Category: Kent State women’s basketball

Big numbers in assists and points off turnovers give KSU a solid report card

Women's logoExcellent numbers in assists, points off turnovers, bench scoring and shooting percentage give the Flashes a good report card — and a road victory at Northern Illinois.

Kent State 79, Northern Illinois 71


GAME STORY: Hannah Young joins 3 starters in double figures in win


Score 70 points on offense: 79, the Flashes’ most against a Division I team since Jan. 3. Kent State is now 8-0 when scoring more than 70, ACHIEVED.

Hold opponent under 70: 71. Northern scored 15 point in the final three minutes, which blew this benchmark out of the books. NOT QUITE.

Make 40% of shots: 45.5%, KSU’s fourth best of the season and the best in conference play by six percentage points. Flashes are 4-0 this season and 25-4 under coach Todd Starkey when shooting about 45%. Northern is fifth in the conference in field goal defense at 40.1%. ACHIEVED.

Hold opponent under 40%: 42%. It was the first time in seven games an opponent had made better than 40%. Northern’s field goal defense had been last in the conference at 37%. NOT ACHIEVED.

Outscore opponent by five on free throws: Northern Illinois 20 of 26, Kent State 12 of 18. It’s the first game this season that the Flashes have shot fewer free throws and still won. In the Starkey era, they’re 9-25. But the next three numbers more than made up for it. NOT ACHIEVED.

Outscore opponent by five off of turnovers: +15. The Flashes scored a season-high 33 points off of 24 NIU turnovers. NIU scored 18 — 12 in the fourth quarter — off 15 Kent turnovers. ACHIEVED IN A BIG WAKY.

Have 14 assists: 18, equaling their season high against a Division I team (Robert Morris). Flashes had assists on 60% of their 30 baskets, also a season high. ACHIEVED.

Get 10 points from the bench: 21, highest of the season. The was led by sophomore Hannah Young, who’s 14 off the bench was the first time a reserve has scored in double figures this season. (That doesn’t count the two or three games when starters came off the bench within minutes.) ACHIEVED.

BOTTOM LINE: A win and a B+. Numbers would have been even higher except for KSU’s struggles at the end of the second half.

Kent State statistics

MAC women’s ‘golf’ standings

Kent State was the only team to win on the road Wednesday, so the Flashes moved to even par for the season.

There still were some exciting games.

Western Michigan forward Leighah-Amori Wool made a layup off of in inbounds pass in the final seconds to give the Broncos a 73-72 victory in Kalamazoo. It was the second loss in four games for Ohio, the preseason MAC favorite.

Central Michigan scored a surprisingly easy 66-39 win over Ball State in a game between the last two undefeated teams in MAC play. The Chippewas held Ball State to 14 points in the second half.

Buffalo came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Bowling Green 65-59.  Freshman Dyaisha Fair, the overwhelming leader for MAC freshman of the year, had 26 points for the Bulls and is averaging 23.3 points a game. Buffalo is 47-0 over the last three years when holding an opponent below 60 points.

Toledo beat Akron 65-61. The Rockets led by 19 late in the third quarter when Akron went on a 25-4 run to take the lead with for minutes to go. But Toledo responded with a 9-0 run.

Eastern Michigan scored 29 points in the first quarter and went on to a 80-53 win over Miami. 6-5 junior center Autumn Hudson had 14 points and led the Eagles in scoring for the second time in her career.

In traditional standings, Buffalo, Ohio and Kent State are tied for first in the West at 2-2. Central is 4-0 and Ball State, Eastern, Toledo and Western are 3-1. In the MAC tournament started today, the West would have the top five seeds.

The “golf” standings concept is stolen from a regular on the Flash Fanatics bulletin board, who has done this for men’s basketball for several years.

It gives a team -1 for a road win (a “birdie”) and adds a point for a home loss (a “bogey.” A home win or road loss gets zero (“par”).

The golf standings

-2

  • Central Michigan (4-0, 11-4)

-1

  • Ball State (3-1, 11-5)
  • WMU (3-1, 10-5)
  • EMU (3-1, 8-7)
  • Ohio (2-2, 9-6)
  • Buffalo (2-2, 11-4)

Even

  •  Toledo (3-1, 8-7)
  • Kent State (2-2, 9-6)

+1

  • Akron (1-3, 8-7)
  • Miami (1-3, 8-8)

+2

  • Bowling Green (0-4, 7-9)
  • Northern Illinois (0-4, 4-11)

Regular MAC standings

MAC statistics

Hannah Young joins 3 starters in double figures to help KSU to 79-71 road win

Hannah file

Hannah Young matched her career highs of 14 points and eight rebounds in Kent State’s 79-71 win over Northern Illinois. (File photo from KSU website.)

Hannah Young has started to give Kent State the bench scoring the team has sought all season.

The sophomore from Forest, Virginia, played her best game in a KSU uniform Wednesday, scoring 14 points and hitting four foul shots in the last 30 seconds as the Flashes beat Northern Illinois 79-71 on the road. Young also led Kent State in rebounding with eight. She made four-of-seven shots, two-of-three 3-point shots and had two assists and a steal in 20 minutes.

The victory gave the Flashes their first road win of the MAC season and evens KSU’s record in the MAC at 2-2. The Flashes are 9-6 overall. Northern Illinois is 0-4 in the league and 4-11 overall. the Huskies have lost six straight games.

“She came through really, really good,” coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame interview with David Wilson on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “She has a lot of family that live about 15 minutes from here, and her mom flew up here for the game. So I’m really happy that Hannah was able to have a good game in front of her family. We really needed her down the stretch, and I was pleased with how she played throughout the game.”

Kent State had seen an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter dwindle to four with 53 seconds to play. In the last 30 seconds, Young grabbed three rebounds and hit four-of-six foul shots. Those four points were Kent State’s only scoring in the last two minutes.

Before then, the Flashes had been in control since the middle of the second quarter. KSU scored the last eight points of the second quarter and had run its lead to 73-56 with 2:09 to play.

