Flashes look for second straight road victory at Miami Saturday

Bench celebrates

Flashes are tied for first place in MAC East with Ohio and Buffalo with 2-2 record but are sixth overall in the conference. Overall standings determine seeds for the MAC Tournament. (Photo from KSU website.)

Kent State (2-2 and tied for sixth in MAC, 9-6 overall) at Miami (1-3 and tied for ninth, 7-8 overall)

Game is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Millett Hall at Miami University in Oxford. It’s about a four-hour drive. Here are directions from the Miami website. Address is 500 E. Sycamore Street, Oxford, Ohio, if you need it for GPS.

General admission tickets are $8.50. Miami attendance averages 407, last in the MAC. Kent State home attendance is sixth at 1,450.

What’s at stake

It’s the second straight road game for Kent State, and if the Flashes could sweep the two, it’s significant. (They won at Northern Illinois 79- 71 Wednesday.) Road wins are tough to come by in the MAC, where visiting teams are 10-14 through the first four games of the league season. In all games, MAC teams are 36-45 on the road and 52-24 at home.

Miami won 23 games last season and finished fourth in the MAC. This season has been harder under new coach Deunna Hendrix. The Redhawks have yet to beat a team with a winning record. Their only MAC win is against Northern Illinois (0-4 MAC, 4-11 overall).  If Miami is going to make any impact in the MAC season, it’s going to have to start winning.

Over 43 years of play, Miami has won 46 games, Kent State 45. But Miami has won seven of last eight at home and is 31-10 against Kent State in Oxford. 

What to watch

Miami has two returning all-MAC players. Guard Lauren Dickerson is fourth in the MAC in scoring at 16.6 points a game, eighth in assists (3.7) and third in steals (2.7). Forward Savannah Kluesner is third in rebound (8.7), first in blocked shots (1.7) and 14th in scoring (13.6), Freshman Peyton Scott, who scored more than 2,200 points in high school, and has started every game this season and averages 12.4 points a game.

Against Northern Illinois Wednesday, Kent State posted excellent numbers in field goal percentage, assists, bench scoring and points off turnovers. Those categories are key to winning for the Flashes. They struggled with NIU’s press late in the game; Miami may try to test the Flashes with that tactic.

The Flashes have won two games in a row without Megan Carter, last year’s leading scorer and the only senior in the starting lineup. She has mononucleosis, and there’s no anticipated date for her return. In those two wins, the Flashes have found more bench scoring than they’ve had all season, led by Hannah Young’s 21 points. Wednesday’s starting lineup had three freshmen and two sophomores. Young is also a sophomore.

Team comparisons

  • RPI: Kent State 116 of 351 Division I teams. Miami 182. (RPI is based on a team’s record and schedule strength.)
  • Power rankings: Kent State 121. Miami 206. (Adds factors like injuries, margin of victory, record in recent games.)
  • Kent State road record: 3-2. Miami home record: 4-1.
  • Scoring average: KSU third in MAC at 72.1 points per game. Miami sixth at 70.4.
  • Defensive average: KSU eighth at 68.2. Miami 11th at 70.6.
  • Field-goal percentage: KSU 10th at 39.1 (sixth on 3-pointers at 31.1%). Miami 11th at 39.5 (12th one 3s at 26.5).
  • Field-goal defense: KSU 11th at 41.9 (last on 3s at 36.6%). Miami last at 44.1 (eight on 3s at 31.7).
  • Rebounding margin: KSU 10th at -1.3. Miami 11th at -2.8.
  • Turnover margin: KSU third at +4.1. Miami second at +4.2. KSU eighth in steals at 7.9. Miami second at 10.4.
  • Blocked shots: Kent State first at 4.1. Miami second at 3.9.

Top players

Kent State

  • 6-2 freshman forward Nila Blackford (13.9 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 0.7 blocks).
  • 5-4 sophomore guard Asiah Dingle (12.6 points, 3.7 assists, 2.1 steals).
  • 5-11 freshman guard Katie Shumate (11.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 1.5 steals).
  • 6-2 sophomore forward Lindsey Thall (11.2 points, fifth in MAC in 3-point percentage at 39.3, second in MAC in blocked shots at 1.7).

Miami

  • 5-3 senior guard Lauren Dickerson (16.6 points, 3.7 assists, 2.7 steals).
  • 6-2 senior Savannah Kluesner (13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks).
  • 5-8 freshman guard Peyton Scott (12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists).

Following the game at home

Video stream on ESPN3 starts at game time at 2 p.m. It’s free if you have a subscription to ESPN on cable, satellite or on the ESPN app.

Audio starts at about 1:45 p.m. on WHLO 640 and Golden Flash iHeart Radio.  David Wilson is the announcer.

Live statistics will be on the Miami website during the game.

Links

Kent State website, with links to roster, statistics schedule and more.

Miami website, with links.

MAC statistics.

MAC standings.

 

Big numbers in assists and points off turnovers give KSU a solid report card

Women's logoExcellent numbers in assists, points off turnovers, bench scoring and shooting percentage give the Flashes a good report card — and a road victory at Northern Illinois.

Kent State 79, Northern Illinois 71


GAME STORY: Hannah Young joins 3 starters in double figures in win


Score 70 points on offense: 79, the Flashes’ most against a Division I team since Jan. 3. Kent State is now 8-0 when scoring more than 70, ACHIEVED.

Hold opponent under 70: 71. Northern scored 15 point in the final three minutes, which blew this benchmark out of the books. NOT QUITE.

Make 40% of shots: 45.5%, KSU’s fourth best of the season and the best in conference play by six percentage points. Flashes are 4-0 this season and 25-4 under coach Todd Starkey when shooting about 45%. Northern is fifth in the conference in field goal defense at 40.1%. ACHIEVED.

Hold opponent under 40%: 42%. It was the first time in seven games an opponent had made better than 40%. Northern’s field goal defense had been last in the conference at 37%. NOT ACHIEVED.

Outscore opponent by five on free throws: Northern Illinois 20 of 26, Kent State 12 of 18. It’s the first game this season that the Flashes have shot fewer free throws and still won. In the Starkey era, they’re 9-25. But the next three numbers more than made up for it. NOT ACHIEVED.

Outscore opponent by five off of turnovers: +15. The Flashes scored a season-high 33 points off of 24 NIU turnovers. NIU scored 18 — 12 in the fourth quarter — off 15 Kent turnovers. ACHIEVED IN A BIG WAKY.

Have 14 assists: 18, equaling their season high against a Division I team (Robert Morris). Flashes had assists on 60% of their 30 baskets, also a season high. ACHIEVED.

Get 10 points from the bench: 21, highest of the season. The was led by sophomore Hannah Young, who’s 14 off the bench was the first time a reserve has scored in double figures this season. (That doesn’t count the two or three games when starters came off the bench within minutes.) ACHIEVED.

BOTTOM LINE: A win and a B+. Numbers would have been even higher except for KSU’s struggles at the end of the second half.

Kent State statistics

MAC women’s ‘golf’ standings

Kent State was the only team to win on the road Wednesday, so the Flashes moved to even par for the season.

There still were some exciting games.

Western Michigan forward Leighah-Amori Wool made a layup off of in inbounds pass in the final seconds to give the Broncos a 73-72 victory in Kalamazoo. It was the second loss in four games for Ohio, the preseason MAC favorite.

Central Michigan scored a surprisingly easy 66-39 win over Ball State in a game between the last two undefeated teams in MAC play. The Chippewas held Ball State to 14 points in the second half.

Buffalo came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Bowling Green 65-59.  Freshman Dyaisha Fair, the overwhelming leader for MAC freshman of the year, had 26 points for the Bulls and is averaging 23.3 points a game. Buffalo is 47-0 over the last three years when holding an opponent below 60 points.

Toledo beat Akron 65-61. The Rockets led by 19 late in the third quarter when Akron went on a 25-4 run to take the lead with for minutes to go. But Toledo responded with a 9-0 run.

Eastern Michigan scored 29 points in the first quarter and went on to a 80-53 win over Miami. 6-5 junior center Autumn Hudson had 14 points and led the Eagles in scoring for the second time in her career.

In traditional standings, Buffalo, Ohio and Kent State are tied for first in the West at 2-2. Central is 4-0 and Ball State, Eastern, Toledo and Western are 3-1. In the MAC tournament started today, the West would have the top five seeds.

The “golf” standings concept is stolen from a regular on the Flash Fanatics bulletin board, who has done this for men’s basketball for several years.

It gives a team -1 for a road win (a “birdie”) and adds a point for a home loss (a “bogey.” A home win or road loss gets zero (“par”).

The golf standings

-2

  • Central Michigan (4-0, 11-4)

-1

  • Ball State (3-1, 11-5)
  • WMU (3-1, 10-5)
  • EMU (3-1, 8-7)
  • Ohio (2-2, 9-6)
  • Buffalo (2-2, 11-4)

Even

  •  Toledo (3-1, 8-7)
  • Kent State (2-2, 9-6)

+1

  • Akron (1-3, 8-7)
  • Miami (1-3, 8-8)

+2

  • Bowling Green (0-4, 7-9)
  • Northern Illinois (0-4, 4-11)

Regular MAC standings

MAC statistics

Hannah Young joins 3 starters in double figures to help KSU to 79-71 road win

Hannah file

Hannah Young matched her career highs of 14 points and eight rebounds in Kent State’s 79-71 win over Northern Illinois. (File photo from KSU website.)

Hannah Young has started to give Kent State the bench scoring the team has sought all season.

The sophomore from Forest, Virginia, played her best game in a KSU uniform Wednesday, scoring 14 points and hitting four foul shots in the last 30 seconds as the Flashes beat Northern Illinois 79-71 on the road. Young also led Kent State in rebounding with eight. She made four-of-seven shots, two-of-three 3-point shots and had two assists and a steal in 20 minutes.

The victory gave the Flashes their first road win of the MAC season and evens KSU’s record in the MAC at 2-2. The Flashes are 9-6 overall. Northern Illinois is 0-4 in the league and 4-11 overall. the Huskies have lost six straight games.

“She came through really, really good,” coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame interview with David Wilson on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “She has a lot of family that live about 15 minutes from here, and her mom flew up here for the game. So I’m really happy that Hannah was able to have a good game in front of her family. We really needed her down the stretch, and I was pleased with how she played throughout the game.”

Kent State had seen an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter dwindle to four with 53 seconds to play. In the last 30 seconds, Young grabbed three rebounds and hit four-of-six foul shots. Those four points were Kent State’s only scoring in the last two minutes.

Before then, the Flashes had been in control since the middle of the second quarter. KSU scored the last eight points of the second quarter and had run its lead to 73-56 with 2:09 to play.

But NIU went on a 15-2 run, including 11 points in a row to close the score to 75-71. Kent State missed all five of its shots in that time and committed four turnovers in the face of a Northern Illinois press.

“We went into panic mode a little bit and threw it around and turned it over like it was our job down the stretch,” Starkey said. “We started playing tentative, running away from the ball. We had guards that didn’t want it in their hands late and post players that kind of disappeared on the glass.

