Lindsey Thall had 19 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and two assists in KSU’s 61-47 win over Bowling Green. (Photo by KentWired’s Gina Schlegel.)
The Flashes made almost 46% of their shots and held Bowling Green to making 32% of theirs. That was more than enough for a victory and one of their best report cards of the season
Kent State 61, Bowling Green 47
Score 70 points on offense: 61. It was a surprisingly defensive-oriented game for two teams known more for scoring. Kent State also slowed the game down late to lessen the chances of a BG comeback. NOT ACHIEVED but with the big win, who cares?
Hold opponent under 70: 47. Kent’s best defense of the season except for against Division III Hiram. ACHIEVED IN A BIG WAY.
Make 40% of shots: 45.5. Among KSU’s best of the season. ACHIEVED.
Hold opponent under 40%: 31.8. Again Kent State’s best of the season against Division I opposition. Bowling Green’s worst shooting of the year. ACHIEVED IN A BIG WAY.
Outscore opponent by five on free throws: Fewest free throws of the season Flashes and their opponent combined. Kent State was five of seven, BG two of five. NOT ACHIEVED but irrelevant to results.
Outscore opponent by five points off turnovers: Bowling Green scored 13 off of KSU’s 18 turnovers. Kent State had 10 off of 14 from BG. In second half, when KSU outscored Falcons 34-19, points off turnovers went to Flashes 8-4.
Have 14 assists: 13 on 25 baskets. With that percentage and 45% shooting, we can count this ACHIEVED.
Get 10 points from the bench: 18 but mostly because Asiah Dingle didn’t start but still scored 16 points in 20 minutes. ACHIEVED with an asterisk.
BOTTOM LINE: Kent State’s shooting percentage and defense were good enough to give Flashes an A-.
Around the MAC
Ohio beat Eastern Michigan 75-65 at Eastern for the league’s only road win Wednesday night. Bobcats are in second place in MAC at 7-3 and have lost those three games by a total of four points. Kent State plays at Ohio Saturday.
The Bobcats never had consecutive turnovers in the game. Sophomore guard Erica Johnson had 20 points and 10 rebounds, junior forward Gabby Burris 19 points and junior guard Cece Hooks 16. Eastern was without three of its top players — leading scorers Areanna Combs and Aaliyah Stanley and leading rebounder Autumn Hudson. Combs was out with an injury. I found nothing about Hudson, who played Saturday against Akron, or Stanley, who has missed two straight games.
Central Michigan went 10-0 in the MAC with a 66-60 victory over Northern Illinois in Mt. Pleasant. It was one of CMU’s worst conference games; the Chippewas scored 13 points below their average, shot 37%, eight below their average, and were outrebounded 52-40. They still had enough to beat NIU, which is 2-7 and 11th in the league.
Miami won its third straight, scoring a season-high in beating Toledo 92-83 in Miami. Freshman guard Peyton Scott had her second straight career-high with 28 points. Lauren Dickerson had 23 and Savannah Kluesner 21. Toledo got a career-high 31 points from guard Mariella Santucci.
Akron, Ball State, Buffalo and Western Michigan all had midweek byes.
The ‘golf’ standings
Ohio was the only team to pick up points in the “golf” standings, which give 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”).
- Central Michigan (10-0, 17-4)
- Ohio (7-3, 14-7)
- Ball State (6-3, 14-7)
- Kent State (5-4, 12-8)
- Toledo (5-4, 10-10)
- Eastern Michigan (5-5, 10-11)
- Buffalo (4-5, 13-7)
- Western Michigan (4-5, 11-9)
- Miami (4-6, 11-11)
- Akron (3-6, 10-10)
- Northern Illinois (2-7, 6-14)
- Bowling Green (1-8, 8-13)
Mariah Modkins (5) and Asiah Dingle (3) combined to hold Bowling Green’s Madisen Parker to three shots and zero points. Parker had been the second-leading 3-point shooter in the country. (Photo by Nick Cammett from KSU Twitter feed.)
Kent State’s defense — not its strength for most of the season — looked championship caliber Wednesday.
