The Flashes make their first trip to Cleveland since 2009 to take on Cleveland State, a team with a 4-3 record that includes victories over Toledo and East Carolina.
The Vikings return four starters and their top three scorers from last year’s 14-16 team. They’re led by 5-foot-10 senior forward Imani Gordon, a preseason all-Horizon Conference selection. She averages 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Their leading scorer is 5-8 senior guard, who is averaging 15.7 points per game and 41 percent in three-point shooting. Three other players average between 9 and 10 points a game.
As a team, Cleveland State makes 37.5 percent of its three-pointer shots and 43.4 percent shooting overall. The Vikings lead the Horizon League in assists with 17.4 per game on an average of 28 field goals a game. They’re averaging only 13 turnovers but force only 15. They’re being outrebounded at about seven a game. Their only three players taller than 5-foot-10. None has played more than 14 minutes a game.
Kent State starting point guard Mikell Chinn, who missed the Flashes’ game at Duquesne last week with a concussion, is “day-to-day” on whether she’ll be back in the line-up, according to coach Danny O’Banion. Chinn leads the MAC in assists with 5.5 a game and last year led Kent State in steals. If she doesn’t start, freshman Naddiyah Cross will. Cross had four points, three assists and six turnovers against Duquesne. Twice this season Cross has had six assists in a game. Krista White, who had never played point guard before filling in at Duquesne, is the back-up.
Sophomore guard White, who has scored 20 points in two straight games, now is KSU’s leading scorer at 11.1 points per game. Larissa Lurken is second with 11.0. None of KSU’s post players, who had been expected to lead the team offensively this season, average more than nine points a game. Forward Montia Johnson leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per game and is fourth in the MAC in offensive rebounds.
Kent State, which is 1-6, is 11th in the MAC in scoring and 10th in scoring defense. It is seventh in field goal percentage and 11th in field goal percentage defense. It’s second to last in three-point baskets per game and last in foul shooting. It’s third in offensive rebounding, fourth in blocked shots and fifth in assists.
The 3:30 p.m. game is the second of a double header. The Cleveland State men play Western Illinois at 1.