“But we found a way to win. And any road win in the league is a good win. Northern Illinois is much better than their record and a dangerous team.”

Young’s 14 points came after she scored seven in Kent State’s victory over Western Michigan on Saturday. She helped Kent State to 21 bench points, their most of the season against a Division I team. The Flashes have had five games this season where its entire bench scored five points or fewer.

The Flashes also got good scoring from point guard Asiah Dingle, who had 20 points, and forward Nila Blackford, who had 19. Katie Shumate had 11 and was second to Young with seven rebounds.

Dingle had five steals to lead a Kent State defense that forced 24 turnovers and converted them to 33 points. That’s the most points off turnovers for Kent State this season. KSU’s 13 steals were its third highest of the season.

 

Box score

Notes

  • In his pregame interview, Starkey said senior guard Megan Carter had mononucleosis. She missed her second-straight game, and Starkey had no timetable for her return. Freshman Clare Kelly started in her place.
  • Starkey also said that senior Ali Poole had torn her ACL against Western Michigan and was done for the season. Poole had injured the knee in summer practice. She never got back to full strength, and she hurt it again diving for a ball against WMU
  • Kent State had 18 assists on its 30 baskets, equaling its highest total of the season against a Division I team. (The Flashes had 25 against Division III Hiram.) Blackford and Shumate each had four, Dingle and guard Mariah Modkins three and Young two.
  • The Flashes made 45.5% of their baskets, second highest of the season against Division I. Dingle’s nine baskets in 15 attempts (60%) was her best percentage of the season, again aside from the Hiram game.
  • Led by Blackford’s inside scoring and Dingle’s drives to the basket, Kent State overwhelmed NIU in scoring in the paint 42-22.
  • Eight Kent State players saw more than 13 minutes of action for the second game in a row and second time this season (other than Hiram).
  • Kent State had lost its last five games at Northern Illinois.
  • The Huskies hit nine-of-19 three-point attempts, its best percentage of the season. Senior Courtney Woods, a preseason all-MAC West selection, had 25 points and four 3-pointers. But she had seven turnovers.

Kent State is back on the road Saturday at Miami.

The view from Northern Illinois

Coach Lisa Carlsen, quote on the team’s website:

“Anytime you turn the ball over 24 times you just put your team in a tough position, especially playing from behind.”

“I loved the fight and resiliency that we showed down the stretch and giving ourselves a chance when it seemed like maybe we wouldn’t have a chance. I think that’s something we can build on.”

On NIU’s press in the last minutes of the game: “We had to do something to speed them up and increase possessions. I thought our aggressiveness, really at all five spots, was critical. We did a great job of closing traps and being aggressive out of it.”

Other MAC scores

  • Central Michigan (4-0 MAC, 11-4 overall) 66, Ball State (3-1, 11-5) 39 at Central.
  • Western Michigan (3-1, 10-5) 73, Ohio (2-2, 9-6) 72 at Western.
  • Eastern Michigan (3-1, 8-7) 80, Miami (1-3, 8-8) 53 at Eastern.
  • Buffalo (2-2, 11-4) 65, Bowling Green (0-4, 7-9) 59 at Buffalo.
  • Toledo (3-1, 8-7) 65, Akron (1-3, 8-7) 61 at Toledo.

MAC standings.

Flashes, still adjusting to young lineup, travel to last-place Northern Illinois

Dingle vs WMU

Asiah Dingle scored 17 points and had four assists against Western Michigan. Her aggressive drives to the basket in the first quarter helped give KSU a 19-12 lead.

One of the biggest challenges this season, coach Todd Starkey has said repeatedly, is meshing a starting lineup that includes two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior.

In Saturday’s 75-63 win over Western Michigan, it was three freshmen and two sophomores. Freshman guard Clare Kelly started in place of senior Megan Carter, who is out with nagging upper-respiratory problems.

In the post-WMU press conference, Starkey and freshman Katie Shumate talked about the issue.

“We’ve got a roster full of really good players and pieces to do some really nice things,” Starkey said. “It’s just a matter of finding a way. There’s a learning curve here. We’ve been playing against a teams with a lot of experience.

“And conference play is different. Every game, every possession is a battle.  We have three freshmen playing major minutes, and they don’t really know how that looks until they get in the middle of it and learn from it.

One adjustment is how point guard Asiah Dingle and the freshmen to adjust to each other.

“It’s tough for a point guard where you have three players in the court that you didn’t play with last year,” Starkey said. “So she’s relearning a little bit.

“And they haven’t played with Asiah either. Asiah is different to play with in most point guards because she’s always trying to create. So sometimes our players off the ball get stuck just watching what she’s going to do next instead of moving off of her. I thought we did better at that today and she did a good job of looking for people.”

Shumate said learning to communicate at the college level has been one of the biggest adjustments.

“I have to talk more, connect with my teammates and just learn what everyone can do,” she said. “In high school, I didn’t have a lot of post players, so it’s looking for Linny and Nila (forwards Lindsey Thall and Nila Blackford) and getting them involved to where they can score.

“And it’s learning to play off Asiah. A lot of times people come into college having had a ball in their hands most of the time. So it’s different now, not having the ball so much.”

The Flashes head to Northern Illinois for a Wednesday game. Here’s the preview:

Kent State (1-2 MAC, 8-6 overall) at Northern Illinois (0-3, 4-10)

7 p.m. Kent time Wednesday at the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. (That’s 6 p.m. in Illinois.) It’s a long, long way — about six and a half hours straight went in Interstate 80. KSU teams often fly to Chicago and bus the last 90 minutes to NIU. Here are directions from the Northern website. Reserved seats at $8, general admission $5. The NIU women have averaged about 700 fans per game, 10th in the MAC. Kent State is sixth at 1,450.

