Kent State steps up defensively in upset of MAC favorite Ohio

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Junior forward Jordan Korinek of the Kent State women’s basketball team drives to the basket during a game on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 in the M.A.C Center.

Henry Palattella

After the Kent State women’s basketball team’s narrow 98-97 loss to Northern Illinois University on Wednesday, head coach Todd Starkey empathized how he felt that the Flashes needed to step up their game, especially on the defensive end.

The Flashes (8-9, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) seemed to take heed of Starkey’s words on Saturday, as they overcame some early offensive struggles and came up with some key late defensive stops to upset two-time MAC champion Ohio University (10-3, 3-1 MAC) 68-65.

“I couldn’t be more proud — (especially) after how disappointed we were after the Northern Illinois game — to come back here and show some incredible heart by our players,” Starkey told Kent State Athletics after the game. “I’m really proud of our effort. It was the best defensive game of the season for us and a heck of a win.”

The Bobcats still managed to shoot 42 percent from the field, but the Flashes forced the Bobcats to commit 22 turnovers, with sophomore Alexa Golden leading the charge with six steals. The Flashes were able limit the Bobcats to only eight points in the second quarter, leading them to going into the break with a slim 27-26 lead.

Both teams scored 21 points in the third quarter, but the Bobcats started the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run and took a 56-50 lead with 8:23 lead. The Flashes needed only two possessions to tie the game back up, as they used three-pointer by Golden and senior Larissa Lurken to tie the game up at 60.

The Flashes took a 62-60 lead with 3 minutes left on a layup by junior Jordan Korinek, which was a lead that they would never surrender.

Bobcats guard juniorTaylor Agler managed to get to the free-throw line with 10 seconds left and her team down 66-65, but she missed the second free-throw.

Lurken made two free throws with three seconds left, and Bobcats redshirt freshman guard Katie Barker air balled a three-pointer at the buzzer, which sent the Flashes into a frenzy.

Korinek stepped up in a big way for the Flashes, scoring 24 points to go along with five rebounds. Lurken — who called the Flashes’ loss to the Huskies one of the toughest losses in her time at Kent State — only managed to go 3-18 from the field, but was still able to score 19 points thanks to 10-12 shooting from the free-throw line.

The Flashes will be back in action on Wednesday, when they travel to Western Michigan University at 7 p.m.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected]