assists on nine turnovers, which is hard to overcome.”

The Flashes were able to keep it close until 3:25 left in the game when Korinek fouled out of the game. She scored the last field goal with 3:49 left, and after that the team’s points came exclusively from the foul line.

Korinek scored nine of the Flashes 11 points in the first quarter before foul trouble and tough interior defense limited her impact on the game.

Kent State struggled both defensively and offensively when Korinek was on the bench after fouling out. The Flashes scored only five points (all from the foul line) and allowed Akron to score 11 points to put the game out of reach. Most of the 11 points came on open layups or foul shots.

“At the end of the game, we kept tipping the ball around and shooting layups, but it seemed like the ball just kept climbing out,” Starkey said. “We can’t fight just at certain moments of the game; we have to for 40 minutes, and I thought that Akron did that much better than we did.”

Akron’s bench played a large role in the team’s success, outscoring the Flashes’ bench, 38-11. The Zips also shot 47 percent from the floor and had 13 points off Kent State’s 13 turnovers. Akron was also able to get out in transition often, especially late in the game; the Zips outscored Kent, 14-0, in fast break points.

The Flashes continue their season Wednesday, Jan. 31, when they play Bowling Green. The Falcons (10-10, 2-7 MAC) are currently fifth in the MAC East. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center.

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