Stephens scores two of her career-high 20 points against Akron last season.
McKenna Stephens is back with the Kent State women’s basketball team.
Stephens graduated in May but has enrolled as a graduate student in criminology this fall.
She has a year of eligibility remaining because she sat out a season after transferring from Michigan State her freshman year.
It was unclear throughout last spring whether Stephens planned to return, and she was honored at Senior Day with four other graduating Flashes.
Stephens’ eligibility was still being confirmed by Kent State’s Compliance Office, and coach Todd Starkey said he couldn’t comment until that process was over.
But she took part in the team’s preseason photo day today (Tuesday).
Stephens suffered a hip injury early in Kent State’s WNIT loss to Michigan in March and had surgery not long after. (In that game, she still played 37 minutes, scored 11 points and had 8 rebounds.) She was on crutches at the team’s banquet in May.
A 6-foot forward who can play inside and at the perimeter, Stephens was Kent State’s third leading scorer last season, averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds a game. In conference play, she averaged 11 and 7, and she led the MAC in three-point percentage in conference games at 44.4 percent (20 of 45). She was one of two players (with Merissa Barber-Smith) honored as the team’s “most improved” at the banquet.
Stephens started all but one of the KSU’s games last season and 19 of 24 in which she appeared as a sophomore. She missed the first five games of that season with an injury.
Her re-additiion to the team means the Flashes have four starters returning from the group that went 19-13 last season and won the MAC East title.
The one starter lost, however, was Larissa Lurken, the MAC player of the year. In 2016-17, Lurken set a Kent State record for points scored (752) and points per game (23.5) and an NCAA record for most free throws made in a season.
The team (without Stephens) has been working out 10 hours a week (two on the court) in the off-season. Full practice starts Oct. 2, and the team’s opener is at Northern Kentucky Nov. 11. Home opener is Nov. 30 against Detroit Mercy.
Here’s Stephens’ bio from last year’s roster.