Two Kent State players had birthdays Friday — sophomore forward Monique Smith (left) and junior guard-forward Ali Poole. (Photo from KSU Twitter feed.)
The Kent women have a tough road test Saturday against Miami, a team with the third best overall record (12-4) in the MAC.
The game starts at 1 p.m.
The Redhawks are 3-2 in the conference and in fifth place, a half game ahead of Kent State. KSU is 3-3 and 10-7 overall and coming off its worst offensive performance of the season, a 48-44 loss last Ball State. In that game, the Flashes missed 51 of the 67 shots they took.
It was the third loss in a row by the Flashes after they had won their first three games of the MAC season.
“It’s a really important game,” coach Todd Starkey after the BSU game. “We need to try to find a way to play well and steal a road win.
“Miami is a better defensive team than Ball State. It’s the best defensive team in the conference. We’ll score 15 points if we play like this again.”
The Redhawks give up 58.9 points a game, best in the MAC, and allow opponents to make 39.4 percent of their shots, fourth in the league. Kent State still leads the conference in field goal defense at 36.8.
But Miami really stands out in three-point defense. The Redhawks lead the country, allowing opponents make only 21.8 percent of their shots. Such defense is one of the weaker parts of KSU’s. Kent opponents make 32.2 percent of their three-pointers, which is ninth in the MAC.
Miami’s top player is point guard Lauren Dickerson, who averaged 14.4 points, 5.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals a game. Her assist average leads the MAC. Forward Savannah Kluesner is the Redhawks’ leading rebounder at 7.6 a game. In Miami’s five league games, she has averaged 18.8 points and 10.4 rebounds. Wing Kendall McCoy was a preseason all-MAC East selection and averages 12.7 points.
Kent State had been averaging more than 70 points a game in MAC play until Wednesday’s struggle on offense. Guard Megan Carter averages 15.8 points a game, which is seventh in the MAC. Freshman Asiah Dingle averages 13.7, but Ball State slowed her by packing the middle against her drives and daring her to shoot from three-point distance, where she was zero for four.
Despite Miami’s better record, Kent has a slightly higher RPI — 86 to the Redhawks’ 93. That’s mostly because KSU has played a tougher schedule.
THE BOTTOM LINE: It would be a great game to win. But it will be hard. Miami is 6=1 at home and has won two straight, including an upset at Central Michigan 10 days ago. KSU’s defense should be able to contain Miami’s offense. But can the Flashes bounce back on offense after Wednesday?
To follow the game
The game starts at 1 p.m. Saturday at Miami’s Millett Hall. It’s about a four- hour drive from Kent. Here are directions from Google maps. Tickets are $7 and $10. It’s the first of a doubleheader with the Miami men, who play Bowling Green at about 3:30. One $12.50 ticket gets you in both games.
Audio starts at about 12:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. David Wilson does play by play
Video is through ESPN3.You can watch if you subscribe to ESPN on your cable or satellite system or on the ESPN app.
Live statistics are available through the Miami website.
Preview from Kent State women’s website, including links to statistics, roster and more.
Preview from Miami website, including links.
Detailed media notes for Miami.