But NIU went on a 15-2 run, including 11 points in a row to close the score to 75-71. Kent State missed all five of its shots in that time and committed four turnovers in the face of a Northern Illinois press.

“We went into panic mode a little bit and threw it around and turned it over like it was our job down the stretch,” Starkey said. “We started playing tentative, running away from the ball. We had guards that didn’t want it in their hands late and post players that kind of disappeared on the glass.

“But we found a way to win. And any road win in the league is a good win. Northern Illinois is much better than their record and a dangerous team.”

Young’s 14 points came after she scored seven in Kent State’s victory over Western Michigan on Saturday. She helped Kent State to 21 bench points, their most of the season against a Division I team. The Flashes have had five games this season where its entire bench scored five points or fewer.

The Flashes also got good scoring from point guard Asiah Dingle, who had 20 points, and forward Nila Blackford, who had 19. Katie Shumate had 11 and was second to Young with seven rebounds.

Dingle had five steals to lead a Kent State defense that forced 24 turnovers and converted them to 33 points. That’s the most points off turnovers for Kent State this season. KSU’s 13 steals were its third highest of the season.

 

Box score

Notes

  • In his pregame interview, Starkey said senior guard Megan Carter had mononucleosis. She missed her second-straight game, and Starkey had no timetable for her return. Freshman Clare Kelly started in her place.
  • Starkey also said that senior Ali Poole had torn her ACL against Western Michigan and was done for the season. Poole had injured the knee in summer practice. She never got back to full strength, and she hurt it again diving for a ball against WMU
  • Kent State had 18 assists on its 30 baskets, equaling its highest total of the season against a Division I team. (The Flashes had 25 against Division III Hiram.) Blackford and Shumate each had four, Dingle and guard Mariah Modkins three and Young two.
  • The Flashes made 45.5% of their baskets, second highest of the season against Division I. Dingle’s nine baskets in 15 attempts (60%) was her best percentage of the season, again aside from the Hiram game.
  • Led by Blackford’s inside scoring and Dingle’s drives to the basket, Kent State overwhelmed NIU in scoring in the paint 42-22.
  • Eight Kent State players saw more than 13 minutes of action for the second game in a row and second time this season (other than Hiram).
  • Kent State had lost its last five games at Northern Illinois.
  • The Huskies hit nine-of-19 three-point attempts, its best percentage of the season. Senior Courtney Woods, a preseason all-MAC West selection, had 25 points and four 3-pointers. But she had seven turnovers.

Kent State is back on the road Saturday at Miami.

The view from Northern Illinois

Coach Lisa Carlsen, quote on the team’s website:

“Anytime you turn the ball over 24 times you just put your team in a tough position, especially playing from behind.”

“I loved the fight and resiliency that we showed down the stretch and giving ourselves a chance when it seemed like maybe we wouldn’t have a chance. I think that’s something we can build on.”

On NIU’s press in the last minutes of the game: “We had to do something to speed them up and increase possessions. I thought our aggressiveness, really at all five spots, was critical. We did a great job of closing traps and being aggressive out of it.”

Other MAC scores

  • Central Michigan (4-0 MAC, 11-4 overall) 66, Ball State (3-1, 11-5) 39 at Central.
  • Western Michigan (3-1, 10-5) 73, Ohio (2-2, 9-6) 72 at Western.
  • Eastern Michigan (3-1, 8-7) 80, Miami (1-3, 8-8) 53 at Eastern.
  • Buffalo (2-2, 11-4) 65, Bowling Green (0-4, 7-9) 59 at Buffalo.
  • Toledo (3-1, 8-7) 65, Akron (1-3, 8-7) 61 at Toledo.

MAC standings.

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.

 

 

 

Flashes host Division III Hiram Monday in final non-conference game of season

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Former Kent State forward Jordan Korinek (back row, just left of mid-court line) stopped by practice Friday. Korinek, who graduated in 2018 as the fifth-leading scorer in KSU history, is playing professionally in Germany and played in Greece last season. (Photo from KSU Twitter feed.)

Kent State returns to action at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the M.A.C. Center against Hiram. For the Flashes, it’s:

  1. A tuneup before conference play starts at Ball State on Saturday. Hiram, a below-average Division III team, shouldn’t be able to mount much of a challenge to the Flashes, who are 6-4 against Division I opposition.
  2. Their first game in 10 days. They split two games at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic before Christmas, beating Georgia Southern 62-48 and losing to Troy 71-64.
  3. Their first game in Kent since Dec. 3, when they beat St. Bonaventure 81-58.

The Hiram game gives Kent State a chance to work off Christmas rust and, almost certainly, a chance to give everyone on the roster extended minutes. The Flashes played Division II Clarion at this time last season and beat it by 54 points, the third largest margin of victory in KSU history.

Hiram is 3-8 and was picked seventh in the nine-member North Coast Athletic Conference. Kent State has never played the Terriers in a regular-season game but beat them by 28 in an exhibition in 2015, coach Danny O’Banion’s last season.

Coach Todd Starkey has said it’s hard to find a Division I team to play at this time of season. Many have already started conference play; others don’t want to play a strong team right before the league season. Ball State, Miami and Bowling Green all play Division II schools Monday and Tuesday.

All five KSU starters average in double figures, led by senior Megan Carter’s 13.7 points a game. Freshman Nila Blackford averages 13.4, sophomore Lindsey Thall 12.4, sophomore Asiah Dingle 11.7 and freshman Katie Shumate 11.5. All but Shumate have led the team in scoring in at least one game; she has led KSU in rebounding twice.

Hiram’s top player is 5-2 guard Tashauna Wright, who averages 19.5 points a game.

To follow the game

The game starts at 5:30 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center. General admission tickets are $5.

Video is on ESPN3, which is free if you get it through your cable or satellite service or the ESPN app. David Wilson is the announcer.

Audio starts about 5:15 p.m. on Golden Flashes iHeart Radio. Dan Griffin is the announcer.

Live statistics are available on the KSU website.

