KSU alum Jordan Korinek (fourth in back row) visited a Flashes’ practice this week. Korinek, a two-time academic All-American for KSU, was home for the holidays from Greece, where she is playing professional basketball. (Photo from KSU Twitter feed)
Kent State returns to the M.A.C Center this week for a Monday tune-up against Division II Clarion and its Mid-American Conference opener Saturday against Eastern Michigan.
The Clarion game — at noon on New Year’s Eve — is the first game of a doubleheader with the KSU men, who play Oberlin a half hour after the women’s game end. One ticket gets you in both games.
The Clarion game is also the Flashes’ first regular-season game against a Division II team in coach Todd Starkey’s three years here. In a preseason interview, Starkey said the team needed a game after Christmas before the conference season, and most Division I teams didn’t have a spot on their schedule at that point.
It’s also a game to shake the rust off. The Flashes haven’t played since a 57-40 victory over NJIT on Dec. 21.
Many MAC teams have the same kind of schedule. Akron, Miami, Ball State, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Western Michigan all play non-Division I opponents from Saturday through Monday. Only Ohio (at American University), Central Michigan (at a Florida tournament against Miami and Tulane) and Northern Illinois (home against Brown) play Division I teams.
Clarion lists the game in its schedule as an exhibition.
Clarion is 7-5 and hasn’t played a Division I team. The Golden Eagles are led by junior guard Kadijah Dickson, who is the only Clarion player to average in double figures at 16.3 points per game. Dickson, only 5-foot-7, also leads the team in rebounding at 8.8 per game. Two other Clarion players average 9.5 points a game.
Clarion has allowed an average of only 56 points a game this season and has scored an average of 64.
Kent State is 6-4 and on a three-game winning streak. The Flashes average 63.4 points a game, 10th in the MAC, and give up 59.9, fifth best in the league.
As she has since scoring 17 points in KSU’s opener, junior guard Megan Carter leads the Flashes at 15.7 points per game. That’s ninth best in the MAC. Freshman Asiah Dingle is No. 2 in scoring, as she has been all season, averaging 12.4 points. Freshman forward Lindsey Thall averages 9.8 and junior guard-forward Ali Poole averages 8.2.
Merissa Barber-Smith leads the team in rebounding at 7.2 per game, which is fourth in the conference. She leads the conference in blocked shots at 1.5 per game.
Saturday the Flashes host Eastern Michigan (6-4) at 5 p.m. in the first game of another doubleheader with the Kent men, who play Bowling Green a half hour after the women finish.
To follow the Clarion game
The game starts at noon Monday at the M.A.C.C. Reserved seat tickets are $10, general admission $5.
Audio starts at about 11:45 a.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 other sports. It includes access to many other MAC games and those of other mid-major conferences. You can watch it through your cable or satellite company or the ESPN app. Here’s a link to the ESPN broadcast, which will guide you through a purchase.
Live statistics are available through the KSU website.
Preview from Kent State women’s website, including links to statistics, roster and more.
Detailed media game notes for Kent State.
Clarion website, including links.
MAC statistics, including standings.