What’s at stake

Northern Illinois has had a disappointing season to date. It was picked a close second to Central Michigan in the preseason coach’s poll and has five starters back. But the Huskies have the worst record, worst RPI and worst power rating. They’ve lost all three all three MAC games, including one at home, and five games in a row.

Kent State has a chance for a precious road victory in the league. Flashes are coming off one of their best games of season in Saturday’s 12-point win over Western Michigan.

But NIU has talent. Eventually Huskies are going to put together a good game.

What to watch

Northern Illinois forward Courtney Woods, a redshirt senior who missed almost all last season with an injury, has scored more than 20 points six times this season. She’s NIU’s career leader in 3-point shots and the school’s fourth biggest career scorer.

But no other player averages in double figures. Northern had been one of the league’s top scoring teams over the last three years; this season they’re last. They’re also last in scoring defense.

Kent State played two games at home last weekend. The Flashes got off to a terrible start in their 74-69 loss to Eastern Michigan. They got off to a very good start in the win over Western. KSU got its best bench game of the season and its best game from freshman Kelly, who hit two-of-five 3-point shots. Kent also had assists on 11 of 22 baskets.

So watch how the Flashes start, whether they’re scoring off passes and whether Kelly and the bench are playing well.

Team comparisons

  • RPI: Kent State 123 of 351 Division I teams. Northern Illinois 213. (RPI is based on a team’s record and schedule strength.)
  • Power rankings: Kent State 128. NIU 253. (Also adds things like injuries, margin of victory, record in recent games.)
  • Kent State road record: 2-2. NIU home record: 1-4.
  • Scoring average: KSU third in MAC at 71.6 per game. NIU last at 63.1.
  • Defensive average: KSU eighth at 68.0. NIU last at 71.4.
  • Field-goal percentage: KSU 11th at 38.6 (sixth on 3-pointers at 31.1%). NIU last at 36.8 (seventh at 26.5).
  • Field-goal defense: KSU 11th at 42.5 (last on 3s at 35.6%). NIU fifth at 39.8 (second on 3s at 31.5).
  • Rebounding margin: KSU 10th at -1.4. NIU ninth at -1.3.
  • Turnover margin: KSU third at +3.79. NIU 11th at -2.71. KSU eighth in steals at 7.57. NIU sixth at 8.50.
  • Blocked shots: KSU first at 4.29. NIU 11th at 1.86.

Top players

Kent State

  • 6-2 freshman forward Nila Blackford (13.6 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, 0.8 blocks).
  • 6-2 sophomore forward Lindsey Thall (11.6 points, 40.0 three-point percentage, 1.7 blocks).
  • 5-11 freshman guard Katie Shumate (11.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 1.5 steals).
  • 5-4 sophomore guard Asiah Dingle (12.1 points, 3.8 assists, 1.9 steals).

Northern Illinois

  • 6-0 senior forward Courtney Woods (16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists).
  • 6-1 junior forward Riley Blackwell (7.6 points, 5.6 rebounds).
  • 5-10 freshman guard Gracie Hunter (5.8 points, .489 shooting percentage).
  • 6-1 senior forward Ally May (4.5 points, 6.5 rebounds).

Following the game at home

Video on ESPN+ starts at 7 p.m. Kent time. Service costs $4.99 a month and includes about half of all MAC men’s and women’s games. Here’s link to game.

Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. David Wilson is the announcer.

Live statistics will be on the Northern Illinois website during the game.

Links

Kent State website, with links to roster, statistics schedule and more.

Northern Illinois website, with links.

MAC statistics.

MAC standings.

 

Flashes get a near-perfect report card on 75-63 win over Western Michigan

Modkins vs. WMU

Mariah Modkins helped lead a strong effort by Kent State’s bench players with six points and four assists.

The Flashes checked almost all the boxes in their win over Central Michigan. Here’s the report card.

Kent State 75, Western Michigan 63


GAME STORY: Big effort from Shumate and bench lead Flashes


Score 70 points on offense: ACHIEVED with 74 points. Kent State 7-0 this season when scoring 70. In coach Todd Starkey’s four years, Flashes are 37-11. KSU’s 75 points were also 15 above Western’s defensive average.

Hold opponent under 70: ALSO ACHIEVED at 63 points. Flashes are 6-3 when doing that. Two losses were first two games of season.

Make 40% of shots: 32.4%. One of two categories KSU didn’t make the grade. Second half shooting was just 26%.

Hold opponent under 40%: 34.8%. Western’s shooting wasn’t much better. Flashes have held last six opponents under 40 after allowing six of first eight opponents to shoot better In six of those games, opponents shot better than 45%. ACHIEVED.

Outscore opponent by five on free throws: An overwhelming 24-9. KSU is 7-1 when achieving this. Flashes are 5-0 when making more foul shots than their opponents attempts, which they did Saturday. WMU was nine of 12. Kent State was 24 of 30. ACHIEVED.

Outscore opponent by five off of turnovers: 17-7 Kent State. Flashes had only 10 turnovers, one off their season best. Western, which went into the game with the fewest turnovers in the MAC, had 14. ACHIEVED.

Have 14 assists: Flashes had 11. But they did in on just 22 baskets. Flashes had averaged just 44.7 assists on baskets for the season and just 30.1% in its first two MAC games. SO CALL IT ALMOST ACHIEVED.

Get 10 points from the bench: 15, their third highest of the season against Division I opposition. Outscored 15-6, the first time all year Flashes’ bench has outscored opponents’ against Division I competition. (They outscored Division III Hiram 29-8.