The Flashes held Bowling Green, the second-best shooting team in the MAC, to 32% from the floor and 23% from 3-point distance in its 61-47 victory at the M.A.C. Center Wednesday. That’s:
- 11 percentage points below Bowling Green’s average in league play.
- BG’s second-lowest percentages of the season in both field goals and 3-point shooting.
- Seven percentage points better than Kent State’s defensive average and 19 percentage points below its 3-point defensive average.
- The lowest percentage a Division I opponent has shot against KSU this season, and second-lowest 3-point percentage.
Bowling Green’s 47 points was its lowest of the season. It’s the second fewest Kent State has allowed and the fewest scored against the Flashes by a Division I team. (Division III Hiram scored 36.)
The victory ended the Flashes’ first half of the MAC season at 5-4 and in a tie with Toledo for fourth place. They are 12-8 overall. Bowling Green is 1-8 in the MAC and 8-13 overall.
“Our defense was our backbone today, which was nice to see,” coach Todd Starkey said. “It hasn’t been a lot of the year.”
Bowling Green’s Madisen Parker went into the game making 47% of her 3-point attempts, second best in the country. She didn’t score. Kent State limited her to three shots, only one of them a 3-point attempt, in 32 minutes. KSU point guards Mariah Modkins and Asiah Dingle smothered Parker defensively. The plan, Starkey said, was:
“Crowd her on every catch. Make sure we have our hands over the ball.”
“Mariah was our first line of defense,” the coach said. “She had one of her best defensive games since she’s been here. When Asiah came in, she picked up right where Mariah left off.”
BG forward Angela Parker had been making 60% of her field-goal attempts, best in the conference. She made only four of 11 Wednesday. Lindsey Thall, Kent’s 6-2 sophomore forward, did much of the defense on Parker.
“I had to work every single possession, just banging it against her every time, not giving up anything easy,” Thall said.
Starkey said it was a two-part effort.
“We wanted to make sure we had great ball pressure so that they couldn’t make easy entry passes,” he said. “And we talked about with Lindsey about how she was just going to have to battle all game. She did a really good job of limiting Perry’s touches.”
Thall played one of her best games on offense and defense. She led the Flashes with 19 points, her most since scoring 32 against Ohio State in November. She had seven rebounds, her second highest of the season and blocked four shots, including two of Perry’s. She added two assists.
“She played 36 minutes,” Starkey said. “She really limited Perry’s looks. She had 19 points, seven rebounds. That’s a heck of a basketball game.”
Thall made three of six 3-point shots, which is her specialty. But she scored 10 of her points inside. She scored nine on close-in shots Saturday against Toledo.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do with Lindsey is to try to get her touches at different places on the court rather than just the 3-point line,” Starkey said. “Teams are dong a good job of defending her there, switching off guards on her. So we’re trying to get her touches in the paint so teams can’t do that.”
7:31 4Q | Kent State 52, BG 34
Mariah Modkins finds Lindsey Thall for an 18-point lead. Timeout BG. pic.twitter.com/BZinf0y2Z0
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) February 6, 2020
Dingle also played well on defense and offense. Back from a two-game suspension, she scored 16 points, had two assists and two steals. Dingle made seven of nine shots. That 78% is her best ever against a Division I team. (She made eight of nine against Hiram.) “She did a phenomenal job of finishing today,” Starkey said. “And at a really critical time, came up with a phenomenal offensive rebound on a scramble and stuck it back in.”
2:36 3Q | Kent State 43, BG 30
Asiah Dingle with back-to-back layups as the Flashes have largest lead of the night. pic.twitter.com/boTtettoSM
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) February 6, 2020
Dingle also had a spectacular defensive play when she knocked the ball away from the BG guard bringing the ball up court, then dove on the floor to push it away again. The BG player lay on the floor as officials called a turnover for not getting the ball across half court in 10 seconds.
“We let her loose,” Starkey said. “Every now and then, if she’s not in foul trouble and we have a favorable matchup, we’ll say, ‘Asiah, go get her.’ And her eyes light up.”
And as Starkey was talking, Dingle’s eyes lit up.
