In home opener Thursday, Flashes play Detroit Mercy, an 0-5 team that beat KSU badly last season

OpenerThose are Kent State’s four seniors — McKenna Stephens, Jordan Korinek, Zenobia Bess and (kneeling) Naddiyah Cross in the KSU photo Tweet promoting Thursday’s home opener. Game is at 7 p.m.

Three things are notable about Kent State’s home opener against Detroit Mercy:

  1. It’s the Flashes’ first game in front of home fans. KSU has opened with two games on the road and five at neutral sites. The Flashes are 4-3.
  2. It’s their fifth game against teams with a weak record. Detroit Mercy is 0-5, though against overall better competition than Kent State has played.
  3. The Flashes have some revenge incentive. Detroit Mercy beat them 73-52 in Detroit last season in Kent State’s worst game of the season.

The game is at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

Detroit Mercy returns three starters and eight players from that team, which went on to 18-14 and finish second in the Horizon League at 12-6. The Titans lost leading scorer Roxanna Reynolds (16.2 points per game) from that team but return their No. 2 player, 6-foot senior forward Brianne Cohen, who averaged 15.2 last season and 18.0 this season.

The Titans’ competition has been solid. They lost to Power 5 teams Michigan State (4-1) and Clemson (4-2) by about 30 points each, to the MAC’s Miami (3-3) by 33 and Bowling Green (6-1) by four, and to North Texas (2-1) by six. Those teams have a combined record of 19-8. Detroit’s schedule strength is 90th in the country (of 349 teams).

Kent State’s schedule strength is 309, according to RealTimeRPI.

Cohen is the only Detroit player taller than 5-11, so the Flashes will have a distinct height advantage. So far KSU is outrebounding opponents by 3.1 a game.

The Flashes have lost to three good teams — No. 16 Stanford. Florida Gulf Coast (fourth in this week’s Mid-Major Top 25) and Gonzaga (the No. 21 Mid-Major). But the teams they’ve beaten have a combined 3-18 record. (Here’s link to KSU’s scores/schedule.)

Kent State’s Jordan Korinek is second in the MAC in scoring at 21.3 points per game, second in field goal percentage at 62.8 percent and second in three-point percentage at 58.8 percent. She leads the conference in made foul shots.

A year ago Kent State was first in the country in free throws made and second in free throws attempted, in large part because of Larissa Lurken, who set an NCAA record for free throws made in a season. Lurken graduated in May.

Here’s a statistic I didn’t believe when I first saw it:

This season Kent State is third in the nation in free throws made with 127 (18.1 a game). (The NCAA website on free throws attempted is messed up. It has KSU taking the same number of shots it has made.) Korinek is ninth in the country individually in foul shooting.

Kent State statistics, including links to roster, schedule, record book, etc.

MAC statistics, including standings.

NCAA statistics

To follow the game

The game starts at 7 p.m. at the MACC.

The game is on ESPN3. You can watch it online if you subscribe to ESPN on cable or satellite TV.

Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m on Golden Flash iHeart Radio.

Live statistics will be available through the Kent State website

Preview from the Detroit Mercy website, including links to its roster and schedule.

I’ll post the link to the preview from the KSU website when its posted.

 

 

 

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