Megan Carter has led Kent State in scoring since the first game of the season. She currently averages 17.2 points a game in conference play. (File photo from KSU team website.)
The bane of Kent State’s offense this season has been the old-fashioned 2-point basket.
The Flashes rank 311th of 351 teams in Division I in shots inside the 3-point arc this season, making 39 percent. That’s below nine MAC teams’ percentage of all shots. In regular season and MAC play, KSU is last in the league on 2-pointers.
Kent State compares much better in three-point shooting, ranking second in conference games at 35.2 percent and 99th in the country in all games. (All statistics are from herhoopstats.com, the best analytics site I’ve seen on women’s basketball.)
What’s going on?
“We’re struggling with finding someone who can finish in the paint,” coach Todd Starkey said. “We have to have some people who can make some pretty baskets around the rim and high-percentage shots, and right now we’re struggling to get that done.”
It’s been true all season and true for most KSU players. Average on 2-pointers across the country is about 44 percent. Only forward Lindsey Thall (44.3 percent) and guard Megan Carter (41.5) are above 40. The rest of the team’s starters are clustered around 39 percent.
The Flashes play first-place Miami at the M.A.C.C. Wednesday night. When the two teams met in Oxford on Jan. 26, KSU had one of its better 2-point shooting nights at 52.8 percent, but the team was 3 for 17 on 3-pointers.
About the Miami game
Miami (12-2 MAC, 21-4 overall) at Kent State (8-6, 15-10) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the M.A.C. Center.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Kent State is tied for fifth in the conference but 0-5 against the top four teams. There’s a chance the Flashes could move into fourth and get a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament, which is in two weeks. But beating Miami is almost essential to the plan. Miami is one game in front of Central Michigan and Ohio. Losing just one game down the stretch could cost them the top seed in the tournament and, perhaps, an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they don’t win the league’s.
COACH TODD STARKEY: “I’m not really quite sure (what’s causing his team’s slow starts). I’d like to use our youth as an excuse, but at this point in the season you can’t use that anymore. We’ve gotten really good looks early in games, but for some reason missed so many open layups and jumpers. Our players are aware of it and trying to figure out ways to get off to better starts. The teams we play are also aware of it and looking to jump on us early.
“Miami is the most balanced team in our league, not only from a position standpoint. They’re also balanced on both ends of the floor. They’re one of the more experienced teams in the league, and they’re on a roll. When we play the top teams in the league our margin for error is very small, and we haven’t been able to crack that code yet. But I feel optimistic that if we play our best we can beat any of them.”
As quoted by Allen Moff in the Record-Courier
IN THE MAC: In first place at 12-2, losing only to Buffalo at home and at Northern Illinois. The Redhawks have won 11 in a row.
RPI: 42 of 351 teams, third best in the MAC after Central Michigan and Ohio. Schedule strength: 165. Road record: 11-3. Fifteenth in this week’s College Insider Mid-Major Top 25. Redhawks have won 20 games in two straight seasons for the first time since the 1980s.
LAST GAME: Beat last-place Bowling Green 75-62 in Oxford, outscoring Falcons 20-10 in fourth quarter.
KEY TEAM STATS (conference statistics only)
- Scores 69.6 points a game, fourth in MAC. Opponents score 62.8 (sixth).
- Field-goal percentage: 43.0 (third). Field-goal defense: 41.5 (sixth).
- Three-point percentage: 31.0 (10th). Three-point baskets per game: 5.7 (11h). Three-point defense: 27.7 (first).
- Rebounding margin: Plus-2.8 (third). Turnover margin: plus-2.8 (third).
- 5-foot-3 junior guard Lauren Dickerson: 18.7 points per game, fourth in MAC. Field-goal percentage 38.1 (12th). Three-point baskets per game: 2.4 (seventh). Assists: 4.8 (fourth). Steals: 2.5 (fourth). Rebounds: 5.0.
- 6-2 junior forward Savannah Kluesner: 16.3 points (10th). Field-goal percentage 50.3 (fifth). Free-throw percentage: 70.2 (ninth). Rebounds: 9.9 (second).
- 6-0 junior wing Kendall McCoy: 12.1 points (23rd). Field-goal percentage: 41.6. Three-point percentage: 35.8 (20th). Free-throw percentage: 88.0. Rebounds: 6.6 (14th). Assists: 2.4 (21st).
About Kent State
IN THE MAC: Tied for fifth with Northern Illinois and Toledo at 8-6, one game behind Buffalo and four games behind first-place Miami.
RPI: 83. Schedule strength: 79. Home record: 9-3. Has won five of last seven games.
LAST GAME: Lost 69-67 to Ohio at home Saturday.
KEY TEAM STATS (conference games only)
- 67.1 points a game (seventh). Opponents average 65.2 (third).
- Field goal percentage: 37.6 (last). Field goal defense: 40.1 (third).
- Three-point percentage: 35.2 (second). Three-point baskets per game: 7.5 (fifth). Three-point defense: 33.2 (seventh).
- Free-throw percentage: 74.3 (fourth). Has taken and made second most foul shots in league (behind Buffalo in both categories).
- Rebounding margin: Plus-0.7 (fifth). Turnover margin: Plus-1.8 (fourth)
- Blocked shots: 3.9 (first). Steals: 8.6 (third).
KEY PLAYER STATS
- 5-7 redshirt junior guard Megan Carter: 17.2 points (sixth). Field-goal percentage: 42.9 (10th). Three-point percentage: 42.6 (fifth). Free-throw percentage: 75.0 (sixth). Assists: 2.2 (24th).
- 5-4 freshman point guard Asiah Dingle: 12.8 points (19th). Free-throw percentage: 78.3 (fifth). Assists: 2.4 (21st). Steals: 2.3 (sixth).
- 5-9 senior guard Alexa Golden: 9.6 points. Three-point percentage: 35.9 (19th). Three-pointers per game: 1.6 (19th). Steals: 3.2 (first). Assists: 2.8 (17th). Blocks: 0.8 (ninth). Rebounds: 6.2 (17th).
- 6-2 freshman forward Lindsey Thall: 10.4 points. Three-point percentage: 47.5 (second). Three pointers per game: 2.1 (13th)/ Blocked shots: 1.7 (second). Rebounds: 5.2.
- 6-0 junior guard Ali Poole: 9.7 points. Three-point percentage: 36.4 (17th). Three-point baskets per game: 1.7 (17th).
THE BOTTOM LINE: Kent’s 16-point loss at Miami was its biggest conference margin of defeat. Miami has won 11 in a row. Flashes will have to play their best game of conference season to win.
To follow the game
The game starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the M.A.C.C. Center-court chairback tickets are $10, general admission $5. Students are free with Kent State ID. Average home attendance has been 953, seventh in conference.
Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. Jacob Pavilack does play-by-play.
Video is through ESPN+, which costs $4.99 a month. It covers about half of MAC men’s and women’s games (the rest are broadcast elsewhere) and all except the finals of the MAC Tournament. You can watch it through your cable or satellite company, on the ESPN website, or the ESPN app. Here’s a link to the ESPN broadcast, which will guide you through a purchase. David Wilson and Henry Palattella are the announcers.
Live statistics are available through the Kent State website.
Kent State women’s website, including links to statistics, roster and more.
Miami website, including links.
MAC conference-only statistics, including link to full-season stats.