 

 

 

Flashes are back at M.A.C.C. for noon Tuesday game vs. 1-6 St. Bonaventure

Shumate vs OSU

Freshman Katie Shumate (14) is third on the team in scoring (12.6 points per game), second in rebounding (5.2), first in steals (2.5) and tied for first in blocked shots (1.3).

Kent State’s women return to action against St. Bonaventure Tuesday in a game that’s unlike any they’ve played this season: a home game against a weaker opponent.

The game is at noon at the M.A.C. Center. The unusual starting time for “Kids Day Presented by PSI,” which, the KSU website site says, means more than 1,000 elementary school students are expected to attend. PSI is a Twinsburg-based company that provides support services to school districts.

So far five of the Flashes’ six games have been in two categories:

  • A close victory against a decent mid-major team — Duquesne 77-75, Youngstown State 82-73 in overtime, Robert Morris 82-81 on a last-second basket.

Or…

  • A sound defeat by a Big Ten team — 88-53 by Michigan at the Akron Classic and 75-65 by Ohio State in Kent in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score.

The one exception — a 75-67 win over Purdue Fort Wayne in Akron — is the most comparable to St. Bonaventure. Fort Wayne is 2-5 with wins over Division III Heidelberg and Division I University of Illinois at Chicago, which is 0-7.

St. Bonaventure is 1-6, though it hasn’t lost any game by more than 12 points. It lost 78-67 Wednesday to 7-0 Binghamton and 65-62 to 5-1 Cleveland State. Its only win is against 1-6 Niagara.

Kent State beat the Bonnies 76-64 on the road last season. 

St. Bonaventure was picked 13th in the 14-team Atlantic 10 Conference. Its top players are four guards — 5-foot-8 sophomore Asianae Johnson (12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game), 5-11 senior Dajah Logan (12.1 points per game) and 5-7 sophomore Deja Francis (6.9 points), who made the Atlantic 10 all-freshman team last season. 5-8 freshman freshman Olivia Brown has made 50% of her 18 three-point attempts and scored 20 points against Binghamton.

The Bonnies have only three players 6-foot or taller and only 6-1 junior Emily Calabrese has played significant minutes. She averages 8.4 points and 7.0 rebounds.

St. Bonaventure averages 64 points a game and gives up about 70. The Bonnies average eight 3-point baskets per game and have made 36% of their 3-point shots. They hit 10 of 17 against Binghamton.

It’s the kind of team that Kent State ought to beat by 15 or 20 points at home. It’s the kind of team Kent State ought to hold below 40% shooting.

But so far the Flashes haven’t beaten anyone by more than nine points and have held only one team — Fort Wayne — below 45% shooting.

The Flashes are scoring a lot of points —72.3 a game, almost seven more than last season. But they’re giving up a lot — 76.5, almost 14 more than last season.

All five KSU starters average in double figures, led by sophomore forward Lindsey Thall at 15.3 and freshman forward Nila Blackford at 14.8. But KSU’s entire bench is averaging 5.9 points a game, and half of that comes from two games by sophomore guard Hannah Young.

Senior Megan Carter would become Kent State’s 22nd 1,000-point scorer if she scores seven points against St. Bonaventure. (Here’s a nice feature on Carter by Kent Stater sports editor Gina Butkovich.)

Kent State season statistics

To follow the game

Tipoff is at noon Tuesday at the M.A.C. Center. General admission tickets are $5. Students get in free with their ID.

Video is on ESPN+, which costs $4.99 a month. Link will take you to game page, which will explain how to pay when you try to watch. About half of MAC men’s and women’s games are on ESPN+; most of the rest are on other ESPN channels (free if you get ESPN) or other broadcast outlets. ESPN+ also streams some wrestling and gymnastics matches and other others during their season, along with games from a number of other mid-major conferences. David Wilson and Ben Pagani are announcers. Most ESPN+ games are archived, so you should be able to see replay after work Tuesday if you can’t attend.

Audio starts at about 11:45 a.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. Dan Griffin is the announcer.

Live statistics during the game will be on the KSU website.

Preview from Kent State team website, including links to rosters, schedule and more.

Preview from St. Bonaventure website, including links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Thall hits record eight 3-pointers, but Flashes fall to OSU 75-65

Thall vs OSU

Lindsey Thall’s 32 points were the most scored by KSU player in two years and take her season average to 16.2 per game. (Photo from KSU Twitter feed.)

Lindsey Thall had just set a Kent State record with eight 3-point baskets. She made five-of-six of them in a fourth-quarter rally by the Flashes and seemed as if she couldn’t miss.

“It feels good,” she told reporters. “But losing feels worse.

Kent State’s women fell to Ohio State 75-65 at the M.A.C. Center Thursday in the first game between the two schools in 38 years. The game was played in front an announced crowd of 4.272, perhaps the biggest crowd ever to see a KSU women’s game. (More on that in game notes below.)

The Buckeyes controlled the game for the first three quarters. They shot very well — 57% over that time. The score was 63-40 going into the fourth quarter, when the Flashes found their offense.

“Obviously we were a little bit over matched,” coach Todd Starkey said after the game. “Ohio State’s got a lot of talent. Their size is a lot to deal with. And they didn’t miss. It’s just like they hit every mid-range jump shot, contested or otherwise. There were knocking down 3s. So we have to get better defensively.

“But I was really proud of our fight all the way through. I told our team after the game, ‘We’re not OK with losing — I don’t care who it is. But I was really proud of the way they played from start to finish.”

Starkey said Thall came back after struggling in the third quarter.

“She got a little bit frustrated there in the third quarter because she missed a couple of layups,” the coach said. “I just told her, ‘Listen, I’m not even worried about that. You got to keep playing through that. You’re an incredible offensive player. If you’re shot is there, keep taking it. Have a short term memory.’

“She did. She’ll remember the rest of her life that she set a school record against Ohio State.

Thall finished 32 points, 10 above her previous career high. It was the most points any current player on the team has scored and KSU’s first 30-point game since Jordan Korinek’s 36 in 2018.

