Sunday foe Purdue may be good as 1st Big Ten teams that beat Flashes


Sophomore guard Hannah Young started her first college game Tuesday against St. Bonaventure and scored five points in 15 minutes. She’s been Kent State top reserve so far this season, especially in the last five games. She’s made eight of her 11 shots. 

Kent State ends its three-game Big Ten season Sunday.

It hasn’t gone well so far. The Flashes lost to Michigan by 35 points on Nov. 15 and by 10 to Ohio State on Nov. 17 in a game that looked that close because of a 3-point KSU barrage in the fourth quarter.

Their third game is at Purdue at noon Sunday. (That’s both Ohio and Indiana time. I previously incorrectly thought and reported Indiana was on Central time.)

The Flashes didn’t get any easy ones when they scheduled three Big Ten Teams for the first time in KSU history this season.

  • Purdue is 6-2 with losses only to No. 18 Gonzaga (8-1) and Virginia Tech (7-1). The Boilermakers beat Drake and Arizona State, both 6-2, in the Gulf Coast Showcase before losing to Gonzaga in the finals. With Thursday’s loss to Virginia Tech, they’ve lost two in a row.
  • Ohio State is 5-3. It lost to MAC favorite Ohio University at home Nov. 17. But on Thursday, the Buckeyes beat No. 2 Louisville in Columbus.
  • Michigan is 7-1 and ranked 24th in the country. Its only loss was by four points to Notre Dame. Its best win was probably its 84-76 overtime victory over Syracuse Thursday.

Every team in the Big Ten has a winning record. Eleven have lost no more than two games. Twelve of the league’s 14 teams are in the Top 75 in the RPI, a rating system that takes into account its record and strength of schedule. Schools have played enough games so that the RPI is starting to mean something.

Ohio State is ranked ninth in RPI by, one of the rankings I use most. Nolan has OSU’s schedule as the toughest in the country so far. Michigan’s RPI  is 32nd and Purdue 44th.

Kent State (5-2) is 69th, which is highest in the MAC. Buffalo has the best record in the MAC at 6-2, but its schedule strength is rated at 187, way below Kent State’s 75. Ohio is al 5-2 with an RPI of 124 and a schedule strength of 230. (I’d take all of those ratings with very large grain of salt at this point.)

We’ll do a big piece on rankings during Christmas break.

But today’s topic is Purdue, one of the better defensive teams in the country. HerHoopStats, an analytics site, ranks the Boilermakers 28th overall defense. (By comparison, the site ranks Ohio State 14th and Michigan 34th.) Purdue’s opponents are shooting 32.5% from the field and 25% from 3-point distance.

The Boilermakers don’t score a lot — just 62.2 points a game, but their opponents score even less — 55 points, 28th best in Division I.

Kent State does the opposite. The Flashes are scoring 73.6 points a game, their highest in more than 15 years, and giving up 73.9. The defensive number is 299th among the 351 Division I teams. KSU opponents are making 47.5% of their shots, 340th of 351 teams.

Purdue makes 42.5% of its shots. So the game likely will come down to whether Kent State’s defense can do its best work of the season against Purdue’s offense. The Flashes are coming off their best defensive game of the season, an 81-58 trouncing of St. Bonaventure. But the Bonnies are 1-7 and probably the second-worst team the Flashes have faced.

Can Kent State’s offense score on a Big Ten team? The record so far isn’t optimistic. The Flashes played a total of two good quarters against Michigan and Ohio State. They led Michigan 16-12 after one quarter and outscored the Buckeyes 25-12 in the fourth quarter. Outside of that, KSU has been outscored 140-77.

Purdue’s best players

  • 6-1 senior forward Ae’Rihanna Harris. Last season’s defensive player of the year in the Big Ten. Preseason all-Big Ten selection. On pace to be the first Purdue player and second Big Ten player to have 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocked shots.
  • 5-8 senior guard Dominique Oden. Leads team in scoring at 13.1 points per game and has scored 1,452 in her career. Has made 9 of 20 three-point shots. Averages three assists and four rebounds per game. Has started 107 of 111 games in four years.
  • 5-7 junior guard Karissa McLaughlin. Preseason all-Big Ten selection. Last season became third Purdue player to be all-Big Ten as a sophomore. Tied school’s second single-season 3-point record. So far this season is shooting below 30% from field and 3-point distance.

Kent State’s best players

  • 6-2 freshman forward Nila Blackford. Leads team in scoring at 15.6 points per game and in rebounding at 8.4. Fourth in MAC in offensive rebounding (3.4). Has scored 51 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in last two games.
  • 6-2 sophomore forward Lindsey Thall. Second on team in scoring at 14.7 points per game and tied for first in blocked shots at 1.1. Has made 44.9% of her 3-point shots, including a school-record eight against Ohio State. Scored 32 points in that game.
  • 5-7 senior guard Megan Carter. Third on team at 12.9 points per game after leading Flashes at 15.9 last season. Scored her 1,000th point against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, when she scored season-high 21 points
  • 5-11 freshman wing Katie Shumate. Second on team in rebounding at 5.9 per game, fourth in scoring at 11.9, tied for first in blocked shots at 1.1 and first in steals at 2.4. Leads team in minutes per game at 36.1.
  • 5-5 sophomore point guard Asiah Dingle. Leads team in assists at 3.1 per game, fifth in scoring at 11.3 after being second on team as freshman last season. Second on team in steals at 1.7.

Kent State season statistics.

MAC season statistics, including standings (all non-league games so far).

To follow the game

Tipoff is at noon Sunday at Mackey Arena at Purdue University. (It’s noon in both Ohio and Indiana; I incorrectly had thought and reported West Lafayette was on Central time.) Here are directions to the arena. It’s about a four-and-a-half hour drive. Tickets are $10. There is a four tickets for $20 promotion.

Video is on BTN+, the Big Ten’s pay-to-watch network. It costs $14.95 per month. You can sign up for one month, but don’t forget to cancel after the game. It automatically renews if you don’t. Sign up or sign in here.

Audio will start at about 11:45 on Golden Flash iHeard Radio. David Wilson is the announcer.

Live statistics can be found during and after the game on the Purdue website.

Game preview on KSU website, with links to roster, schedule and more.

Detailed media game notes for Kent State.

Preview from Purdue website, including links.

Purdue media notes.








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