Pre-Christmas notes: 3 road wins in a row for first time in 10 years and a winning non-conference season

Central Park

The women’s team in New York’s Central Park. The Flashes toured the sights in between preparations for Friday’s game at NJIT. Coaches said it was the first time in New York :City for about half the team. (Photo from KSU Twitter feed)

 

Catch-up after Kent State’s 57-40 victory over NJIT Friday:

  • The Flashes have won played three straight games on the road and them all, the first time that’s happened since 2008-09. Part of that is due to the fact that it’s not common to play three away games in a row. And the competition wasn’t stellar; Robert Morris, Saint Bonaventure and NJIT have a combined record of 9-24.
  • But three road wins are more than the Flashes had total in any season from 2011 to 2016. And because road wins count much more than home wins in determining RPI rankings, the Flashes’ RPI jumped more than 60 points spots since their loss at Wright State Dec. 2. KSU is currently 134th of 351 teams, according to WarrenNolan.com, the site I use most. That’s seventh best in the Mid-American Conference. The RPI rates teams according to their won-lost record (25 percent), their opponent record (25 percent) and their opponents’ opponents’ record (50 percent).
  • The NJIT victory guarantees the Flashes a winning record in the non-conference season for the third straight year under coach Todd Starkey. KSU is 6-4 with a Dec. 31 game against Division II Clarion still to go before. MAC play starts in January.
  • The game was the third time this season Kent State has held an opponent under 50 points. The others were Youngstown State (62-34) and Robert Morris (54-46).
  • Ali Poole equaled a career high with eight rebounds at NJIT. Poole, a 6-foot junior, has played a fourth guard (sometimes announced as a forward) this season. She previously hadplayed almost entirely guard or wing. “I’m really proud of Ali,” associate head coach Fran Recchia said in a postgame radio interview after Friday’s game. “That’s something we’ve focused on with her — no matter how you’re shooting the ball, you’ve got to help us rebound.”
  • Megan Carter, Kent’s leading scorer, had 19 points Friday after scoring three against Robert Morris and nine against Saint Bonaventure. Starkey has said that after Carter’s fast start (she scored at least 14 points in KSU’s first seven games), the top thing on opponents’ scouting reports has been to slow her down. “She kept her composure even after a couple of turnovers early,” Recchia said. “She stayed aggressive, and what’s what we need every single night.” Carter is averaging 15.7 points a game, ninth in the MAC.
  • Carter and freshman point guard Asiah Dingle combined for 34 points against NJIT. Dingle’s 15 equaled her second highest total of the year; she had 17 Monday at Saint Bonaventure.
  • Kent State’s 29.2 percent field goal percentage NJIT was the third time in four games the Flashes have shot below 30 percent (the others were in a loss to Wright State and the win over Robert Morris). For the season, KSU is making 36.3 percent of its shots, 10th in the MAC and 2 percentage points below last season. That’s something Starkey has said must improve if the Flashes are to compete well in the conference season.
  • Lindsey Thall’s three blocked shots Friday moved her into a tie for fourth in the MAC at 1.3 per game. Kent’s Merissa Barber-Smith leads the MAC with 1.5 a game despite the fact she plays barely half the minutes (16.0 per game) of most players in the top 10. KSU leads the league in blocks per game at 3.7. That’s 0.48 ahead of second-ranking Ohio.
  • Other statistics from the NJIT game.
    • Rebounds: Kent State 47, NJIT 40. Offensive rebounds: KSU 23, NJIT: 10.
    • Assists: KSU 10 (led by Dingle, Alexa Golden, Barber-Smith and Thall with two), NJIT 4.
    • Steals: Kent State 10 (led by Dingle’s three and two from Carter and Golden), NJIT 6.
    • Points off turnovers: KSU 23 off 33 NJIT turnovers. NJIT 14 off of 23 Kent State turnovers.
    • Second chance points: Kent State 14, NJIT 3.
    • Points in the paint: KSU 28, NJIT 22.

Recent MAC scores

Buffalo and Central Michigan played top 10 opponents close before losing recent games. Ohio continues to roll on undefeated.

Saturday

  • Ohio (10-0) 109, Richmond (2-10) 58 at Richmond.

Friday

  • No. 8 Stanford (9-1) 62, Buffalo (7-3) 55 at Buffalo.
  • Akron (8-2) 64, UTEP (3-9) 57 at Las Vegas Classic.
  • Butler (9-1) 73, Eastern Michigan (6-4) 63 at West Palm Invitatioinal.
  • Western Michigan (5-5) 69, Florida A&M 50 at Hatter Classic in Deland, Florida.
  • Ball State (4-7) 90, Tennessee State (0-12) 51 at Ball State.
  • Bowling Green (6-4) 79, Valparaiso (4-8) 72 at Valparaiso.
  • Northern Illinois (7-4) 114, Chicago State (0-11) 52 at NIU.
  • Toledo (8-3) 77, Detroit Mercy (2-9) 60 at Toledo.

Thursday

  • No. 3 Louisville (12-0) 72, Central Michigan (8-2) 68 at Central.
  • Akron 74, Jackson State (3-6) 57 at Las Vegas Classic.
  • North Dakota (4-6) 62, Western Michigan 50 at Hatter Classic.
  • UNC Greensboro (6-6) 49, Eastern Michigan 44 at West Palm Invitational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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