 

Thall’s eight 3-pointers broke a record shared by five different players, most recently by Larissa Lurken in 2016. (Lurken and six other former players were at the game for the team’s alumni day.) Thall made eight-of-13 three-point attempts. A year ago she made 40% of her 3-point attempts in the regular season, third in the MAC, and 47% of attempts during the conference season, first by more than 3 percentage points.

Senior guard Megan Carter, who had three 3-pointers and 13 points herself, shook her head as she thought over Thall’s shooting in the fourth quarter. The team’s strategy in a situation like that?

Just get her the ball,” she said.

Thall also made all six of her foul shots and shared the team lead with five rebounds. She played all by two minutes, the second most she’s ever played. Her 39-minute game came against Youngstown State two weeks ago when overtime pushed the game to 45 minutes.

Until the fourth quarter. Kent State’s shooting had been pretty weak. The Flashes were three for 18 in the first quarter and missed six of their first eight free throws (“a little bit of jitters there,” Starkey said).

“Gosh, how many layups did we miss?” the coach asked. “If we would have made some  and defended a little bit better, I think we could have made this game more interesting. But you have to finish plays, and that’s one of the things that we struggled with a little bit early in the season.”

Some of KSU’s best shooters struggled. Freshman Katie Shumate went into the game making 50% of her shots and was KSU’s second-leading scorer. She was one of 15 Thursday. Leading scorer Asiah Dingle was zero for five and made three free throws (along with three assists and two steals). It was only the second time in her career she hadn’t made a basket.

Some of the offensive problems were because of Ohio State’s height and length. The Buckeyes have seven players 6-1 or taller. Kent State has two.

“They’re in the Big Ten,” Carter said. “So of course they’re going to be big and be strong. The first thing I think is like, ‘Box out and fight like hell.'”

On playing Ohio State?

“That’s all I heard about growing up,” said Thall, who is from Strongsville. “There’re the big school here. So playing against them was honestly just really surreal and really a great opportunity. We just have to play a full game from start to finish.”

Box score

About the 4,272 attendance

Jay Fiorello is the very capable assistant sports communication director for women’s basketball. He said the the biggest previous crowd he could find was 3,516 against Miami in February 2003. If I remember that game correctly, it was a “10 tickets for $10 promotion.” There don’t seem to be records before 2000. I’ve been going to games since 1989 and been on campus since 1985, and they certainly didn’t draw more than 1,500 during games then.

Judy Devine, Kent State’s first women’s basketball coach and a longtime administration in the athletic department, told me there had been crowds in the 3,000-plus range in the early days of women’s basketball — “another era,” she said.

Ohio State must have brought more than 300 fans to the game. Kierstan Bell, the OSU freshman who is a former Ohio Ms. Basketball from Canton McKinley, told a Columbus reporter she was bringing 40 friends and family herself. Bell scored seven points on 3-of-13 shooting.

KSU freshman Clare Kelly’s entire Olmsted Fall High School team was there. So were a bunch of other high school, middle school and youth teams.

Notes

  • Kent State is 3-2 so far this season. Ohio State is 3-1, its loss being 74-68 to MAC favorite Ohio University on Sunday
  • Kent State had only 10 turnovers and had no trouble against an occasional Ohio State press. The Buckeyes had 16 turnovers. Each team had 10 points off of turnovers.
  • KSU had 12 assists on 20 baskets, by far its best performance of the year.
  • Ohio State outrebounded the Flashes 43-30 and outscored them 38-12 in the paint. Kent State actually had more offensive rebounds — 12 to 10 — but the Flashes were missing a lot more shots than OSU and had a lot more chances. Kent State senior Sydney Brinlee had five rebounds, a career high, in 10 minutes.
  • Nine Ohio State players got in the game. All played at least 17 minutes. Kent State played its entire roster, though its starting five all played at least 19 minutes. Sophomore Hannah Young played a season-high 17 minutes.
  • Junior guard Braxtin Miller led OSU with 14 points. Sophomore guard Janai Crooms had 11 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
  • The Flashes got only three points from their bench — a 3-point basket by Mariah Modkins in the last minute. Ohio State got 33 bench points.
  • Dorka Juhasz, Ohio State’s 6-4 forward and a preseason all-Big Ten selection, didn’t play. She was fighting a leg injury.

Quotes in story are a mixture of postgame media interviews and broadcaster Ty Linder’s on-air interview with coach Todd Starkey after game.

Hot-shooting 3rd quarter, 14 free throws at end give KSU 75-67 win over Fort Wayne

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KSU’s freshman Nila Blackford had her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She’s led KSU in rebounding every game. (Photo from team website.)

Kent State had been looking for a spark off the bench all season, and got a good one Saturday from sophomore Hannah Young.

Young led a third-quarter rally that saw the Flashes make their first 11 shots from the field after halftime. Young went four for four with a 3-point basket during that time.

KSU’s shooting cooled in the fourth quarter, but the Flashes made all 14 of their free throws in the last two minutes to post a 75-67 win over Purdue Fort Wayne.

Kent State’s record is now 3-1; Fort Wayne is 2-3.

Young had scored eight points off the bench against Michigan Friday on two-of-two shooting.  Her 17 points off the bench this weekend are more than all other Kent State reserves combined this season.

“I knew we could use a little bit of a spark,” Young said, “and I came out with every thing I had.”

How does it feel when every shot is going in — for her and the team?

“Honestly, you take your shot and you forget what just happened. Then you keep on going and keep playing your game.”

Coach Todd Starkey said Young played “really well.”

“We always talk about that — you never know what it’s going to be your opportunity,” he said. “And certainly it was hers today., and she took full advantage of it. So I’m really pleased. She’s been working hard.”

Even though Kent State led for all but 15 seconds of the game, it was probably the team’s  worst game in its three victories. The Flashes made 22 turnovers — seven more than their  next highest. Fort Wayne had only 12, the fewest an opponent has had all season, though somehow Kent State outscored the Mastodons 13-12 from turnovers.

