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Ready to be excited about next season? If not, read this:
Record-Courier summer breakdown

The women have released their 2018-19 schedule. It looks a little bit easier and less extreme than last season, when the Flashes played four teams in the top 50 RPI and four with RPIs over 250 (out of 349 teams).

They have five home games, plus a Nov. 4 exhibition against Division II Slippery Rock, and six away games.

Non-conference starts with a tough road trip to North Carolina, where the Flashes will play the Tarheels (15-16 last season) on Friday, Nov. 9, and North Carolina State (26-9 and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16) two days later.

Toughest other games are home against Duquesne (25-8 last season with all five starters returning) and at Wright State (23-11).

Home opener is the weekend of Nov. 17-18 in the "Kent State Classic," when they will play Northern Kentucky (9-22) and Oakland (15-16) of the Horizon League. Akron will play the same two teams at the MACC on opposite nights. Last season KSU had a similar tournament at the JAR (the "Akron Classic").

Kent also plays Youngstown State (16-16) and Division II Clarion (7-21) at home.

Away games are at Robert Morris (25-8 but a team KSU beat 46-31 last season), St. Bonaventure (8-22) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (4-26).

In the MAC, the Flashes will play Western Division teams Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan twice. They'll host defending champion Central Michigan and Northern Illinois and play at Ball State and Toledo. And they'll of course play home and away games against all East Division teams.

Kent State has two returning starters (guards Alexa Golden and Ali Poole) from last year's 13-19 team, along with second-leading scorer Megan Carter, who came off the bench in most games. Biggest loss was all-MAC forward Jordan Korinek, the sixth-leading scorer in Kent State history.

The Flashes have one of their best incoming freshman classes, including point guard Asiah Dingle, last year's high school player of the year in Massachusetts, and guard Hannah Young, a four-time all-stater from Virginia. They also added forward Sydney Brinlee, a second-team junior college All-American from Oklahoma.

Two posts on the schedule are on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
Practice started this week for the women (and the men). It will be a season of new faces; five members of the team are freshmen, two are junior college transfers. At least one and as many as three are likely to start. That's half the roster.

Coach Todd Starkey says the team, which practiced on a limited basis in summer and early fall, is ahead of where he thought it would be. The new players, he says, add better shooting, depth and athleticism to the squad that was 13-19 last season.

The roster has only two point guards — both freshmen. One is the marquee player of what may by the best recruiting class in school history. She's Asiah Dingle, the Boston Globe's high school player of the year in Massachusetts last year. The other is Mariah Modkins, a leader of Solon High School's state runner-up last season. Four-year starter Naddiyah Cross graduated, and Erin Thames, who backed up Cross as a freshman last season, has left the team.

Megan Carter, who played some point as a redshirt freshman, is pretty much a No. 2 guard now. She is KSU's top returning scorer at 10.2 points per game. Carter was the first player off the bench most of last year. Other returning starters are Alexa Golden, a three-year starter at guard, and guard Ali Poole.

Merissa Barber-Smith, the tallest player on the team at 6-4, is back after missing all last winter with a medical issue. Starkey says her loss may have cost KSU a winning record last year.

6-2 freshman Lindsey Thall (Strongsville) and transfer Sydney Brinlee (6 foot from Highland Community College in Kansas) look like leading contenders with Barber-Smith for playing time at post. Thall, Starkey says, has a three-point range up to 27 feet (the three-point line is just over 20). Brinlee was second-leading rebounder on a team that went to 35-1 last season. 5-11 Monique Smith, probably the best of last year's freshmen, is listed as a post this year; KSU tried her at wing last season.

But the wings and No. 2 guard — pretty much interchangeable positions in Starkey's system -— are deep. Golden, one of the best defensive players in the MAC, Carter and Poole return. Another marquee freshman — 5-10 Hannah Young from Brookville, Virginia, plays there. She was a four-time all-state selection (three first team) and player of the year in her division in Virginia as a junior.
Annie Pavlansky, a 6-foot freshman from Cortland, averaged 21 points a game at Lakeview High School last year.

