Home opener: Flashes look for 7th win in row vs. EMU, which has its last 4

Dingle vs. Hiram

Point guard Asiah Dingle, who’s only 5-4, had eight rebounds against Ball State Saturday to go with three assists, two steals and seven points. (Photo from KSU Twitter feed.)

Eastern Michigan (6-6, 1-0 MAC) at Kent State (7-5, 0-1 MAC)

7 p.m. Wednesday at the M.A.C. Center. General admission tickets are a reduced price of $3. Students are free with Kent State ID.

What’s at stake

Kent State has a better overall record and higher RPI and was predicted to finish ahead of Eastern Michigan in preseason polls. It’s playing at home. It needs to win this game to stay competitive for a first-division finish in the MAC.

A win for Eastern Michigan would give the Eagles a big boost. They haven’t had a winning record in the MAC in five years.

It’s second Mid-American Conference game for both. Eastern won its first game at home against Bowling Green 78-61. Kent State lost 66-62 on the road to a good Ball State team.

Kent State has won six straight against Eastern since Todd Starkey became head coach.

Eastern has won four games in a row since before Christmas. But aside from Bowling Green (7-6), the teams had a combined record of 7-37. Eastern’s 17-point win over Bowling Green was its biggest margin of victory in the MAC since Fred Castro became coach four years ago.

What to watch

Flashes played some of its best defense of season at Ball State. But Flashes had only six assists and got only three points from its bench. They’ll need to do better in those categories.

Areanna Combs, a 5-10 transfer from Oklahoma State, has averaged 20.7 points a gamer Eastern Michigan  since she first played on Dec. 6. She had 32 against Bowling Green. In team statistics, Eastern is pretty much in the middle of the MAC in most things. The Eagles are the worst free-throw shooting team in the conference (56.9%).

Both teams use turnovers to feed their offense. Kent State is fourth in the league in turnover margin (plus 3.75). Eastern is fifth (plus-3.25). KSU has committing the fewest turnovers in the MAC. Eastern has forced the fourth most.

Team comparisons

  • RPI: Kent State 87 of 351 Division I teams. Eastern Michigan 200.
  • Power rankings: Kent State 154. Eastern 243.
  • Kent State home record: 2-1. Eastern Michigan road record: 2-4.
  • Scoring average: KSU sixth in MAC at 71.6. Eastern 10th at 66.3.
  • Defensive average: KSU eighth at 67.9. Eastern fourth at 64.9.
  • Field-goal percentage: KSU 39.5 (sixth on 3-pointers at 31.5%). Eastern 40.9 (eighth at 29.9).
  • Field-goal defense: KSU 10th at 43.3 (eight on 3s at 33.8%). Eastern fourth at 40.3 (last on 3s at 34.7).
  • Rebounding margin: KSU ninth at -0.9. Eastern fourth at +0.7.
  • Turnover margin: KSU fourth at +3.75. Easter fifth at +3.25. KSU eighth in steals at 7/58. Eastern fourth at 9.33.

Top players

Kent State

  • 6-2 freshman forward Nila Blackford (10th in MAC in scoring at 14.3, fourth in rebounding at 7.6).
  • 5-7 senior guard Megan Carter (20th in scoring at 12.5).
  • 6-2 sophomore forward Lindsey Thall (23rd in scoring at 12.2, fourth in 3-point percentage at 42.5, fourth in blocked shots at 1.3).
  • 5-11 freshman guard Katie Shumate (13th in rebounding at 6.4, third in blocks at 1.4).
  • 4-5 sophomore guard Asiah Dingle (seventh in assists at 3.9, 10th in steals at 2.0).

Eastern Michigan

  • 5-10 junior guard Areanna Combs (20.7 points per game in scoring. Would be third in MAC but has played only six games.)
  • 5-5 freshman guard Aaliyab Stanley (19th in scoring at 12.9).
  • 6-5 junior center Autumn Hudson (17th in rebounding at 5.8).
  • 5-5 sophomore guard Jenna Annecchiarico (eighth in assists at 3.8, 15th in steals at 1.8).

Following the game at home

Video stream on ESPN+ starts at game time at 7 p.m. Service costs $4.99 a month and includes about half of all MAC men’s and women’s games for all games. This link takes you to to the game, where you can sign up. David Wilson is the announcer.

Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on WHLO 640 and Golden Flash iHeart Radio.

Live statistics will be on the Kent State website during the game.

Links

Preview from Kent State website, with links to roster, statistics schedule and more.

Preview from Eastern Michigan website, with links.

Detailed media game notes from Eastern Michigan.

MAC statistics.

MAC standings.

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. goldenflash101

    It might be a little early to say this with certainty but it’s really beginning to look this way. None of last years freshman appear to have improved significantly especially on the offensive end. The team is better but mainly because of this years freshmen. Usually you see the most improvement between year one and two. I can’t say defensively because that needs a much harder look to see but offensively their games look about the same as last year. Same strengths and unfortunately the same weaknesses. With 17 games left it can still change but I for one am disappointed it’s not apparent yet.

    Like

    • Carl Schierhorn

      I think I’d agree with this. It’s somewhat hard to tell because the dynamics are different with the freshmen, who give them a lineup where everyone can score. But Dingle still isn’t a 3-point shooter. Assists are still low (though hers are up a little). Thall had the one big game against OSU but has been about the same. Her rebounding and inside scoring isn’t much different. Modkins and Young are similar. Pavlansky is better but not enough to make a difference. Last year’s team and the 2016-17 team both got better throughout the season and were playing their best at end. We’ll see if this year’s team can do that (and perhaps do something in the MAC tournament).

      Like

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