BOTTOM LINE: If their numbers approach this in most games, Flashes could be back in contention.

Kent State statistics

Around the MAC and ‘golf’ standings

Akron, Toledo and Ohio won on the road. Losers were Buffalo, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois.

Ball State and Central Michigan (both 3-0) both used big fourth quarters to remain the league’s only unbeaten teams in the conference with home wins. Ball State outscored previously unbeaten Eastern Michigan 21-10 in the last period to win 59-54. Central beat Miami 76-70, using a 20-5 run early in the fourth quarter. Michaela Kelly scored 29 points for Central. She’s been MAC West player of the week for four straight weeks.

Akron outscored Bowling Green 14-0 in the last 2:29 to win on the road. Senior Haliegh Reinoehl matched a career-high with 26 points to go with 10 rebounds.

Ohio came back from its home loss to Central Michigan last week to beat Buffalo 76-65 in Buffalo. Erica Johnson, last year’s MAC freshman of the year, had 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Toledo won its second straight game with a solid 63-51 win at Northern Illinois.

The “golf” standings concept is stolen from a regular on the Flash Fanatics bulletin board, who has done this for men’s basketball for several years.

It gives a team -1 for a road win (a “birdie”) and adds a point for a home loss (a “bogey.” A home win or road loss gets zero (“par”).

The golf standings

-2

  • Central Michigan (3-0, 10-4)

-1

  • Ball State (3-0, 11-4)
  • Ohio (2-1, 9-5)
  • Buffalo (1-2, 10-4)
  • WMU (1-2, 9-5)
  • EMU (1-2, 7-7)

Even

  •  Toledo (2-1, 7-7)

+1

  • Kent State (1-2, 8-6)
  • Akron (1-2, 8-6)
  • Miami (1-2, 8-7)
  • Northern Illinois (0-3, 4-10)

+2

  • Bowling Green (0-3, 7-8)

The official MAC standings

Ali Poole and The Knee

Senior Ali Poole, who has struggled with a knee injury all season, reinjured it Saturday when she dived for a loose ball in the second quarter. She had to be helped off the court and didn’t return, but she was walking on the sidelines later. Starkey said he hadn’t gotten a trainer’s report yet but thought she’d be back in action.

“I love the way that she went after that ball and didn’t try and protect herself,” Starkey said. “That’s fight. I appreciate that. We needed that play from her, and it contributed to our win without a doubt.

“Her knee is going to be that way throughout the season,” Starkey said. “She’s trying to strap that knee brace on and tough it out.”

Poole has started 33 games in her career and was the team’s fourth-leading scorer last season at 8.8 points a game.

Flashes get big effort from Shumate and bench to beat WMU 75-63

Shumate vs. WMU

Freshman Katie Shumate had a career-best 20 points against Western Michigan, along with eight rebounds.

In winning their first Mid-American Conference game of the season, the Kent State women:

  • Found the energy they didn’t have in a disappointing loss to Eastern Michigan earlier in the week.
  • Got the best performance of the year from the team’s bench.
  • Got a great night from from freshman Katie Shumate, who scored a career-high 20 points, made four 3-point baskets and led the team with eight rebounds.

It added up to a 75-63 win over Western Michigan, a team had won seven of eight games coming into the game, including its first two in the MAC.

Kent State is 1-2 in the league and 8-6 overall.

“We kind of laid an egg the other day in the first two quarters, and that wasn’t who we want to be,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I thought it was a much better effort. We fought from start to finish.”

The Flashes took a 19-12 lead after the first quarter and never trailed after that. On Wednesday, they missed their first eight shots and were behind 19-9 after a quarter.

“Everybody in the locker room decided that we’re going to come out with defense, and whatever happened, we were still going to have energy,” said backup point guard Mariah Modkins, who had six points and four assists. “The difference between today the other game was we didn’t get down on ourselves early.”

Starkey said Wednesday’s missed shots affected the team’s energy.

Saturday, he sad, “we missed baskets and still came down and did a really good job of defending.”

Modkins and Hannah Young led a bench attack that gave KSU to a 15-6 advantage over Western Michigan. In the middle of the fourth quarter, it was 15-0. It also was the first time this season Kent State’s reserves had outscored the opposition, except for the game against Division III Hiram.

“We have very capable players on the bench,” Starkey said, “but I think some of them get in their heads a little bit and aren’t quite ready to go in mentally. Today we talked about really being verbal on the bench so that your mind is engaged and that when you go in, you’re really prepared.”

Young had seven points, two rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes. When she was on the court, the Flashes outscored Western by 21 points. “She came in and brought energy and made some really timely, big plays,” Starkey said.

He said Modkins was a great complement to starting point guard Asiah Dingle.

“Mariah a lot of times is a calming force out there,” Starkey said. “Asiah lays her ears back and and goes a hundred miles an hour. That’s hard to defend.

“But also ball control is hard to defend when we need that. It’s really nice to have both options. I thought Mariah did a good job of staying within herself and taking good shots most of the time.”

Junior forward Monique Smith played a career-high 19 minutes and had four rebounds, a basket and a steal. “The stat line doesn’t show how hard she worked, but she’s in there trying to defend a really tough post player (all-MAC forward Breanna Mobley),” Starkey said.

Eight Flashes played at least 16 minutes, the first time this season (other than the Hiram game) that that has happened.

The bench was especially needed because senior guard Megan Carter, the team’s only upperclass starter and second-leading scorer, didn’t play. Starkey said she had been fighting an upper-respiratory infection for a month and it was unclear when she could get back in the lineup.