Cutting the turnovers, stepping up the defense
Kent State trailed 28-27 at halftime, mostly because BG scored nine points off of the 12 turnovers the Flashes committed in the first half. Kent State barely averages 14 turnovers per game and had just seven against Toledo.
“We really focused on that at halftime,” Starkey said. “We can’t have empty possessions. So the guards did a really good job in the second half of cleaning that up.”
Kent had six turnovers in the second half and outscored the Falcons 8-4 off turnovers.
Another thing the Flashes emphasized starting the second half strong.
“We had to make sure that we didn’t come out flat the way did against Toledo,” Starkey said.
The Flashes were the opposite of flat. They outscored Bowling Green 18-4 in the third quarter, holding BG to two of 17 shooting.
The view from Bowling Green
Coach Robyn Fralick, quoted on the team’s website:
“I thought our defensive effort was really good, especially in the first half. Our third quarter was where the game was lost, so we’ve got to figure out how to fix that and move forward.”
- Nila Blackford had a career-high 11 rebounds to lead Kent State to a 41-38 advantage. The Flashes did give up 12 offensive rebounds, something Starkey said had to be cleaned up in the second half of the season. But BG scored only two second-chance points.
- Reserve forward Monique Smith equaled her career high with six rebounds. She also blocked a shot.
- Kent State blocked nine shots overall, its high for the season. Besides Thall’s four, Katie Shumate blocked three. Shumate also had six rebounds and three assists.
- Modkins had four assists, five points and two steals. Dingle and Megan Carter also had two steals.
- Kent State outscored BG 15-4 on fast-break points.
- Attendance was announced at 1,961, highest of the MAC season and third highest of the season.
The Flashes play three of their next four games on the road, starting Saturday afternoon at second-place Ohio.
— Kent State Athletics (@KentStAthletics) February 6, 2020
Other MAC scores
- Miami (4-6, 11-11) 92, Toledo (5-4, 10-10) 83 at Miami.
- Central Michigan (10-0, 17-4) 66, Northern Illinois (2-7, 6-14) 60 at Central.
- Ohio (7-3, 14-7) 75, Eastern Michigan (5-5, 10-11) 65 at Eastern.
- Western Michigan, Ball State, Buffalo and Akron had midweek byes.
Kent State’s Katie Shumate defends against Toledo’s Arianne Wheeler. Shumate was wearing No. 21 instead of her usual No. 14. Wheeler led Toledo with a season-high 12 rebounds. (Photo from Toledo Twitter feed.)
Kent State’s women were ahead as the second half began in Toledo Saturday, but somehow it didn’t seem that way.
The Flashes came out sluggish and never found any offense in the second half. They fell to the Rockets 69-60 and dropped to 4-4 in the MAC, 11-8 overall.
“We played like we were down when we were up by three,” senior guard Megan Carter said. “We just came out flat and disconnected, and they took advantage.”
The Flashes were outscored 22-11 in the third quarter and made only 10 of 31 shots in the second half.
The win moves Toledo past Kent State into fourth place in the league at 5-3, 10-9 overall. The Flashes are tied for sixth.
“They obviously came out of the locker room at halftime with more fight and toughness than us,” coach Todd Starkey said. “I thought we were in a good spot mentally coming out second half. We took our foot off the gas just a little bit and that’s all Toledo needed to feel like they were going to win the game.”
The slowdown really started two minutes before halftime. The Flashes had pushed their lead to 31-24 on a 3-point basket by Mariah Modkins.
But Toledo hit two foul shots with 40 seconds to go, and Rocket guard Mariella Santucci scored on a fast break at the buzzer.
Toledo took the lead at the start of the second half, but it was still a one-point game with four minutes to go in the third quarter. But over those last four minutes, Toledo made six foul shots and hit another shot at the buzzer, this one a 3-point basket.
— Toledo Women’s Basketball (@ToledoWBB) February 1, 2020
That made the score 50-42, and Kent never challenged after that.
“Mentally tough teams overcome that type of thing and are able to fight back,” Starkey said. “I don’t think we handled that one at the end of the third quarter the way we should have. We looked down coming over to the bench.”
