The Kent State women’s basketball team will take on the University of Michigan in a first-round WNIT game Thursday.
The game will be on Michigan’s home court in Ann Arbor, a little more than a three-hour drive from Kent. Time will be announced on Tuesday.
Michigan is 22-9 on the season and finished third in the Big Ten. The Wolverines got the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the WNIT as the highest finishing team in the conference that didn’t make the NCAA tournament.
A late-season slide probably cost Michigan an NCAA bid. The team lost four of its last five games (all to teams with that eventually won at least 19 games) and was bumped from the Big Ten tournament in the quarterfinals by Michigan State.
Michigan has an RPI of 46, about the sixth highest in the WNIT. That’s right behind two teams from the Mid-American Conference — regular-season champion Central Michigan (43) and tournament champion Toledo (44).
Kent State’s RPI is 96. The Flashes beat Toledo during the regular season and lost to Central Michigan.
Kent is 19-12 and won 11 of its last 14 games, all in the MAC.
Michigan was 14-1 on its home court. Kent State was 7-6 on the road.
Common opponents of the two teams were:
OHIO: Michigan beat the Bobcats 69-46 in Ann Arbor Dec. 13. Kent State beat Ohio twice, 68-65 in Athens and 71-67 in overtime in Kent.
IOWA: Michigan beat the Hawkeyes 72-70 at Michigan. Kent State lost at Iowa 83-48 Dec. 20.
MINNESOTA: Michigan beat the Golden Gophers 84-69 in Ann Arbor. KS lost at Minnesota 92-62 Dec. 22.
Michigan has three players who averaged in double figures this season:
- Katelynn Flaherty, a 5-7 junior guard who averaged 19.9 points a game and made 90 of 243 three-point shorts (37 percent).
- Hallie Thome, a 6-5 sophomore center who averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. She made 62.5 percent of her field goals and blocked 63 shots over the season.
- Kysre Gondrezick, a 5-9 freshman guard who averaged 15.1 points a game and made 43.9 percent of her 164 three-point shots.
Point guard Siera Thompson, a 5-7 senior, averaged just under 5 assists a game. Jillian Dunston, a 5-11 junior wing guard, led the team in rebounding at 7.5 per game.
Michigan’s 22 wins equal the most in school history.
Kent State has played Michigan three times before, all in Ann Arbor. It lost all three games. Most recent was a 69-34 loss in the WNIT in 2010.
The winner of the KSU-Michigan game will play either Central Michigan or Wright State, two teams the Flashes played this season. Wright State finished the season 24-8, second in the Horizon League. Kent State won at Wright State 79-69 on Dec. 7. The Flashes lost to Central 91-78 in its conference opener Dec. 31.
Central and Wright State play Thursday at Wright State.
Other matchups involving MAC teams are Ohio at Penn State, Ball State at Indiana and Northern Illinois at South Dakota State. So three of the five MAC teams in the WNIT will be playing Big Ten teams.
Michigan website, including links to roster, statistics, schedule/results and more.
Here are the WNIT first-round matchups:
Little Rock at Southern MissThursday, March 16
Saint Mary’s at Colorado State
Washington State at BYU
Seattle at Wyoming
North Dakota at South Dakota
Missouri State at Iowa
Northern Illinois at South Dakota State
UNLV at Colorado
UT Arlington at Tulane
Grambling State at Ole Miss
Mercer at Alabama
Morehead State at Middle Tennessee
Bethune-Cookman at Wake Forest
Jacksonville at Georgia Tech
Stetson at UCF
Kent State at Michigan
Central Michigan at Wright State
Ball State at Indiana
IUPUI at Saint Louis
Abilene Christian at Oklahoma State
Friday, March 17
UC Davis at Utah
Harvard at New Hampshire
Sacred Heart at St. John’s
Ohio at Penn State
Fordham at Georgetown
Navy at George Washington
Rider at Virginia Tech
Villanova at Princeton
Duquesne at Drexel
Radford at James Madison
Virginia at Saint Joseph’s
Louisiana Tech at SMU