KSU seniors (from left) Ali Poole, Megan Carter and Sydney Brinlee. (Graphic from KSU Twitter feed.)
Miami (4-9 and tied for 9th in MAC. 11-14 overall)
at Kent State (7-6 and tied for 4th. 14-10 overall)
Game starts at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, at the M.A.C. Center.
It’s Senior Day for the Flashes, honoring Megan Carter, Ali Poole and Sydney Brinlee.
Carter has scored 1,079 points in her career, 20th in school history. Poole started 48 games for the Flashes, but partially tore her ACL last summer, then tore it completely against Western Michigan in January. She played only 68 minutes this season. Brinlee was a junior college transfer from Highland Community College in Kansas. She played in 26 of KSU’s 32 games last season of 20 of its 24 this year. She is one of the first two post player off the bench.
General admission tickets are $5. Kent State’s average home attendance would be about 1,800, fourth in the MAC and Kent State’s highest in decades.
What’s at stake
Kent State is locked in a three-way tie for fourth place in the MAC with Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Toledo is just a game behind them, Akron two games. There are five games to go in the regular season.
Kent State can’t afford to lose at home and stay in contention, especially to a team it beat 78-75 at Miami.
Miami is tied for ninth in the MAC, a game out of eighth. A move up would be significant; eighth place is the last spot that gets a home game in the first round of the tournament.
When the teams met in January, Kent State led most of the game but trailed by a point with eight seconds to go. The Flashes stole two inbound passes and scored both times.
REPORT CARD ON KSU’s 71-58 LOSS TO CENTRAL MICHIGAN: Central dominated almost every statistic.
What to watch
Miami has two all-MAC seniors and a candidate for the league’s all-freshman team. But the Redhawks haven’t been able to jell under new coach DeUnna Hendrix.
They went 9-7 in conference play but beat only one team with a winning record. Miami started conference play 1-5, then won three in a row. Since then they’ve lost three in a row — to first-place Central Michigan and second-place Ohio, and in overtime at Northern Illinois.
Savannah Kleusner, a second-team all-MAC selection a year ago, leads Miami in scoring (17.9 points per game, eighth in the league) and rebounding (8.5, fourth in the conference). Preseason all-MAC East selection Lauren Dickerson is ninth in the league in scoring at 17.7 pointer per game and leads the MAC in assists at 6.1 per game. (Statistics are for conference games only.)
Freshman Peyton Scott averages 12.9 points and 4.9 rebounds assists per game. That’s fifth highest in the league among freshmen, behind Buffalo’s Dyaisha Fair, Central Michigan’s Molly Davis and Kent State’s Nila Blackford and Katie Shumate.
Miami has struggled defensively for the last four games, giving up an average of 88 points.
Kent State has played good defense for the month of February, allowing opponents to score more than 70 points only in Wednesday’s 71-58 loss to Central Michigan. The 75 points Miami scored against the Flashes in January were the most points they’ve given up in a MAC game.
Once again, a question hanging over the Flashes is the status of freshman forward Nila Blackford, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. Blackford has been in concussion protocol since a hard fall to the floor in the Akron game nine days ago. She’s being evaluated daily.
With Blackford out, point guard Asiah Dingle has been KSU’s leading scorer. She had 16 against CMU and 22 against Toledo last Saturday. She’s done it as the first person off the bench, averaging 16 points a game and 61% shooting in the five games since she came back from a two-game suspension. Her 53% shooting percentage is third in the MAC and highest among guards.
To tell how the game is going, look at defense.
If KSU’s defense is close to the 61 points it’s allowed over the last five games, the Flashes should be all right.
If Miami’s defense gives up something close to the 84 points it’s given up in the last five games, things should be even better for Kent State.
All statistics are for conference games only, which are more current and reflect similar competition.
- RPI: Kent State 102 of 351 Division I teams. Miami 187. (RPI is based on a team’s record and schedule strength.)
- Power rankings: Kent State 112. Miami 213. (Adds factors like margin of victory, record in recent games, injuries.)
- Kent State home record (MAC games): 4-2. Miami road record: 1-5.
- Scoring average: KSU 11th in MAC at 66.1 points per game. Miami third at 72.6.
- Defensive average: KSU first at 65.2. Miami 12th and last at 77.8.
- Field-goal percentage: KSU 10th at 40.3 (ninth on 3-pointers at 30.3%). Miami sixth at 41.8 (11th on 3s at 38.6%).
- Field-goal defense: KSU third at 38.9 (last on 3s at 36.8%). Miami lost at 47.8 (11th on 3s at 35.8).
- Free throw shooting: Kent State fourth at 69.6%. Miami fifth at 68.6.
- Rebounding margin: KSU ninth at -2.5. Miami 11th at -3.0.
- Turnover margin: KSU fourth at +1.6. Miami third at +2.5. KSU sixth in steals at 6.7, Miami third at 8.3.
- Assists: Kent State 11th at 10.6. Miami first at 14.5.
- Blocked shots: Kent State first at 4.6. Miami third at 3.4.
- 5-4 sophomore guard Asiah Dingle (14.4 points, 52.7% on field goals, third in MAC. 12.0 steals per game, sixth in MAC; 2.9 assists).
- 6-2 freshman forward Nila Blackford (13.4 points, 7.7 rebounds).
- 5-11 freshman guard Katie Shumate (12.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 44.4% shooting).
- 5-7 senior guard Megan Carter (10.5 points, 3.4 rebounds).
- 6-2 sophomore forward Lindsey Thall (9.6 points, 1.9 three-point baskets a game, first in MAC in blocked shots at 2.7 per game).
- 5-3 senior guard Lauren Dickerson (17.7 points, eighth in MAC; 6.1 assists, first; 1.4 steals).
- 6-2 senior Savannah Kluesner (17.9 points, eighth; 8.5 rebounds, fourth; 1.7 blocks, third).
- 5-8 freshman guard Peyton Scott (12.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists).
Following the game from home
Video stream on ESPN3 starts at game time at 1 p.m. It’s free if you have a subscription to ESPN on cable, satellite or on the ESPN app. David Wilson does play-by-play.
Audio starts at about 12:45 p.m. on WHLO 640 and Golden Flash iHeart Radio. Dan Griffin is the announcer.
Live statistics will be on the Kent State website during the game.
Kent State website, with links to roster, statistics, schedule and more.
Miami website, with links.