Foul shots were another big reason for the loss.
Toledo outscored Kent State 26-6 at the foul line, the biggest margin in Starkey’s four years at Kent State. The next biggest was 15, the next one below that 10. The Flashes have made more free throws than their opponents in 80 of 120 games Starkey has coached.
“It’s something we work on,“he said, carefully not criticizing the officiating. “It’s a discipline thing.”
All those foul shots also allowed Toledo time to set up a loose press through the second half. It didn’t force turnovers, but it delayed the Flashes as they moved the ball up the court.
“They were able to set up and slow us down,” Starkey said. “They really controlled the tempo of the game that way. It took us out of our rhythm.”
The lineup shuffle
Sophomore point guard Asiah Dingle missed her second straight game. In this pregame radio interview with David Wilson on Golden Flash iHeart Radio, Starkey called it “short-term suspension” and said he expected her back Monday. In his postgame interview, he sounded a little less certain about the date of her return. Dingle is KSU’s second-leading scorer.
Modkins started in Dingle’s place, hit two 3-pointer baskets and scored eight points in 34 minutes.
END 1Q | Kent State 17, Toledo 17
Megan Carter has 7 points off the bench, including shot clock-beating jumpers on consecutive possessions late in the quarter. pic.twitter.com/anoAO7MCVT
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) February 1, 2020
Carter came off the bench in her third game back from mononucleosis. She played 34 minutes and scored 12 points,
Freshman Katie Shumate didn’t start for only the second time this season. Some kind of mixup with her jersey had her wearing No. 21 instead of her usual No. 14. She didn’t play the first four minutes and only scored two points in the first half. She finished with 13 and three 3-pointers.
“Katie’s a player who has to be aggressive from start to finish, and she was a little passive early,” Starkey said.
Hannah Young made the second start of her career but didn’t score in 15 minutes. Clare Kelly also started; she had two points in five minutes.
- Kent State had 16-4 advantage in points off turnovers, but it was only 4-2 in the second half. The Flashes had only seven turnovers for the game, a season low. Toledo had 17.
- Nila Blackford led Kent State with 14 points and nine rebounds. She played just 25 minutes because of foul trouble.
- Lindsey Thall had nine points on four inside baskets, the most from close range I can remember. She didn’t have a 3-point basket for only the second time of the season and the sixth time of her 66-game career.
- Toledo outrebounded Kent State 42-24, but because the Rocketrs were spending most of the afternoon shooting foul shots, KSU didn’t have a chance for many rebounds. Toledo made only 19 baskets; Kent State had 24.
- Nakiah Black led Toledo with 22 points. Mariella Santucci had 20 .
Kent State returns to the M.A.C. Center on Wednesday to play last-place Bowling Green.
The view from Toledo
Coach Tricia Cullop, quoted in the Toledo Blade:
“In games past we’ve had good minutes, and then we labored in the fourth quarter. I thought today we stayed really focused.”
“We made our free throws and executed offensively better than we have been doing, and we got stops – all those little things you need to do to win. I’m really proud of this group, and (Kent State) is a really good team.”
“This is kind of that divisive time in the league where there is kind of a logjam in the middle. Any separation we can get will help when we get the pairings later on. You have to try to take care of your home court. That’s why that last one (a Wednesday home loss to Eastern Michigan) stung so bad, and that’s also why this one felt so good.”
Other MAC scores
Central Michigan finished a sweep of the first-half of the MAC schedule with its second-straight overtime victory. The Chippewas beat second-place Ohio 92-90 in Mt. Pleasant.
CMU is 9-0 in the MAC, 16-4 overall. Central has beaten Ohio twice — by a total of three points. On Wednesday Central won in overtime at Buffalo 98-93. Ohio is 6-3 in the MAC, tied for second overall and first in the East Division. Overall the Bobcats are 13-7.
- Northern Illinois (2-6 MAC, 6-12) 64, Buffalo (4-5, 13-7) 63 at NIU.
- Akron (3-6, 109-10) 88, Eastern Michigan (5-4, 10-10) 81 in overtime at Akron.
