The Flashes open their 2015-16 season at 2 p.m. Sunday with an exhibition game against Hiram College in the MACC.
For the last five years or so, exhibitions have been against Ohio Division III schools like Hiram. Last year the Flashes beat Ohio Christian, 100-45. Two years ago they lost to Walsh College in one of the lower moments of team history.
Hiram was 7-19 last year, 3-13 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. It was picked eighth in the conference this year. Top player is 6-foot forward Mercedes Jones, who was NCAC Newcomer of the Year last year, averaging 10 points a game.
Coach Danny O’Banion wouldn’t name her starting line-up last preseason press day this week but did say junior guard Larissa Lurken, and sophomore forward Jordan Korinek and sophomore guard Naddiyah Cross would start. No surprises there; all started at least 15 games last year. I’d be astonished if redshirt freshman Tyra James didn’t start; she’s supposed to be one of Kent’s best players this season. The fifth starter could be 6-4 freshman forward Merissa Barber-Smith, 6-foot sophomore forward McKenna Stephens or 5-9 freshman guard Alexa Golden.
The line-up doesn’t make much difference. The Flashes have nine new players and will be looking at different combinations. Expect everyone to play. Probably everyone will score.
Kent State was 5-25 last season. It opens its regular season a week from Sunday against Colgate.
Admission to the exhibition is free.