“We got careless,” Starkey said. “We weren’t playing connected with each other, and we didn’t execute our press offense very well.”

The cure, freshman Katie Shumate, said, is to “slow down, get set up and stop thinking too much.”

“Having that many turnovers is not going to get us where we want to be.”

Fort Wayne had lost to fellow MAC school Ball State by 31 points and to Akron by 11.

“We’re finding ways to win, but we definitely have a large margin for improvement,” Starkey said. “We have to play much more disciplined on the defensive end. We had way too many turnovers. We gave up way too many offensive rebounds.

“This team is young, but we have to continue to grow.

The key, Starkey said, is more consistency in games and in practice. How does the coaching staff teach consistency?

“By the discipline that you have in practice every day. So we gotta got gotta tighten the screws a little bit in practice and not letting them get away with some things. We’ve  tried to be patient because of our youth, but sometimes when you’re when you’re a little bit too patient, some complacency creeps in.”

Asiah Dingle led KSU with 17 points. Nila Blackford had her second double-double of the season with 16 and 10 rebounds, and Katie Shumate scored 16 points and had three steals. Young and Lindsey Thall had nine points and Megan Carter eight.

Next for the Flashes is their second Big Ten opponent in five days.

Ohio State visits the M.A.C. Center Thursday for the the teams’ first game in 37 years. The Buckeyes are 2-0, including a 78-73 overtime win at Cincinnati. They play MAC favorite Ohio in Columbus Sunday.

Thursday’s game starts about 7:30 p.m. and is the second game of a doubleheader with the KSU men, who play Division II Concord at 5 p.m.

Akron plays Michigan tough but falls 80-71

The Zips led No. 24 Michigan going into the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines outscored Akron 25-13 the rest of the game to win 80-71.

Michigan had beaten Kent State 88-53 on Friday.

On Saturday the Zips made the 3-point shots Kent State had missed the previous day. Michigan had a far lower 3-point percentage than against KSU.

Akron trailed by 15 in the first quarter but rallied to trail by seven at halftime. Then the Zips outscored Michigan 24-14 in the third quarter, finishing the period with two 3-point baskets to take a 68-65 lead.

Michigan went ahead 62-61 on a three-point play two minutes into the fourth quarter and controlled the rest of the game, shooting 70% in the fourth quarter. Against Kent State, Michigan shot 75% in the last 10 minutes.

For the game, Michigan made 59.6% of its shots, even better than the 54.7% they shot against Kent State. But the Wolverines were two of 10 from 3-point distance for the game. Against Kent, Michigan was nine of 17.

Akron made 11 of its 27 three-point shots for 40.7%. Friday KSU was five of 27 for 185%.

Akron is 2-1 on the season. Michigan is 4-0 against four mid-major teams, three of them from the MAC. (The Wolverines beat Western Michigan 76-55 in their opener. They play Notre Dame Saturday and at Eastern Michigan, another MAC team, Nov. 27.)

More on the game is on the Akron website.

Notes

  • Kent State outrebounded the Mastodons 41-24. The Flashes had 12 offensive rebounds, Purdue Fort Wayne 11. Fort Wayne outscored KSU on second-chance points 16-7.
  • The Flashes continue to struggle with their passing game on offense. They had only nine assists on 24 baskets and are averaging fewer assists than last year, when they were 311th of 351 Division I teams in assist per game.
  • Kent State made 49% of its shots, its highest of the season by 7 points. The Flashes struggled from the 3-point line for the third straight game. After going 10-for-19 from distance in its opener, KSU has made 14 for 56 since. That’s 25%.
  • Thall had eight rebounds, one off her career high, and blocked two shots. She has blocked eight in four games; last season she led the MAC in blocks. Her three assists equaled a career high.
  • Blackford, a 6-2 freshman from Louisville, Kentucky, has led the team in rebounding in every game and averages 8.8 a game. She was fouled 10 times Saturday and drew nine against Michigan Friday. When she was on the floor Saturday, Kent State outscored Fort Wayne by 18 points.
  • Kent State’s weekend games were part of the Akron Classic, in which Kent and Akron play the same two teams in a two-day event. Next year the games will be in Kent as the Kent Classic.

Box score

Correction

An earlier version of this story said Kent State made 12 free throws in the last two minutes. I counted wrong. It was 14.

Flashes take on No. 24 Michigan Friday — in part of doubleheader at the JAR in Akron

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Lindsay Thall is Kent State’s second-leading scorer at 16 points a game and has blocked six shots in two games. (Photo by David Dermer.)


KSU’s 2020 recruiting class includes all-state guard and 6-4 center. Here’s link.


 

Kent State coach Todd Starkey had just been asked about the challenges No. 24 Michigan will present to his team in its game on Friday.

“Oh, wow,” he said. “Where do I begin?”

Let’s try this:

  • Michigan starts two sophomores who were high school all-Americans.
  • One, 6-2 forward Naz Hillmon, was Big Ten freshman of the year last season and a unanimous preseason all-Big Ten selection this year.
  • All five starters are taller than six feet. (“Bigger than we are at every position,” Starkey said.)
  • 6-foot-4 freshman Izabel Varejão, niece of former Cav Anderson Varejao, comes off the bench.
  • Michigan was 22-12 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. Media members picked the Wolverines second in the Big Ten this season.

Michigan is 2-0, with 20-point home wins over mid-majors Western Michigan and Bradley. Both of those teams ranked lower than KSU last season. Kent State is also 2-0 with close road wins over mid-majors Duquesne and Youngstown State.

The game is at the unusual time of 2 p.m. Friday at the James A. Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron. It’s part of the Akron Classic, a two-day event in which Kent and Akron play the same teams. Next year the event will be in Kent and be the Kent State Classic.

The Flashes will play Purdue Fort Wayne at noon Saturday.

“It’s going to be a task for us,” Starkey said. “We’re going to have to play much better and more efficient basketball than we have in our first two games.”