- Ball State (6-3, 14-7) 68, Western Michigan (4-4, 11-8) 65 at Ball State.
- Miami (2-6, 9-11) 80, Bowling Green (1-7, 8-12) 59 at BG.
Coach Todd Starkey on the sidelines of Saturday’s game with Buffalo. (Photo by David Dermer from KSU Twitter feed.)
There was absolutely nothing good about Kent State’s fourth quarter in its 57-44 loss to Buffalo Saturday.
The Flashes led 33-30 in a gritty defensive game going into the last 10 minutes. Then Kent State:
- Made just two of 15 shots and zero of six 3-point attempts..
- Saw four of its shots blocked by the Bulls.
- Missed six foul shots.
- Turned the ball over six times, four on Buffalo steals. That led to six Buffalo points.
- Took its first lead since the first quarter with 6:08 to go.
- Then outscored KSU 14-5 over the next two minutes and just increased the score until the end of the game.
- Made 10 of 19 shots after shooting just 27.9% in the first three quarters.
- Committed just one turnover, which the Flashes turned into one point.
What went wrong?
“We showed a complete lack of toughness, especially in the third and fourth quarters,” coach Todd Starkey told reporters after the game. “Some of the rest of it came down to a lack of focus and offensive execution.
“I thought we played a little bit selfish on some of the offensive side. And when we had opportunities to finish (shots close to the basket), we didn’t go up strong. We had too many turnovers down the stretch.”
Starkey was subdued when he talked to reporters, but he was angry during his postgame radio interview with Dan Griffin on Golden Flash iHeart Radio.
“We let (Buffalo) do what they wanted,” he said. “We lay down in the seconds half. I’m disappointed in the team and myself. The game had nothing to do with Buffalo. It was our lack of composure and lack of toughness.”
For three quarters, Kent State played as good defense as it has this season. The Flashes — mostly guards Asiah Dingle and Mariah Modkins — held Buffalo’s star freshman guard, Dyaisha Fair, to four points and forced her into four turnovers. (Fair averages 22 points a game, second highest in the MAC.) KSU had seven steals. The Bulls made just 10 of 39 shots and two of 10 three-pointers.
But Fair scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and had four assists.
Kent’s Megan Carter returned to action after missing three games with mononucleosis and playing sick for several games before that. She hit two 3-point baskets at the beginning of the second quarter to give the Flashes a lead they held for the next two quarters. She finished with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
Carter is one of five Kent State players to average in double figures.
No one scored 10 points Saturday. Nila Blackford and Dingle led the team with eight. Carter and Lindsey Thall had seven. Freshman guard Katie Shumate didn’t score.
8:40 4Q | Kent State 35, UB 33
Asiah Dingle goes up and gets the basket and draws the foul! pic.twitter.com/nvlRq5uMWb
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 25, 2020
- Kent State drops to 3-3 in the MAC and 10-7 on the season. The loss breaks a three-game winning streak and is the second conference loss at home this season.
- Buffalo is 4-3 and 13-6 overall. The Bulls are tied for third in the MAC. Kent State is eighth but only 1 1/2 games away from a tie for second.
- Buffalo leads the conference in rebounding, but the Flashes had the edge Saturday, 41-40, and in offensive rebounding, 16-14. But KSU got only three second-chance points from those rebounds. Buffalo had nine. Blackford and Thall led Kent State with seven.
- 44 points was the fewest Kent State has scored this season. Buffalo’s 57 was the second fewest the Flashes have allowed against Division I competition and the Bulls’ second lowest of the season.
- Kent was outscored in the paint 28-12 and made just 24.1% of its shots.
- Blackford had been fourth in shooting in the MAC games going into the game. She was three of 16 Saturday. Thall had been fifth in the MAC in 3-point shooting. She was one of eight and two of 16 overall.
- Kent State had led the MAC in foul shooting and blocked shows. The Flashes made 10 of 19 free throws, their lowest percentage of the season. Thall blocked two shots, but Buffalo blocked eight, led by forward Marissa Hamilton’s four.
- The victory was Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s 156th at the school. That’s the most of any Buffalo women’s coach.
