Senior Megan Carter in action against Ohio State. She had three 3-point baskets and 13 points against the Buckeyes. (Photo by David Dermer.)
Kent State’s Sunday game against Robert Morris isn’t nearly as glamorous as its meeting with Ohio State Thursday, but it could tell us more about the team.
The Flashes are 3-2 after their 75-65 loss to OSU before 4,272 fans, probably the largest crowd ever to see a women’s game at the M.A.C. Center. (Records before 2000 are spotty.)
Robert Morris is 2-2 and the unanimous favorite to win the Northeastern Conference, a league it has dominated for the 10 years.
The Colonials and Kent State have played tough games with each other over the last three years. RMU beat the Flashes 68-65 in overtime in Kent three years ago. KSU has won defensive battles at Robert Morris the last two years, 54-46 last season and 46-31 two years ago.
The Colonials would be competitive in the Mid-American Conference, though probably not at the top of the league.
So far this season they have lost to TCU (now 4-0) and beaten LaSalle (4-1) in overtime on the road, then beaten Youngstown State (2-3) and lost to Columbia (2-3) at home. Robert Morris has led in the second half of every game, and all except YSU has been decided by five points or fewer.
Kent State beat Youngstown State by nine in overtime at YSU. Robert Morris beat the Penguins by 58-43 in Pittsburgh.
Robert Morris returns four starters and 85% of its scoring from a team that went 22-11 last season and made the WNIT. 6-foot-2 senior center Nneka Ezeigbo (15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game so far this season) was all-conference last season and league defensive player of the year.
Guard Nina Augustin (10 points, 5.8 assists per game) made the all-NEC tournament team and guard Isabel Possett made the league’s all–freshman team. The Colonials have added junior college all-American Holly Forbes (9.3 ppg).
Robert Morris ranked 12th in the country in scoring defense last season, allowing 55 points per game.
Kent State, which ranked third in the MAC in points allowed last year, has yet to find its defense this season despite returning three starters (a fourth has been injured). The Flashes are giving up 75 points a game, 13 more than last season. Four of their five opponents have shot better than 45%, though two were the Big Ten’s Michigan and Ohio State.
Those were the teams that beat KSU. The Flashes have beaten mid-majors YSU (2-3) and Duquesne (3-2) on the road and Purdue Fort Wayne (2-4) at the Akron Classic.
Sophomore forward Lindsey Thall’s 32 points against Ohio State, powered largely by a school-record eight three-pointers, pushed her scoring average to 16.2 per game. The four other KSU starters also average in double figures: freshman guard Katie Shumate (12.8), sophomore guard Asiah Dingle (12.6), freshman forward Nila Blackford (11.6) and senior guard Megan Carter (10.6).
Blackford (8 rebounds a game), Shumate (5.2) and Thall (4.4) lead in rebounding.
Mid-American Conference standings (just non-league games so far).
The view from Ohio State
Ohio State coach Kevin McDuff, as quote in the Columbus Dispatch’s BuckeyeExtra
“I thought we played well for three quarters, and then in the fourth quarter we played really bad. I think that’s just a sign of an immature team; we got out of our process and system and they made us pay for it.”
On the team having nine players with more than 17 minutes:
“One of the luxuries of this team is that we have some depth and can play a lot of people. It was a really good performance.”
On the team’s 22 assists, a season high, on 32 baskets:
“I really liked the way we moved the ball. (That’s when) we’re at our best.:
To follow the Robert Morris game
Tipoff is at 1 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center. General admission tickets are $5. Students get in free with their ID.
Video will be streamed on ESPN3, which is free if you subscribe to ESPN by cable, satellite or app.
Pregame audio begins at about 12:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio.
Live statistics are available during the game on the Kent State website.
KSU team website, with links to roster, schedule, statistics and more.
Robert Morris website, with links.