Star of the game for Kent was Shumate, who played 36 minutes (about her average, which is fourth highest in the MAC).

“I’ve been going through a little bit of a funk, but just time with my teammates and  playing off of them and with them helps,” Shumate said. “And I think staying in our heads. If you make a mistake, do the next right thing.

Starkey said she played a great game.

“I just told her, ‘Don’t think the game, just stay aggressive, and we’ll live with whatever mistakes you make,” the coach said.

Dingle had 17 points, eight on first-quarter drives that had Western back on its heels. For the game, she had four assists and no turnovers and drew eight fouls. “Fouls drawn is a big statistic that people don’t usually notice and eight fouls drawn is a big statistic for her,” Starkey said. “You put the other team in jeopardy.”

The Flashes led Western 43-27 at halftime. Leading scorer Nila Blackford had just two points. Third-leading scorer Lindsey Thall had zero. Carter wasn’t playing.

What would Starkey have thought if someone had told him his team would be 16 points ahead without the three scoring?

“It would have been like, ‘You’re probably a little crazy,” he said. “But at the same time, that’s what we’ve been talking about (with the players). You have to prepare every day for when your opportunity comes up.”

At halftime, Starkey said, the team agreed the first half “was fun.”

“How much more fun is it to play that way with energy and looking for each other” to set up plays, the coach asked them.

But he warned the team that Western Michigan was “going to be coming, and they’re going to be relentless. You have to answer that.”

The Broncos definitely came on in the third quarter. They made nine-of-14 shots and outscored KSU 28-14.

But in the fourth quarter, Kent State outscored Western 20-12, holding it to four-of-17 shooting.

Box score

Notes

  • Western had been leading the MAC in scoring defense at 60 points a game. KSU scored 15 more than that.
  • Kent State outscored Western off turnovers (17-7), on second-chance points (10-8) and on fast breaks (16-9). It outrebounded the Broncos, the fourth-best rebounding team in the conference, 45-41.
  • Thall had six points and just one basket, but that 3-pointer was the 100th of her career. She’s seven away from 10th on KSU’s all-time list, and Thall isn’t halfway through her sophomore season. She also blocked two shots Saturday.
  • Blackford had seven points and all seven of her rebounds in the second half. She also had two assists, a steal and a block.
  • Freshman Clare Kelly started in place of Carter and had her best game against a Division I team. She made two-of-five 3-pointers, scored eight points, had three rebounds and two steals.
  • Attendance was 1,052.

The Flashes are on the road next week, playing at Northern Illinois on Wednesday and Miami Saturday.

Other MAC scores

  • Ball State (3-0 MAC, 11-4 overall) 59, Eastern Michigan (2-1, 7-7) 54 at Ball State.
  • Ohio (2-1, 9-5) 76, Buffalo (1-2, 10-4) 65 at Buffalo.
  • Akron (1-2, 8-6) 76, Bowling Green (0-3, 7-8) 73 at BG.
  • Toledo (2-1, 7-7) 63, Northern Illinois (0-3, 4-10) at NIU.
  • Central Michigan (3-0, 10-4) 76, Miami (1-2, 8-7) 70 at Central.

MAC standings.

 

 

Surprising Western Michigan, 2-0 in MAC and 9-4 overall, visits M.A.C.C. Saturday

carter-1000.jpeg

Senior guard Megan Carter (with coach Todd Starkey) was honored before Wednesday’s game for becoming Kent State’s 22nd 1,000-point scorer. She hit that mark against St. Bonaventure in December and now has 1,089. (wbbFlashes.com photo.)

Western Michigan (9-4, 2-0 MAC) at Kent State (7-6, 0-6 MAC)

1 p.m. Saturday at the M.A.C. Center. General admission tickets are $5. Students are free with Kent State ID. It’s first game of a doubleheader with KSU men, who play Central Michigan a half hour after women finish. One ticket gets you in both games.

What’s at stake

At 0-2 in the MAC, Kent State desperately needs a win.

But this game looks a lot more challenging that it did a month ago. I don’t know whether the Flashes would even be favored despite its being a home game.

Western has won its first two conference games, including a 56-51 win at Akron Wednesday. It has won seven of its last eight. Before that streak, the Broncos’ RPI ranking was among the lowest in the MAC. RPI is a system that ranks team based on their record and strength of schedule. Road wins and home losses are weighted more heavily. Western was picked to finish last in the West.

Kent State lost 74-69 to Eastern Michigan at home Wednesday. Eastern led by eight to 12 points for most of the game until the last three minutes. The Flashes lost at Ball State 66-62 Saturday. Both Eastern and Ball State are 2-0 in the conference.


EASTERN MICHIGAN GAME REPORT CARD; Failure on shooting and assists.


“We’re losing close games and playing poorly,” coach Todd Starkey said after the EMU game. “So if there’s any constellation, it’s that we’re not playing well and we’re losing close games. There’s no excuse. But it gives us a significant amount of hope that if we can start playing well, we can beat anybody.

“There’s no magic formula or fairy dust you sprinkle, and all of a sudden something better. It’s not about coming up with new special plays or anything. It’s about working harder and being more disciplined and everybody buying into the process.

“There’s no gimmes in this league. It’s just literally going back to work. In conference play, unlike a non-conference play, you can’t rely on miracle game winners at the end.”

Kent State won two non-conference games in the last seconds, including a tip and basket off an inbounds play that beat Reobert Morris 82-81. The Flashes had trailed by six with 30 seconds to go.

“The MAC is totally different. Everybody’s seeing that and learning that,” KSU senior guard Megan Carter said Wednesday. “Our immaturity is showing a little bit. We let our mistakes snowball today, and they capitalized on it. We’re just beating ourselves right now. That’s really it.”