Like Michigan, Duquesne was bigger than Kent State at most positions. The Dukes outrebounded KSU 29-17 on the way to a seven-point first-half lead. Kent State managed a 17-15 rebounding edge in the second half, when some of Duquesne’s bigger, more experienced players were in foul trouble.

“In our first two games, we didn’t come out and play our best to start with,” Starkey said, a statement echoed by players Asiah Dingle and Megan Carter after the Youngstown State game, when KSU trailed by five at halftime.

“And we’ve have to get much better ball movement,” Starkey said. “We’re trying to do way too much one-on-one basketball, trying to create things ourselves as opposed to sharing the ball. Ball movement and spacing are the enemy of defenses. So we’ve got to get better.”

The Flashes have 17 assists on 53 baskets this season. Their 8.5 average is even worse than last year, when the Flashes ranked 311th of 351 teams at 10.6 per game.

“Defensively we’ve have to be be a lot more connected,” the coach said. “When there’s better communication on the defensive side, you can do some things to counter the other team is doing.”

Starkey has talked a lot about “connection” this season. It’s more than just players talking to each other on defense, he said.

“It’s a level of comfort with playing with the people around you,” he said. “And that only comes with experience. When you’re playing three players that weren’t even a part of the program last year, that affects the chemistry onto court — not how they get along, but how they function together as a unit. We’re going to get better. But it’s something that we knew was probably going to be the case” early in the season.

KSU’s top five players — Carter, Dingle, freshman guard Katie Shumate, freshman forward Nila Blackford and sophomore forward Lindsay Thall — have averaged 37 minutes apiece in two games. (That’s somewhat distorted by the five-minute overtime at Youngstown State.)

Next highest is freshman guard Clare Kelly’s seven minutes and senior forward Sydney Brinlee and sophomore guard Mariah Modkins’ five and a half minutes.

“That’s a puzzle piece that we’re working through, and it’s certainly on the front burner,” Starkey said. “I just have to do a better job of our substitution patterns.  It’s my continuing to grow my level of trust with certain lineups.

“We’ve got to get more minutes from our bench players, but it can’t just be a matter of just playing people to play them. We need people that are ready to come in and contribute.”

Kent State’s top five all average in double figures. Outside of them, KSU has scored a total of eight points this season.

Notes

  • Senior Ali Poole, who suffered a knee injury in August, didn’t dress against Youngstown after playing 13 minutes at Duquesne. “It’s kind of tweaked again,” Starkey said. “We’re working to get her back on the court, but we don’t know the exact timeline.” Poole started 19 games last season and was KSU’s fourth leading scorer.
  • Michigan’s Hillmon went to high school at Cleveland’s Gilmour Academy and was twice Ohio Division II player of the year. She is a close friend of Kent State guard Mariah Modkins, who played with her in AAU basketball. Modkins went to Solon High School.
  • Wolverine point guard Amy Dilk was a five-star recruit out of Carmel High School in Indiana. She was the state’s Miss Basketball in 2018.
  • Kent State has played Michigan twice in Starkey’s four seasons. The Flashes have played well in both games, but lost 67-60 in the WNIT in 2016 and 54-41 in non-conference play in December 2016 after leading at halftime. Overall KSU is 0-5 against the Wolverines. All of the games have been in Ann Arbor.
  • Purdue Fort Wayne, KSU’s Saturday opponent, is 2-1 but lost to the MAC’s Ball State by 31 points on Tuesday. The school has variously been called Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, IPFW and just Fort Wayne over the last five years.
  • Akron is 1-0 after a 63-54 victory at St. Bonaventure Monday. Kent State plays Bonaventure at the M.A.C.C. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
  • Kent State’s RPI, which was eighth of 353 Division I teams earlier in the week, has dropped to 63rd without the Flashes’ playing a game. Ball State, which is 1-1, is the new eights. Early season RPIs make no sense because there is not enough data for a decent computation.

How to follow the game

The game starts at 2 p.m. in Akron’s James A. Rhodes Arena, which is a 20-minute drive from Kent. If you’re using a GPS, the address is 373 Carroll St, Akron. Here are directions and parking information from the school website. Tickets are $6 and also get you into the Akron-Fort Wayne game, which starts a half hour after the KSU game ends. Parking at UA’s nearby garages is $3 to $5.

Saturday’s game against Fort Wayne starts at noon.

As far as I can tell, neither game is televised.

Radio broadcast should start about 1:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio and WHLO (640 AM). Broadcast of the Fort Wayne game should start about 11:45 a.m.

Live statistics during both games can be found on the Akron website.

Preview from KSU team website, including links to roster, schedule, statistics and more.

Detailed media game notes from Kent State.

Preview from Michigan website, including links.

Michigan media game notes.

 

 

 

 

Flashes’ 2020 recruiting class includes two-time all-stater and 6-4 forward

KSU recruits Casey Santoro (photo from a tweet from her father and coach) and Lexi Jackson (from KSU Twitter feed).

Kent State signed the two Class of 2020 recruits it had expected on Wednesday, and both look like strong additions to the Flashes for next year and beyond,

Wednesday was the first day high school players could sign a national letter of intent  and the first day coaches could comment on their new players. Both players had tweet earlier that they planned to sign with Kent State.

The new Flashes are:

5-4 guard Casey Santoro

She’s a two-time first-team all-state guard from Bellevue High School, which is about halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. Santoro was district player of the year both her sophomore and juniors years.

She averaged 21.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 4.0 steals per game during her junior year and 22.5 points as a sophomore. Santoro last year scored 40 points in a game where she made 10 three-point shots.

“What I love first about Casey is her toughness,” KSU coach Todd Starkey said in an interview Wednesday. “She’s hyper competitive and a very smart player. She makes players around her better.

“As a point guard, she’s a phenomenal shooter. So you can’t help off of her; you have to know where she is at all times.”

Starkey said KSU had watched Santoro in high school and AAU basketball for several years.

“She was a player that we wanted  in our program. She came to campus,  enjoyed it and committed,” the coach said. “Sometimes a fit just happens quickly.

