Flashes, now 12-8, play Saturday at second-place Buffalo

The game

Kent State (5-4 MAC, 12-8 overall) at Buffalo (7-2, 15-5), 1 p.m. Saturday.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: Flashes play one of MAC’s best teams on the road. A win would be a very big deal. Flashes must face MAC’s top scorer Cierra Dillard, who averages 25 points a game and is a leading candidate for MAC player of the year.

About Buffalo

IN THE MAC: Tied for second with Central Michigan and Miami, a half game beyond Ohio. Has lost only to Central on the road and Ohio at home in overtime.

RPI: 24 of 351 teams. Schedule strength: 46. Home record: 7-3. Has won seven of last eight. 10th-ranked mid-major team by CollegeInsider.com.

LAST GAME: Beat Toledo 73-63 at home on Wednesday.

KEY TEAM STATS

(I’m switching to conference-game-only statistics because they better reflect how a team is playing now.)

  • Scores 76.4 points a game, third in MAC. Opponents score 68.4 (fifth). Field goal percentage: 42.0 (fifth). Field goal defense: 39.6 (first).
  • Three-point percentage: 33.0 (seventh). Three-point baskets per game: 7.8 (fifth). Three-point defense: 27.6 (first). Free throw percentage 73.9 (thir-).
  • Rebounding margin: Plus 2.7 (third). Offensive rebounds per game: 14.7 (first).
  • Turnover margin: Plus-1.0 (fourth). Steals per game: 8.56 (third). Blocked shots per game: 3.78 (second).

KEY PLAYERS

  • 5-foot-9 senior guard Cierra Dillard (24.7 points per game, first in MAC and third in nation). Assists per game:  6.8 (first). Steals: 2.7 (third). Three-point percentage: 36.8 (fourth). Three-pointers per game: 3.6 (first). Free-throw percentage: 79.4 (fourth).  Preseason all-MAC East, All-MAC second team in 2017-18.
  • 6-1 junior center Summer Hemphill (12.8 points, 22nd). Rebounds: 9.2 (fifth). Field-goal percentage: 64.0 (first). Blocks: 1.3 (fourth). Preseason all-MAC East, Missed first semester for academic reasons.
  • 6-2 junior center Theresa Onwaquka (9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds).

Kent State

IN THE MAC: Tied for fifth with Northern Illinois and Toledo at 5-4, two-and-a-half games behind league-leader Ohio (7-2).

RPI: 85. Schedule strength: 75. Road record: 4-6. Has won two in a row after losing four in a row.

LAST GAME: Beat Western Michigan 55-51 at home on Wednesday.

KEY TEAM STATS (conference games only)

  • 67.4 points a game (seventh in MAC). Opponents average 65.6 (third).
  • Field goal percentage: 37.5 (12th). Field goal defense: 40.3 (second).
  • Three-point percentage: 33.0 (sixth). Three-point baskets per game: 7.0 (eighth). Three-point defense: 31.9 (fifth).
  • Rebounding margin: Plus-0.1 (sixth). Turnover margin: Plus 2.11 (third)
  • Blocked shots: 4,33 (first). Steals: 8.89 (second).

KEY PLAYER STATS

  • 5-7 redshirt junior guard Megan Carter: 17.4 points, seventh in MAC. Field-goal percentage: 41.2 (10th). Field goal percentage (10th). Three-point percentage: 41.7. Free-throw percentage: 73.9  (seventh).
  • 5-4 freshman point guard Asiah Dingle: 14.4 points (14th). Field-goal percentage: 37.9 (14th). Free-throw percentage: 80.0 (third) . Steals: 2.3 (fifth).
  • 6-2 freshman forward Lindsay Thall: 9.7 points. Three-point percentage: 41.7. Blocked shots: 2.2 (first). Rebounds: 5.9.
  • 5-9 senior guard Alexa Golden: 8.8 points. Steals: 3.3 (first). Assists: 3.1 (16th). Blocks: 0.9 (10th). Rebounds: 6.2 (17th).

WHAT COACH TODD STARKEY IS SAYING: “We’ve got a lot to improve on if we’re going to have a win. It’s arguably the toughest place to play in the league.

“Consistency is what we have to improve the most. It’s not like we can’t do it and that we don’t do it at times and look good.  but we have to do it all the time regardless of the situation. We still haven’t put four good quarters together yet.”

THE BOTTOM LINE: If the Flashes play the way they did in when they outscored Western Michigan 20-7 in the first quarter Wednesday, they should be in the game. If they play the way they did when they scored 17 points in the second half, they could lost by 25.

To follow the game

The game starts at 1 p.m. Saturday at Alumni Arena at the University of Buffalo. It’s about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Kent. Here are directions from the Buffalo website. General admission tickets are $10. Average Buffalo attendance is  1,993, third in the MAC.

Audio starts at about 12:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. David Wilson is the announcer.

Video is through ESPN3. You need a subscription to ESPN on your cable or satellite system or through the ESPN app.

Live statistics are available through the Buffalo website.

Links

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

Detailed media notes for Kent State.

Preview from Buffalo website, including links.

Detailed media notes for Buffalo.

MAC statistics

MAC standings

 

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