Carter is the team’s only upperclass starter. The other four are sophomores and freshmen.

What to watch

Western brings one of the MAC’s best post players in redshirt senior Breanna Mobley, who leads the MAC in rebounding at 10.5 a game, is fourth in blocked shots, sixth in field goal percentage and 13th in scoring. Fellow forward Leighah-Amori Wool is eighth in the league in rebounding.

Eastern pounded the Flashes on the boards Wednesday, outrebounding them 43-30. Western is third in the league in rebounding margin.

Watch whetherKent State is getting assists on baskets, a weakness through the last two seasons. And the Flashes need to get off to a good start. Wednesday they missed their first eight shots and trailed 19-9 after the first quarter.

Team comparisons

  • RPI: Kent State 130 of 351 Division I teams. Western Michigan 127.
  • Power rankings: Kent State 145. Western 114.
  • Kent State home record: 2-2. Western Michigan road record: 3-1.
  • Scoring average: KSU fourth in MAC at 71.4 per game. Western fifth at 71.3.
  • Defensive average: KSU eighth at 68.4. Western fourth at 64.6.
  • Field-goal percentage: KSU 39.1 (fifth on 3-pointers at 31.8%). Western ninth at 39.5 (12th at 26.5).
  • Field-goal defense: KSU 11th at 42.5 (last on 3s at 35.6%). Western fifth at 39.8 (second on 3s at 28.2).
  • Rebounding margin: KSU 10th at 1.8. Western third at +1.8.
  • Turnover margin: KSU third at +3.77. Western fourth at +3.31. KSU eighth in steals at 7.62. WMU third at 9.85.

Top players

Kent State

  • 6-2 freshman forward Nila Blackford (13.9 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks).
  • 5-7 senior guard Megan Carter (12.7 points, 86.4 free throw percentage).
  • 6-2 sophomore forward Lindsey Thall (12.1 points, 41.3 three-point percentage, , fourth in 3-point percentage at 42.5, fourth in blocked shots at 1.3).
  • 5-11 freshman guard Katie Shumate (11.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 1.5 steals).
  • 5-4 sophomore guard Asiah Dingle (11.7 points, 3.8 assists, 1.9 steals).

Western Michigan 

  • 6-1 senior forward Breanna Mobley (13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks).
  • 5-8 sophomore guard Jordan Walker (16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals).
  • 6-0 junior forward Leighah-Amori Wool (12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 82.6% free throws).

Following the game at home

Video stream on ESPN+ starts at game time at 1 p.m. Service costs $4.99 a month and includes about half of all MAC men’s and women’s games for all games. This link takes you to to the game, where you can sign up. David Wilson is the announcer.

Audio starts at about 12:45 p.m. on WHLO 640 and Golden Flash iHeart Radio.

Live statistics will be on the Kent State website during the game.

Links

Kent State website, with links to roster, statistics schedule and more.

Eastern Michigan website, with links.

MAC statistics.

MAC standings.

Only 7 assists, low shooting percentage cost Flashes in Eastern Michigan loss

Women's logo report-card1-e1578606497673.jpg

Here’s the KSU report card on key benchmarks for the first game of the conference season:

Ball State 66, Kent State 62


GAME STORY: Ball State used 3-pointers, 4th-quarter scoring spurts to beat Flashes.


 

Score 70 points on offense: 69. Late rally took the Flashes close. NOT QUITE.

Hold opponent under 70: 74. MISSED.

Make 40% of shots: 34.0%. First half shooting was 23%. Second half 48%. Flashes dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get out of. MISSED.

Hold opponent under 40%: 32.8%. KSU’s best of season against a Division I team. But Eastern’s 3-point percentage was 66.7, and that was difference in game. SUCCESS WITH AN ASTERISK.

Outscore opponent by five on free throws: Eastern 28 of 35, Kent State 27 of 33. In foul-filled game, Eastern got to line more. MISSED.

Outscore opponent by five off of turnovers: Kent State 24, Eastern 19. A 16-2 margin in the fourth quarter give KSU the edge. MADE.

Have 14 assists: 7 on 18 baskets. Second lowest of season, both in Kent’s two MAC games. MISSED.

Get 10 points from the bench: 19, highest of the season. 11 points came because Asiah Dingle, who usually starts, came off the bench after two minutes. But the eight points without her is better than many games. But Eastern got 34 points from the bench.

BOTTOM LINE: Assists were low. Shooting percentage was low. 3-point defense was bad. And Flashes are 0-2 in the MAC.

Kent State statistics

MAC women’s ‘golf’ standings

This gives a team one point for a road win (under par) and subtracts a point for a home loss (over par). A home win gets zero.

Central Michigan won 73-71 at Ohio, the league’s preseason favorite, on a three-point shot from senior forward Gabrielle Bird with seven seconds to go. Central has opened the MAC with wins over Ohio and Akron and is the only league team with two road wins.

Ball State, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan also posted road wins. Ball State beat Bowling Green 86-80 behind junior forward Oshlynn Brown’s 29 points. Eastern beat Kent State 74-69 in a game that wasn’t close until the last two minutes. Western beat Akron 56-51, using a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter.

Toledo beat Buffalo, which has the best record in the MAC, 71-59 in Toledo. Rockets led for the entire game.

Miami beat Northern Illinois 66-64 at home on a steal and a basket by junior college transfer Monique Esbrand with 1.8 seconds to go. Miami had trailed by 14 points with three minutes to go in the third quarter.

Central, Ball State, Eastern and Western are all 2-0. All are in the MAC West, which was supposed to be the weaker division this season.