Santoro is 5-4, about the same size as current sophomore point guard Asiah Dingle. 

“She’s feisty,” the coach said “She doesn’t back down from anybody, I’m a results coach. I don’t care what their size is.”

Bellevue last season went 24-3 and was ranked eighth in the state in Division II. It lost in the regional finals. The team has won nine straight championships in two different leagues and five district titles in the past six seasons.

Casey is the sister of Carly Santoro, who was an all-MAC player for Bowling Green. Carly graduated early and transferred to Ohio State, where she started last season.  The Santoro sisters’ father, Kory, is Bellevue’s head girls coach. A younger sister, Corey, is a junior on the Bellevue team and was second-team all-district last season.

6-4 center Lexi Jackson

Jackson is either 6-3 or 6-4, depending on what website you’re reading. She was a third-team member of the Pennsylvania Sports Writers 5A all-state team last season. One recruiting service ranked her the third best power forward in Pennsylvania.

At Gateway High School in suburban Pittsburgh, she averaged 16 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks a game last season. In one game, she had a triple-double of 37 points, 16 rebounds and 11 blocks.

“When you see her walking in the door, she has a presence with her size, ” Starkey said. “As you with her play, you really feel like her best basketball is definitely ahead of her. She’s still kind of learning how good she could be. I think she’ll just grow in her confidence and strength in as she goes through her senior year and gets here next year.”

Her team finished 19-4 last season, won its league title and lost in the regional quarterfinals.

Jackson had offers from at least four other mid-majors, including Western Michigan and James Madison, according to TribLive, a Pittsburgh online news site.

How they fit in

Kent State will lose seniors Megan Carter, Ali Poole and Sydney Brinlee to graduation. Carter was KSU’s leading scorer last season and was a preseason all-MAC East player this year. Poole has played both forward and wing and started 19 games last season. She was the team’s fourth leading scorer at 8.8 points a game but currently is limited because of a knee injury. Brinlee is a reserve forward who averaged five minutes a game last season and probably will play more this year.

Besides the two incoming freshmen, next year’s Flashes will have 6-4 Indiana transfer Linsey Marchese, who can practice but not play this season because of NCAA transfer rules. Marchese was a highly ranked high school recruit out of Georgia who was recruited by Starkey when he was an Indiana assistant. ESPN ranked her as a three-star recruit and the 14th best high school center in the country. Marchese was a backup at Indiana, averaging about 11 minutes a game over two years.

She, Jackson, current 6-2 freshman Nila Blackford and current 6-2 sophomore Lindsay Thall will give the flashes as much size on the front line as they’ve had in my memory.

“It’s going to be really good for both Lexi and Linsey to have to play against each other in practice every day,” Starkey said.

Santoro will have a chance to compete to replace Carter. Starkey has shown that he has no problem with playing two point guards together. But Santoro will have lots of competition; current freshman Clare Kelly was one of the best shooters in Ohio in high school. Current sophomore Hannah Young was the team’s top backup at shooting guard and wing last season.

The two-person class is the smallest in Starkey’s four years at Kent State. He said he didn’t expect to sign anyone else in the early signing period but that the team was still recruiting for possible spring signings. Undergraduate or graduate transfers are common in this era, and most of them are announced in April or later.

The Flashes still have two open scholarships for 2020 — more if someone transfers out, which has happened the last two years.

KSU will graduate guard Margaux Eibel and forward Monique Smith in 2021. Neither has played major minutes for the Flashes. Their recruiting class was put together in just four months after Starkey was named head coach in 2015. Three other members of that class have left the team. Eibel was a walk-on who earned a scholarship.

My mistake

When Jackson tweeted her verbal commitment to Kent State in October, I wrote that she was the third member of the new recruiting class. KSU coaches had tweeted of a commitment in June, but NCAA rules don’t allow them to name names until signing day. It turns out that recruit was Jackson.

KSU’s current team is 2-0 going into a game with Michigan Friday.

2-0 Flashes getting big numbers from freshmen, still learning on defense

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Freshman Nila Blackford had 19 rebounds and 25 points in two games last week. (Photo from KSU website.)

NEW:

We’re No. 8.

Want a crazy number? Kent State is eighth in the country in super-early RPI rankings, according to RealTimeRPI, the service I use most. That’s out of 353 Division I teams.

Of course RPIs based on two games don’t mean much of anything. But, heck, it’s fun to see it. Kent State got its ranking by winning two games on the road against decent opponents. Road wins count heavily toward a good ranking.

RPI is based on a team’s record, its opponents record and opponents’ opponents’ record. Home wins count 0.6. Road wins count 1.4. Neutral site games — like KSU’s game against Michigan at the Akron Classic this Friday — count 1.0. RPI is used to some extent for  seedings in postseason tournaments and as fodder for fan discussions.

According to the RealTimeRPI rankings, No. 1 is TCU. Princeton is second and Navy third. Oregon, the top-ranked team in both the Associated Press and coaches’ poll, isn’t even ranked yet because it hasn’t played a regular season game. It only beat the U.S. National team in an exhibition game Sunday.

RealTimeRPI also does Power Rankings, which also take into account a team’s record last season, margin of victory and other factors. Kent State is 180th in that one. And so early-season rankings go.

If you follow the link, the rankings may well have changed. ReadTimeRPI updates them constantly.

About the freshmen and the defense

It’s Michigan week — featuring the first of three games against Big Ten teams — for the Kent State women’s basketball team.

The Flashes face the No. 24 Wolverines at 2 p.m. Friday in the Akron Classic at the James A. Rhodes Arena. Later in the preseason, they face Ohio State in Kent and Purdue in West Lafayette.

Michigan is 2-0, with wins in Ann Arbor over Western Michigan (76-55) and Bradley (77-57). We’ll be writing a lot more about the Wolverines this week, but first let’s take stock of Kent State, which is 2-0 with road wins against Duquesne and Youngstown State.