- Attendance was 1,011.
The Flashes are home again at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Ball State. The Cardinals beat KSU 66-62 in the conference opener and are 5-2 in the MAC and 12-6 overall.
Other MAC scores
- Central Michigan (7-0 MAC, 14-4 overall) 73, Toledo (4-2, 9-8) 66 at Central.
- Ohio (5-2, 12-6) 79, Bowling Green (1-6, 8-11) 69 at Ohio.
- Ball State (5-2, 13-6) 80, Miami (1-6, 8-11) 63 at Ball State.
- Eastern Michigan (4-3, 9-9) 62, Northern Illinois (1-6, 5-13) 55 at Eastern.
- Western Michigan (4-3, 11-7) 79, Akron (2-5, 9-9) 71 at Western.
Lots more video is on the KSU Twitter feed.
In conference play, Katie Shumate is averaging 13.8 points and 7.0 rebounds. She’s shooting 46% from the floor and 50% from 3-point distance. (File photo from KSU website.)
The Flashes had their midweek bye this week, but coach Todd Starkey and the team have been busy.
Starkey spent much of the week in Texas, where he’s recruiting two topflight guards. The NCAA doesn’t allow coaches to talk about players they’re recruiting, but both have tweeted their offers from KSU. One is a 6-1 wing, the other a 5-10 guard who can play the point or shooting guard.
Both graduate in 2021. Starkey has said that will be an important recruiting class because the players and the next year’s class will be taking over after the team’s six-person sophomore class graduates. That class has provided starters Asiah Dingle and Lindsey Thall and top reserves Mariah Modkins and Hannah Young. Indiana transfer Linsey Marchese joins them as juniors next season, and she’s likely to play major minutes.
Starkey took time Thursday for a wide-ranging interview before his team practiced Thursday night for their Saturday game with Buffalo at 1 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center.
On Buffalo, which is 12-5 and 3-3 in the MAC:
“They’ve got the second-leading scorer in the MAC and leading freshman scorer in the country in Dyaisha Fair. She’s a problem. She has the ability to more than just score. She’s one of the leaders in the conference in assists and a very good rebounding for a guard.”
Fair is averaging 22.4 points, 4.3 assists and 5.6 rebounds a game. She ranks 16th in the MAC in shooting percentage (36.5), 12th in free-throw shooting (71.6%), eighth in 3-point percentage (34.4) and second in 3-point baskets per game (3.3).
“Therese Onwuka (a 5-10 guard averaging 15.5 points and 7.3 rebounds) is a heckuva a player and a senior. She’s been in NCAA tournaments and has experience in big games. Hannah Hall (5-3 senior point guard) has knocked down big-time shots in the league and post-season.
“Buffalo is a very dangerous team. They have that championship mentality.”
The Bulls have gone to the NCAA tournament the last two years, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2018.
On the Bulls’ 69-66 loss at Ball State Wednesday:
“Ball State is a very tactical team and the best defensive team in the league. They have the ability that can take things away from you. They certainly did something against us as well.”
(The Flashes lost at Ball State in their conference opener by a very similar score, 66-62.)
“Just because Ball State is able to do certain things to Buffalo doesn’t mean we can. We don’t have the same personnel. We have to come up with a game plan based on what we feel we can do well.”
Ball State limited Fair to her worst game of the season — 11 points, 4 of 18 shooting, 1 of 11 from 3-point distance.
On the state of his team after winning three in a row, including two on the road:
“We’re starting to get better shots, and we’re starting to share the ball a little bit better. We still have really good individual players. In conference play, Nila Blackford is up to almost 50% from the floor. Katie Shumate is making 47% from the floor and 50% from the 3-point line.
On assists, which has been a weak area statistically:
“If you’ve got players who can create for themselves, your assist total might be a little lower because they don’t need somebody else to get them to that point. It’s more about field goal percentage and where we’re getting our shots from and things like rebounding margin — all those different things that go into winning and losing games.”
On the team seeing big leads dwindle in the late minutes on the road:
“Obviously we have to be able to have them handle pressure a little bit better. Some of that just comes for being in it and learning each other and getting better. We still have a lot of room for growth.
