Seniors McKenna Stephens, Jordan Korinek and Zenobia Bess at press day. Naddiyah Cross, the team’s fourth senior, was at class. (Photo from KSU team website)
We have a lot to catch up on the Kent State women’s basketball team.
The Flashes’ first game is next Saturday at Northern Kentucky, a team that was 9-22 a year ago.
This weekend KSU has closed scrimmages against Cleveland State (14-16 last season) and Xavier (12-18). Kent State was 19-13 last season and won the MAC East.
MAC coaches picked Kent State to finish second in the MAC East in the league’s preseason poll. Buffalo was chosen first.
That’s about what I’d expect. KSU finished a game ahead of Buffalo a year ago, and both teams lost only one starter. But Kent’s was Larissa Lurken, the MAC player of the year. Buffalo’s loss was also an all-MAC player, guard JoAnna Smith, but the Bulls had a much deeper roster last season.
It’s still amazing to write that Kent State was expected to be picked second in the East. A year ago the Flashes were picked a distant last. But new coach Todd Starkey guided KSU to one of the biggest and most unexpected turnarounds in Division I.
The full poll for the MAC East:
- Buffalo (10 first places votes) 69 points overall.
- Kent State (1) 52 points.
- Ohio (1) 47.
- Miami 40.
- Bowling Green 23.
- Akron 21.
Ohio had dominated the league for the two seasons before last year but had considerable graduation losses. Miami has a new coach (former Michigan assistant Megan Duffy) and its entire roster returning.
Central Michigan, which had the best record in the conference last season, was picked to win the West Division again. The full poll:
- Central Michigan (10 first place votes) 70 points total.
- Toledo (1) 60 points.
- Ball State (1) 46.
- Western Michigan 32.
- Northern Illinois 29.
- Eastern Michigan 15.
The West is loaded. Toledo won last year’s MAC tournament. Eastern Michigan, which had the worst record in the league last season, probably has the MAC’s best freshman class, along with the Eagles’ top recruit from 2016. She missed last season with an injury.
Coaches overwhelmingly picked Central to win the overall season title and the conference tournament. Only three other teams (buffalo, Ball State, Western) got a vote.
Kent State’s Jordan Korinek is a member of the preseason all-MAC East team. Korinek was a preseason MAC East selection last season, too, and second-team all-league at the end of the season. The full team:
- Jordan Korinek, Kent State senior forward.
- Carly Santoro, Bowling Green junior guard.
- Stephanie Reid, Buffalo senior guard.
- Lauren Dickerson, Miami sophomore guard.
- Taylor Agler, Ohio senior guard.
The preseason all-MAC West team:
- Moriah Monaco, Ball state senior forward.
- Presley Hudson, Central Michigan junior guard.
- Tinara Moore, Central Michigan senior forward.
- Mikaela Boyd, Toledo junior guard.
- Breanna Mobley, Western Michigan junior forward.
I want to get this posted and hope to have something almost every day leading up to Saturday’s first game.