3-2 Flashes host Atlantic 10 favorite Duquesne on Wednesday

Starkey and bell

In honor of his 200th career victory, the women’s team insisted that coach Todd Starkey ring the victory bell after last week’s win over Youngstown State. (Photo by Austin Mariasy from the KSU website.)

 

Going into the season, it looked as if Wednesday’s game against Duquesne would be one of the toughest games on Kent State’s schedule.

The Dukes have five starters back from a team that was 25-8 and are picked to win the Atlantic 10 Conference.

But things aren’t quite as clear now. Duquesne is 2-3, with losses to TCU (4-1), Texas (6-0) and Toledo (3-2). The Dukes have beaten Mount Saint Mary’s (2-3) and Sant Francis of Pennsylvania (1-4).

Kent State is 3-2, on a three-game winning streak and coming off one of its best victories in years, a 62-34 beating of previously unbeaten Youngstown State on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The Flashes’ two losses were to North Carolina State (6-0 and 13th in this week’s Associated Press Top 25) and North Carolina (5-2).

So we could be in for a good game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the M.A.C. Center.

“They’ve gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, but they’re a really good team,” coach Todd Starkey said in an interview with the Record-Courier’s Allen Moff. “They’re a balanced, veteran ball club that’s used to winning. We’ve got to make sure they can’t get into a rhythm because if they do, they can make you look real bad.”

Duquesne’s best player is 5-4 senior guard Chassidy Omogrosso, a preseason all-Atlantic 10 selection. She was the team’s leading scorer from a year ago and holds Dusquesne’s record for most three-point baskets in a season. But she’s off to a slow start, averaging 6.6 points a game and shooting just 20 percent from three-point distance.

The Dukes’ leading scorer and rebounder so far is 6-3 senior forward Kadri-Ann Lass, who averages 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds. She was a second-team Atlantic 10 preseason choice. Senior Julijana Vojinovic was a first-team pick. She’s a 5-10 guard who’s averaging 5.6 points a game. Last season she averaged 10.9.

Duquesne has 10 players who average more than 9.8 minutes per game.

Kent State will get back one of its best players. 5-4 freshman point guard Asiah Dingle, who missed the Youngstown game with an ankle injury. Dingle averages 12.8 points a game. The woman who replaced her in the starting lineup, 5-foot freshman Mariah Modkins, played very well against YSU, scoring 14 points with two three-point baskets, three assists and two steals.

Other KSU starters are likely to be:

  • 6-4 senior center Merissa Barber Smith, who had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in 15 minutes against Youngstown.
  • 5-9 senior guard Alexa Golden, eighth in the MAC in steals at 2.2 a game.
  • 5-7 junior guard Megan Carter, fifth in the league in scoring at 18.2 points per game.
  • 6-2 freshman forward Lindsay Thall, 16th in the MAC in three-pointers at 1.8 a game and  fourth in the MAC in blocked shots at 1.6 per game.

First player off the bench is likely to be 6-foot junior Ali Poole, who is averaging about as many minutes as any starter except Carter.

Starkey’s 200th victory

KSU’s win over Youngstown State was the 200th of Starkey’s career. He’s 35-34 in three years at Kent State and was 165-95 in nine years at Division II Lenoir-Ryne in North Carolina. He then spent two years as an assistant at Indiana. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“It’s  really a tribute to the fact that I’m getting old and that I’ve coached a lot of good players. It’s a little bit sentimental to get against Youngstown State, which is kind of my hometown university.”

Starkey grew up in Canfield, and his father taught music at YSU.

The view from Youngstown

YSU coach John Barnes after the Kent State game:

“Nothing was falling. A lot of that has to do with the defense. [Kent State] is long and they’re physical.”

“At the start, they were super aggressive, and they were super physical. Usually, we’re physical ourselves. We weren’t tonight. We got pushed around.”

YSU lost its second straight to 3-3 Yale on Friday. Score was 58-56.

How to follow the Duquesne game

The game starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the M.A.C.C. Reserved seat tickets are $10, general admission $5.

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

Video is through ESPN-plus, which costs $4.99 a month. The service covers about 85 percent of KSU men’s and women’s basketball games and some KSU events in other sports. It includes access to many other MAC games and those of other conferences, plus some unique programming. Here’s a Kent State Q&A on ESPN+ and a link to the KSU-Duquesne game, which will guide you through a purchase.

Live statistics are available through the KSU website.

Links

Preview from Kent State women’s website, including links to statistics, roster and more.

Preview from Duquesne website, including links.

MAC statistics, including standings.

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