“And if you’re young and you’re finding ways to win tough games on the road, I that’s a good sign.”
On how the team has missed Megan Carter and Ali Poole:
(Carter has missed three games with mononucleosis. Poole suffered a partial ACL tear in summer practice, played with a brace for 13 games, then blew the entire ACL diving for a ball against Western Michigan. Her playing career is over.)
“We lost two senior starters. If Ali’s 100% healthy, she’s playing in those games down the stretch because of her experience and her composure and her voice and knowing where to be. And that changes things significantly.
“And not having Megan — your fifth-year senior ball handler — on the court coming down the stretch where teams are pressing….those are significant things.
“We’re starting three freshman and two sophomores in one of the toughest leagues in the country. It’s not always going to look pretty, but I’m pleased with the progress that we’ve made.”
On when Carter will be back:
“That’s going to have a lot to do with how practice looks the next couple of days. But I certainly am not getting that information out before we play Buffalo. I don’t want them to be able to game plan for her.”
On Mariah Modkins, Hannah Young and Monique Smith:
All have seen playing time increase significantly in recent games, even before Carter left the lineup.
“They’ve been getting better results in practice and playing better when they get minutes in games. So that directly leads to more minutes. And we’re trying to find some balance and bench scoring and getting some players rest.”
On what the team did in the bye week:
“With this young team, mental, medical and physical rest is really important. They did some individual workout stuff with assistant coaches. Assistants had full practice was yesterday and the day before. The nice thing about having continuity on your staff is they know what you want. In a typical week we play on Wednesdays, so they did a lot more up and down yesterday.
“And they’ve already been at work on Buffalo a little bit.”
On the team going forward:
“The biggest thing between us and being in the top four in the league on the stretch is just consistency. That just comes from learning. I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to get better.”
Nila Blackford led Kent State with 23 points and eight rebounds. The two freshmen in KSU’s starting lineup — Blackford and Katie Shumate — combined for 41 points and 19 rebounds. (File photo from KSU website.)
Kent State’s women almost gave away a victory at Miami Saturday, but Asiah Dingle and Lindsey Thall stole it back in the last 18 seconds.
The Flashes won 78-75 for their third win in a row and second straight victory on the road. They’re now 3-2 in the MAC and in a six-way tie for third in the conference.
Kent State had blown a 13-point lead in the last five minutes of fourth quarter. Miami’s Lauren Dickerson gave the Redhawks their first lead — 75-74 — since four minutes into the game when she scored on a layup with 1:17 left.
Each team missed a shot over the next minute. Miami got the ball off of a KSU turnover with 18 seconds to go, but Dingle cut in front of the inbounds pass. Miami’s Ally May, trying to throw it around Dingle, led her too much and the ball went and out of bounds.
Officials spent more than three minutes reviewing the play, then decided no one had touched the ball and gave the ball to Kent.
Dingle hit two free throws 10 seconds later to give KSU the lead.
Miami called timeout to advance the ball to the front court, where Thall tipped the inbounds pass to Nila Blackford, who made a layup as time expired.
FINAL | Kent State 78, Miami 75
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
Blackford scored 23 points, 19 in the first half, and had eight rebounds. Dingle had 18 despite being limited to 22 minutes with foul trouble. 11 of those points came in the fourth quarter. Katie Shumate also had 18 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
Thall had 11 points, made three 3-point baskets, blocked four shots, had three assists and a steal.
“We dodged some bullets there,” coach Todd Starkey said in an ESPN interview after the game. “Obviously we made some major defensive mistakes, and we’ve got to get better at pressure situations.
“But any road win is a good win in this league no matter how it happens.”
The game was the second straight when the Flashes had a big lead, then struggled down the stretch. On Wednesday, Northern Illinois cut an 18-point deficit to four before Kent State won 79-71.
The Flashes looked ragged on defense much of the game. But on offense, they did their best shooting of the season. Kent State made 53.6% of their shots, its best of the year. KSU made seven-of-14 three-point shots, their second best percentage of the year.