THE GOLF STANDINGS

Central Michigan +2.

Ball State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan +1.

Northern Illinois, Ohio. 0.

Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami, Toledo. -1.

Akron -2.

BEST SATURDAY GAMES: 

  • Ohio (1-1, 8-5) at Buffalo (1-1, 10-3).
  • Eastern Michigan (2-0, 7-6) at Ball State (2-0, 10-4).
  • Western Michigan (2-0, 9-4) at Kent State (0-2, 7-6).

The official MAC standings

Flashes drop to disappointing 0-2 start in MAC, falling at home to EMU 74-69

Shumate vs. Michigan

Katie had 14 points, including eight in Kent State’s fourth-quarter rally. (File photo by David Dermer.)

This is not how Kent State hoped to start its conference season.

The Flashes lost their second straight in the MAC Wednesday, falling 74-69 to Eastern Michigan at home. A team that hoped to challenge for a top-four finish in the league at the least now has to dig out of an 0-2 hole. The loss at home to Eastern, a team with a worse record, especially hurts. The Eagles are 2-0 in the MAC and 7-6 overall.

Eastern was clearly the better team Wednesday. The Eagles scored the first basket two minutes into the game and led for the next 38 minutes. KSU rallied in the last four minutes but couldn’t get closer than three points.

“Eastern Michigan is a much better team this year,” coach Todd Starkey said, “but we can’t start the way we did offensively.”

The Flashes missed their first eight shots and made seven of 30 (28%) in the first half.

“We got some decent looks, but we let them take us out of our stuff,” Starkey said. “We tried to run certain actions to get shots we eared early. I think about half of those eight shots were ones that we wanted to get. The others were kind of forced.

“We played a passive first half, and you can’t do that against anybody.”

Eastern struggled shooting, too — at least on 2-point shots, where they made just 5 of 22 in the fist half.

But from 3-point distance, the Eagles made eight of 12 for the game, by far their best percentage of the year. They had been averaging 29.9% from distance before the game.

“We gave them some very good looks,” Starkey said. “I think of those 12 3s, not even half of them were contested.

The Flashes played better in the second half, when they made 11 of 23 shots for 48%.  They played much better in the last minutes, but they started from too far behind.

Kent State was down by 12 points with 2:07 to go. At that point, Eastern had outscored Kent off turnovers by 19-13. KSU had 16 turnovers; Eastern 14.

Then the Flashes had steals on Eastern’s next three possessions and cut the lead to 70-64.

The Flashes forced seven turnovers over the last four minutes and scored 11 points from them. They made four of their last seven shots and made 13 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter.

“We had more of a sense of urgency,” said freshman guard Katie Shumate, who eight of her 14 points in the fourth quarter.

But Eastern made 12 of its 13 foul shots in the last quarter and five in the last 30 seconds.

Fouls and more fouls

Referees called 58 fouls in the game, 33 on Eastern and 25 on Kent State. Three EMU players fouled out, and three more had four fouls. Three guards had fouled out when KSU made its run at the end. Kent State’s Shumate fouled out in the last seconds. Three Flashes finished with four fouls.

The Eagles made 28 of their 35 free throws, Kent State 27 of its 33.

All the clock stoppages for fouls made the game last two hours and 20 minutes, a half hour longer than usual.

Box score

Notes

  • Five Kent State players scored in double figures, led by Megan Carter with 15. Shumate had 14, Asiah Dingle and Lindsey Thall 11 and Nila Blackford 10. Dingle came bench two minutes into the game. Freshman Clare Kelly started but didn’t score in 16 minutes.
  • The Flashes held EMU’s Areanna Combs to 15 points, her lowest of the season. She had scored more than 20 in all six games she had played and had 32 against Bowling Green Saturday. Combs made just 3 of 18 field goals. (“We tried to crowd the paint on her and make her take tough shots,” Starkey said.) Combs did made 9 of 11 free throws and have nine rebounds. She drew nine fouls from KSU players.
  • Thall blocked seven shots, one off her career high. She was fourth in the MAC going into the game.
  • Eastern dominated rebounding, especially in the second half. Rebounds were even at 23 at halftime. The final was 43-30.
  • Eastern has won five games in a row and is 2-0 in the MAC for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
  • Kent State has lost two in a row for the first time this season.

Kent State returns to action at 1 p.m. Saturday against Western Michigan. The Broncos are 2-0 on the MAC after winning at Akron 56-51 Wednesday. They’re 9-4 overall and have won three in a row. Saturday’s game is the first of a doubleheader with the Kent State men, who play Central Michigan 30 minutes after the women finish.

Other MAC scores

  • Central Michigan (2-0 MAC, 9-4 overall) 73, Ohio (1-1, 8-5) 71 at Ohio.
  • Toledo (1-1, 6-7) 71, Buffalo (1-1, 10-3) 59 at Toledo.
  • Miami (1-1, 8-6) 66, Northern Illinois (0-2, 4-9) 64 at Miami.
  • Ball State (2-0, 10-4) 86, Bowling Green (0-2, 7-7) 80 at BG.

MAC standings

 

 

Megan Carter and her cello

Carter layup file (1)  Megan and cello
Here’s a nice feature on Kent State senior Megan Carter and her cello. Writer is from an online outlet called Nothing But Net. I like a lot of things about Megan, a 1,000-point scorer who has overcome a lot to be an all-MAC player. But her cello is one of the coolest.
(Photo of her with cello is one from high school she gave me when I first wrote about the cello two seasons ago.)

Flashes host Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Wednesday in their first home MAC game. You can find the game preview here.