Flashes open MAC Tournament at Toledo, a team they beat in January

2018 bracketIt seems like forever since Kent State beat Toledo at Toledo on Jan. 24.

The score was 62-55, and there still seemed as if there were hope for the Flashes’ season. The victory was probably Kent State’s best of the season; at that point Toledo was 13-7 and had the 65th best RPI in the country. Kent State was 10-10, and the win put the Flashes at 3-5 in the conference. We thought it might be the start of the team playing up to its prediction of second place in the MAC East.

Alas, it was the high point of the Flashes’ conference season. Since then, Kent State is 2-8 and stuck in 10th place in the MAC.

Toledo hasn’t had a much happier time. Since that game, Toledo has been 4-6.

The two teams meet Monday in Toledo in the first round of the MAC Tournament. The winner will advance to play East Division champion Buffalo in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Kent State and Toledo met in the quarterfinals of the tournament last season, and the teams were the hottest in the MAC. Kent State had won seven games in a row, Toledo eight of nine. The Rockets rallied from seven points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Flashes 67-63 and went on to win the tournament.

Both the Rockets and Flashes have four starters back from the teams that met last March. Toledo lost second-team all-MAC forward Janice Monakana. Kent State lost MAC player-of-the-year Larissa Lurken. It’s pretty clear which team adjusted better.

Toledo is led by 6-2 junior center Kayla McIntyre, who averages 16 points and 7.8rebounds a game. Junior guard Mikaela Boyd, just 5-7, averages 8.4 rebounds and 12.2 points, and senior guard Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott averages 12.6 points.

In that first game, Kent State held Toledo to 31 percent shooting and 21 percent from three-point distance in perhaps their best defensive effort of the MAC season.

Kent’s Jordan Korinek scored 30 points in that game to put her average above 20 points a game. It stayed there until Saturday, when she equaled a season-low eight points in KSU’s 58-35 loss last Miami. She now averages 19.9.

Saturday’s game was Kent State’s worst of the season. The Flashes’ 35 points were their lowest of the season; the team looked listless, tired and unfocused.

Toledo is also coming off a loss, but a good one if there is such a thing. The Rockets pushed first-place Central Michigan before falling in Toledo, 72-67.

Toledo consistently draws 3,000-plus fans to women’s games. The Rockets are 11-3 at home this season; Kent’s win in Toledo in January was first in Toledo since 2007.

Monday will be a tough task for the Flashes.

To follow the game

Action starts at 7 p.m. Here are directions to Savage Hall if you plan on going. It’s about a two-and-a-half hour drive.

Video is on ESPN3. You can follow it online if your subscribe to ESPN on cable or by  satellite.

Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio only. The KSU men’s game will be on WHLO.

Live statistics will be available through the Toledo website.

Kent State website, including links to statistics, roster, schedule/results, record book and more.

Preview from the Toledo website, including links.

Conference-game only MAC statistics, including standings.

The tournament schedule

MONDAY

  • No. 9 seed Eastern Michigan (10-19, 6-12 in MAC) at No. 8 Northern Illinois (15-14, 7-11).
  • No. 12 Akron (9-20, 2-15) at No. 5 Ohio (15-14, 9-9).
  • No. 10 Kent State (12-18, 5-13) at No. 7 Toledo (17-13, 8-10).
  • No. 11 Bowling Green (11-18, 3-15) at No. 6 Western Michigan (16-14, 9-9).

WEDNESDAY at Quicken Loans Arena

  • Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois winner vs. No. 1 Central Michigan (25-4, 17-1), noon.
  • Akron-Ohio winner vs. No. 4 Miami (20-8, 12-6), about 2:30
  • Kent-State Toledo winner vs. No. 2 Buffalo (25-4, 16-2), about 5.
  • Bowling Green-Western Michigan winner vs. No. 3 Ball State (24-5, 13-5), about 7:30.

Games start about a half hour apart. Here is a link to ticket information on the MAC website.

FRIDAY

  • Central Michigan game winner vs. Miami winner, 11 a.m.
  • Buffalo game winner vs. Ball State winner, about 1:30 pm.

SATURDAY

  • Champion game at 11 a.m.

All games are on ESPN3 except for the championship, which is on the CBS sports network.

 

 

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