The other key statistic of the game was Kent State’ 17-9 edge on second chance points. Shumate had six offensive rebounds, Blackford and Monique Johnson two. KSU outrebounded Miami 33-28.
Thall’s very long 3
HALF | Kent State 45, Miami 36
Lindsey Thall from LONGGGG distance to beat the halftime buzzer! pic.twitter.com/kmofTxlR6W
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
Miami had missed a shot with four seconds to go in the second quarter. Guard Mariah Modkins took the inbounds pass and threw to Thall, who gathered her feet as if it were a routine 3-pointer from 21 feet. She swished it at the buzzer.
- Kent State and Miami have now played 92 times since their first game in 1976. They have each won 46 games.
- The Flashes committed 20 turnovers, second highest of the season. Miami had 15. But KSU outscored Miami off those turnovers 18-14.
- Sophomore guard Hannah Young played a season-high 21 minutes after playing 20 minutes at Northern Illinois Wednesday. She made five-of-six fouls shots and had three rebounds.
- Backup point guard Mariah Modkins played 18 minutes with three steals, two assists, three rebounds and a 3-point basket. She has played at least 14 minutes in the last four games after averaging just under six in KSU’s first nine games.
- Miami made three 3-point baskets in their fourth-quarter rally, and KSU committed three turnovers.
- The Redhawks made five-of-nine 3-pointers in the last quarter. Kent State made six of eight in the first half.
- Attendance was 431.
The Flashes have their midweek bye this week and play Buffalo at the M.A.C. Center at 1 p.m. Saturday. KSU broadcaster David Wilson said guard Megan Carter was expected to play then. He didn’t attribute it to Starkey but rode the team bus and interviewed Starkey before the game.
Carter, the only senior in the starting lineup and KSU’s second-leading scorer, has missed three games with mononucleosis. She’s been on the bench in warm-up dress for those games.
Other MAC scores
Central Michigan remained the only unbeaten team in conference play with a win at Western Michigan. Toledo is in second place at 4-1. Kent State, Buffalo, Ohio, Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan are tied for third at 3-2.
- Central Michigan (5-0, 12-4) 80, Western Michigan (3-2, 10-6) 70 at Western.
- Buffalo (3-2, 12-4) 66, Eastern Michigan (3-2, 8-8) 63 at Buffalo.
- Ohio (3-2, 10-6) 79, Ball State (3-2, 11-6) 71 at Ohio.
- Toledo (4-1, 9-7) 79, Bowling Green (0-5, 7-10) 72 at Toledo.
- Northern Illinois (1-4, 5-11) 70, Akron (1-4, 8-8) 65 at Akron.
7:18 4Q | Kent State 66, Miami 54
Lindsey Thall sinks her 3rd 3-pointer out of the timeout. pic.twitter.com/pgm078Sg5I
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
4:38 3Q | Kent State 51, Miami 40
Katie Shumate scores in transition to push the lead back to double-figures at the media timeout. pic.twitter.com/DpXQHqdw0p
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
2:49 2Q | Kent State 40, Miami 28
Nice drive and finish gives Nila Blackford 19 points. pic.twitter.com/7CXoQLFrOf
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
5:36 2Q | Kent State 35, Miami 24
Asiah Dingle drives in to give Flashes first double-digit lead of the day. pic.twitter.com/6BIkkH6ExN
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
1:18 1Q | Kent State 22, Miami 15
Nila Blackford beats the shot clock buzzer to push lead back to 7. pic.twitter.com/ma8PyvhFlT
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 18, 2020
Excellent 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
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.
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
- Central Michigan (4-0, 11-4)
- 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)
- Toledo (3-1, 8-7)
- Kent State (2-2, 9-6)
- Akron (1-3, 8-7)
- Miami (1-3, 8-8)
- Bowling Green (0-4, 7-9)
- Northern Illinois (0-4, 4-11)
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.
5:19 3Q | Kent State 57, NIU 46
Asiah Dingle with her third steal of the night and is up to 16 points. Flashes have turned 17 NIU turnovers into 24 points. pic.twitter.com/qAvuhMaMYF
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 16, 2020
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.