No. 14 Stanford women’s basketball pulls away late after Kent State keeps it close

Scott Lendak

When the Kent State women’s basketball team matched up against No. 14 Stanford, the 25-point difference in the final score didn’t tell the full story.

Kent State played better than the Cardinal at times, but ultimately the No. 14 team in the country asserted their dominance.

“Anybody who was here and watched the game knows it was closer than a 25-point game,” coach Todd Starkey said. “We learned some things about ourselves, and I was happy with our toughness. In spots, we outplayed them, no question about it. But over the course of the game, their size and talent kind of caught up with us.”

The Flashes lost the first quarter by just two points and outscored Stanford 16-9 in the third quarter. The key momentum swing was a 24-0 run for the Cardinals in the second quarter, which erased a five point Kent State lead.

“I was pleased with that run late in the first quarter and the start of the second quarter to go up,” Starkey said. “ We showed we can play through some mistakes and come back. Then Stanford gave us their best shot and we crawled back to cut it to 11 points at the end of the third quarter.”

The difference in size was undeniable. The Cardinal front-court consisted of 6-foot-4 Alanna Smith and 6-foot-3 Kaylee Johnson. Stanford used size to their advantage and outscored the Flashes 40-10 in the paint.

The Flashes knew that size would be a problem

The other area in which the Cardinal dominated was bench points. They took 30 three-point shots, a number they totaled in their last two games combined. They shot the ball well and made 11 to keep the game competitive.

Senior forward Jordan Korinek highlighted the Flashes’ spirited performance. She finished with 21 points and five rebounds to continue her hot start to the season.

“I’m happy with how our team paid attention to the scouting report,” Starkey said. “We wanted to look for Jordan [Korinek] to provide a little bit more perimeter scoring. We got her some looks on threes, and she shot the ball well.”

Sophomore guard Ali Poole was productive with 14 points and a career-high six rebounds.

The other facet of the game that the Cardinal’s dominated was bench production. The Flashes scored just four bench points, while Stanford tallied 25 from their non-starters.

As Kent State made just one of its final 10 shots, the Cardinal finished the game on a 20-5 run to win the game 79-54.

“I thought we really competed and made Stanford play,” Starkey said.  “We have a group of seniors that have pride. They want things to go well for them their senior year.”

The Flashes will continue in the “Play4Kay Showcase” when they take on Gonzaga Friday at 6 p.m.

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].