WNIT 2019: Flashes face Green Bay, one of nation’s top mid-major teams

Team

Flashes Ali Poole (23), Megan Carter (31), Mariah Modkins 5) and Lindsey Thall. (Photo by David Dermer from KSU website.)

Kent State’s task against Wisconsin-Green Bay in the WNIT Thursday is not an easy one.

The Flashes are going up against a perennial mid-major power, a team that has made postseason 20 years in a row. They’re playing one of the best defensive teams in the country. Green Bay allows only 51 points a game.

They are playing at Green Bay, where the Phoenix were 13-2 this season. It’s the first postseason game Green Bay has ever played on its home floor. The Phoenix have mostly played in the NCAA Tournament, and they’ve never hosted a home WNIT game.

KSU had one of the toughest travel assignment in the WNIT. The Flashes left Kent at about 4 a.m. Wednesday for a flight to Wisconsin. When they played in the WNIT two years ago, they had a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Ann Arbor.

The game is at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (6 p.m. in Green Bay) and will be telecast on ESPN3.

“It’s a tough draw, and our margin for error in this game will be very small,”  coach Todd Starkey told Allen Moff of the Record-Courier this week.”They are so rigid defensively, a really tough fundamental team. Their starting lineup is all fourth- or fifth-year players.

“But our team is excited to play. It’s bonus basketball for us, and we’re proud to represent the MAC in a field that’s stacked with good teams.”

Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth, who has won 410 games in two stints at Green Bay and five years at Michigan, had nice things to say about KSU, too.

They are really good,” he said in the Green Bay OPress Gazette.. “The MAC is a really good conference. They have a lot of teams in postseason play. AIt seems like any one of them could have finished on top, with Kent State being one of those teams.

“Kent State beat Youngstown State by 30. They lost to Wright State by six. They beat Oakland and they beat Northern Kentucky. They are really good.”

All four of those teams, like Green Bay, are members of the Horizon League.

Wright State was the first team other than Green Bay to win the Horizon regular season outright in more than 20 years. The Raiders beat Green Bay in two out of three games, winning by 18 at home, losing by 19 in Green Bay and winning by three in the league tournament.

Green Bay won two out of three against YSU and swept the season series against Oakland and Northern Kentucky.

One nice note on the game: It’s a chance for friends and family of senior Merissa Barber-Smith to see her play in person close to home. Barber-Smith, Kent’s leading rebounder, went to high school in Madison. That’s about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Green Bay.

About the game

Kent State (19-12, tied for fifth in the MAC) at Wisconsin-Green Bay (22-9, second in the Horizon League) at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kress Center in Green Bay. Time is 7 p.m. Eastern. Winner will advance to play Butler or Northeastern.

About Green Bay

RPI: 69 of 351 teams as compiled by there NCAA. Omni Rankings: 54(RPI emphasizes record and strength of schedule. Omni also takes into account record against good teams and margin of victory. It emphasizes recent games.) Schedule strength: 4. Fifteenth-ranked mid-major team by CollegeInsider.com.

LAST GAME: Lost to Wright State 55-52 March 12 in finals of Horizon League Tournament.

KEY TEAM STATS 

(From HerHoopStats.com, an analytics service)

  • Scores 63.1 points a game, 196th of 351 Division I teams. Opponents score 53.4 (fifth).
  • Field-goal percentage: 41.5 (114th).
  • 3-point percentage: 34.0 (69th). Percentage of points from three-points: 30.5 (116th). 2-point percentage: 45.3 (133rd).
  • Free throw percentage 65.9 (279th).
  • Offensive-rebounding rate: 31.6 percent (198th). Defensive rebounding rate: b (48th). (Rebounding rate is the percent of possible offensive rebounds a team actually gets.)
  • Assist rate (percentage of baskets with assists): 61.2 (59th). Turnover rate: 16.9 percent (69th). Steals per game: 9.1 (69th). Blocks per game: 3.1 (187th). Foul rate: 25.1 percent (207th).
  • Field-goal defense: 39.3 (fourth in Division I).
  • Opponents’ 3-point percentage: 27.2 (14th). Opponents 2-point percentage: 40.0 (36th).
  • Opponents assist rate: 55.5 (168th). Opponents’ turnover rate 21.6 (61st). Opponents steal rate: 9.3 (62nd).

KEY PLAYERS

  • 5-foot-8 junior guard Frankie Wurtz: 10.4 points per game, 4.4 rebounds.
  • 5-9 senior guard Laken James: 9.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.1 steals. Second-team all-Horizon.
  • 5-8 senior guard Jen Wellnitz,: 8.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.7 steals. Horizon League defensive player of the year and first-team all-league.
  • 6-3 freshman forward Madison Wolf,: 8.1 points, 7 rebounds.

Kent State

RPI: 83. Omni Ranking: 118. Schedule strength: 88.

LAST GAME: Lost to eventual-tournament champion Buffalo 85-52 in MAC quarterfinals March 13.

KEY TEAM STATS 

  • Scores 65.2 points a game, 149th of 351 Division I teams. Opponents score 62.9 (123rd).
  • Field-goal percentage: 37.0 (288th). 3-point percentage: 32.1 (133rd). 2-point percentage: 39.9 (305th).
  • Free throw percentage 73.0 (79th).
  • Offensive-rebounding rate: 31.2 percent (215th). Defensive rebounding rate: 69.8 (100th).
  • Assist rate: 48.2 (317th). Turnover rate: 18.3 percent (131). Steals per game: 8.0 (147th). Blocks per game: 4.0 (73rd). Foul rate: 24.4 (162nd).
  • Field-goal defense: 38.3 (82nd). Opponents’ 3-point percentage: 31.9 (198th). Opponents 2-point percentage: 41.8 (81st).
  • Opponents’ assist rate: 56.4 (192nd). Opponents’ turnover rate 21.5 (62nd). Opponents/ steal rate: 9.8 (98th).

KEY PLAYER STATS

  • 5-7 redshirt junior guard Megan Carter: 16.0 points per game. Free-throw percentage: 73.4. All-MAC third team.
  • 5-9 senior guard Alexa Golden: 7.4 points. Steals: 2.8. Assists: 2.7. Rebounds: 5.5. All-MAC defensive team.
  • 5-4 freshman point guard Asiah Dingle: 13.1 points. Free-throw percentage: 77.9 . Steals: 2.0. Assists: 2.5. MAC all-freshman team. Runner-up for freshman of the year.
  • 6-2 freshman forward Lindsay Thall: 10.4 points. 3-point percentage: 40.1.  Blocked shots: 1.8. Rebounds: 4.8. MAC all-freshman team.
  • 6-4 senior center Merissa Barber-Smith: 7.5 rebounds. Blocked shots: 1.2.
  • 6-0 junior guard Ali Poole: 9.1 points. Rebounds: 4.2.

To follow the game

Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. Jacob Pavilack does play-by-play

Video is through ESPN3. You can watch through ESPN on your television or computer or through the ESPN app.

Live statistics are available through the Green Bay website.

Links

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

Detailed media game notes from Kent State.

Preview from Green Bay website, including links.

Detailed media game notes from Green Bay.

WNIT bracket

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