Freshman punch

First-year players Nila Blackford and Katie Shumate played key roles in the Flashes’ wins. Shumate scored 17 points against Duquesne and 16 against YSU and leads the Flashes in scoring at 16.5 points a game. Blackford led KSU in rebounding in both games (nine against the Dukes, 10 against the Penguins). She also averages 12.5 points a game.

“It’s a nice thing to have those two,” coach Todd Starkey said, “and they’re just learning as they go. They’ll continue to get better and better. I’ve just told them, ‘You two just play hard, and we’ll make corrections as you go. I don’t want you to play passive.'”

Blackford worked very hard under the basket in both games. She had six offensive rebounds in the first half against YSU. Against Duquesne, she grabbed a rebound in traffic in the last minute to keep the score tied.

“She’s a lot to handle,” Starkey said. “She got really frustrated (against Youngstown) when she struggled to finish. If she makes some of those layups, she’s probably got 25 points instead of 14.”

Blackford is a 6-2 forward from Louisville. She was all-state first team, regional player of the year and a finalist for Kentucky Miss Basketball. She comes from an athletic family. Her mother played basketball and her father played football at the University of Louisville.

Shumate, a 5-11 guard from Newark, is from another family of athletes. Her father, JR, was her high school coach and leads one of the most successful programs in the state. Her sister, Emma, just verbally committed to West Virginia. Her brother was a sophomore at Walsh University and was freshman of the year in the Division II Great Midwest Athletic Conference. Katie was second team all-state and district player of the year in high school.

Shumate is second on the team in rebounding to Blackford, averaging six per game. She’s also second on the team in steals and tied for second in assists and blocked shots. She’s probably been KSU’s best defender in both games. Saturday she held Youngstown point guard Chelsea Olson, who had a triple-double in YSU’s opener, to five points, three assists and six rebounds.

“Katie always takes on the difficult tasks,” senior guard Megan Carter, KSU’s leading scorer last season, said after the Youngstown game. ” and I think that starts in practice. She guards  me every day. So Megan, I’ll be there. We go at it pretty much every day.”

Unsettled defense

Still, Starkey thinks the Flashes need the most work on defense. In both games, Kent had one terrible quarter and was solidly behind after the first half.

“The defense right now is a little bit of our Achilles heel,” the coach said. “We’ve got to get better at communication and shore things up, especially against Michigan on Friday.”

Opponents shot better than 50% in the first half of both games. But the Flashes allowed Duquesne to 13 in the fourth quarter and YSU to 12 in the fourth quarter and seven in overtime.

“Much better defense down the stretch,” Starker said after both games.

The view from Youngstown State

Coach John Barnes, as quoted in the Jambar, YSU’s student newspaper:

““I think it was a hard fought game against a good team. [We were] in a position to win the game. They did either a good job of taking it away from us, or we did a good job of giving it to them.”

“We just were very soft. I think our toughness was not there when it came down the stretch. Throughout the game, we played hard and we were pretty tough, but when it came to crunch time, we had a lot of bad turnovers and mental mistakes.”

““Turnovers (YSU 22, KSU 10) and offensive rebounds (KSU 18, YSU 9) were the difference.”

Notes

  • Kent State averaged 79.5 points in its first two games and gave up 74.0. That’s well above both numbers last year, when KSU averaged 65.5 and allowed 63.2. KSU’s shooting percentage is 39.0, slightly better than last year’s 37.2. Its defensive percentage is 46.3, way above last season’s 38.4. Three-point defense is about the same, so opponents are doing much better inside the arc, where the new lineup struggling some with team defense.
  • Kent State’s turnover margin averaged plus-9.5 in the two games. They averaged 14.5 more points off turnovers than their opponents. Last season the turnover margin was plus-5.2 and points-off-turnover margin was plus-2.7. Starkey has made it a point of emphasis this season to score more off the other team’s mistakes.
  • All five Kent State starters average in double figures. But all five average more than 34 minutes a game. Shumate played all but one minute against Duquesne; Blackford played all but one minute against Youngstown. Next highest is another freshman, Clare Kelly, who played seven minutes in both games.
  • Sophomore guard Hannah Young saw her first action of the season Saturday, playing three minutes. She was one of the team’s top reserves last season.
  • Sophomore Annie Pavlansky, just about the last person off the bench last year, played minutes in a close game for the second straight time. She’s from Cortland, about 17 miles from Youngstown. She has filled in for Blackford and Lindsay Thall at forward.
  • KSU has averaged just 8.5 assists in the two games. Last season the Flashes averaged 10.6 assists, which was 311th of 351 Division I teams.

Around the MAC

  • Ohio (1-1) 81, American (0-1) 69 at Ohio. Ohio, which lost its opener to No. 21 Syracuse, is the MAC favorite. American was picked fifth in the Patriot League. Ohio’s Erica Johnson had the team’s first triple-double in history — 24 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists.
  • Northern Illinois (1-1) 74, North Dakota State (0-2) 68 in overtime at North Dakota State. NIU was picked second in the MAC West. North Dakota State was picked seventh in the Summit League.
  • Bowling Green (2-0) 79, Morehead State (0-1) 65 at Bowling Green. BG was picked last in the MAC East. Morehead State made the WNIT last season and was picked fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference.
  • Dayton (2-0) 60, Toledo (1-1) 42 in Toledo. Dayton was picked second in the Atlantic 10. Toledo was picked third in the MAC East.
  • Buffalo (2-0) 81, Niagara (0-2) 67 at Niagara. Buffalo is picked second in the MAC East. Niagara was picked seventh in the Metro Atlantic.
  • Akron (1-0) 63, St. Bonaventure (1-2) 65 at St. Bonaventure. Akron was picked fifth in the MAC East. St. Bonaventure, which plays at Kent Dec. 3, was picked 13th in the Atlantic 10.
  • No. 18 DePaul 98 (1-0), Miami (0-1) 79 in preseason WNIT at DePaul. Miami was picked fourth in the MAC East.
  • No. 24 Michigan 76 (2-0), West Michigan (0-1) 55 at Michigan. Kent State plays Michigan Friday. Western was picked fifth in the MAC East.