Starkey says the talent from the newcomers will let the team play a more open, less scripted offense and more aggressive defense. And he says the team should have much better shooters than last season, when the Flashes made just 27.7 percent of their three-point shots.

Two posts on the wbbflashes.com blog:

An overview is at http://wbbflashes.com/2018/09/29/with-ha...e-sunday/.

A position-by-position rundown is at http://wbbflashes.com/2018/10/05/a-guide...starters/.
Interesting stuff from the KSU Media Day this week.

KSU lost 65 percent of its scoring from last season, including Jordan Korinek, the fifth leading scorer in school history.

Yet coach Todd Starkey thinks his team can average more than 70 points a game this season. That's nine more than last year's 13-19 team (but about the same as the MAC East champion of two years ago.)

Where are the points coming from? He thinks that with more consistency, redshirt junior guard Megan can make a jump from the 10.2 points she averaged last season.

But he made clear he expects most of the punch to come from his freshman class. Three of them -- all guards -- averaged more than 19 points their senior year in high school. Two were players of the year in their states.

I watched practice one day last week. The first thing I saw was 6-2 freshman forward Lindsey Thall (Strongsville High School) hit two straight 24-foot three-pointers in a scrimmage. She was loosely guarded, didn't hesitate and, bam. Freshman point guard Asiah Dingle, last season's Boston Globe player of the year in high school, looks as good as advertised. She may be the team's best point guard since Malika Willoughby. Maybe better than that.

Starkey said the team should be greatly improved in three-point shooting. (Not hard; they made 27 percent last season.) They'll play more up tempo and take chances on defense to generate offense. "Guard play, talent level and depth is significantly better." The team could go eight or 10 deep. Last year it was six.

There's no inside scoring threat like Korinek. I suspect the team will look more like Ohio U's team has for the last four or five years. I'll take that; OU has averaged 23 wins and won two MAC championships in that time.

The question is, of course, can a freshman-dominated team win? Last time I remember that happening at Kent was Bob Lindsay's second year. That was 1990-91.

Averaging 70 points a game hasn't been seen very often recently at the MACC. It's happened three times since 2001.

Full details on press day is on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.

(There's also a terrific picture from the video introduction they're working on for the season.)
Thanks, cschierh. Very informative post. I'm looking forward to their season.
We get a chance to see Kent State's five freshmen, two transfers, and returning players for the first time Sunday, when the Flashes host Division II Slippery Rock in at exhibition at 2 p.m. at the M.A.C.C.

Admission is free.

It's the first exhibition for KSU since Todd Starkey became coach in 2016. The last two years the Flashes have had closed scrimmages against Division I teams.

My guess is that at the starting lineup will include freshman point guard Asiah Dingle, freshman forward Lindsey Thall, senior guard Alexa Golden, senior center Merissa Barber-Smith and redshirt junior guard Megan Carter.

I'm almost certain about Dingle and Golden. We might see junior Ali Poole at guard or junior college transfer Sydney Brinlee at forward. They certainly will get a lot of playing time, as will freshman point Mariah Modkins and freshman guard Hannah Young. Everybody else ought to play; it's an exhibition.

Slippery Rock was 12-16 last season and 10-12 in their division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Their top four scorers are back.

Full preview is on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com along with other items, including:

-- KSU was predicted to finish fourth in the MAC East by league coaches, behind (in order) Buffalo, Miami and Ohio and ahead of Bowling Green and Akron. (Both of those teams have new coaches.) Central Michigan was a unanimous choice to win the West and the overwhelming choice to win the overall MAC title and the tournament.

-- Notes from a visit to practice: Three-pointers, better offense and a learning curve on defense.

-- A pleasant little item on how Carter plays the cello to relax from practice and school.

-- And you'll get a look at the huge new scoreboard (four times the video area of the old one) if you go to the game.

Flashes open at North Carolina next Friday and play at North Carolina State nest Sunday.
The women beat Division II Slippery Rock 77-48 in an exhibition Sunday.

In the first and third quarters, the Flashes looked very good, outscoring Slippery Rock a total of 54-17. Second quarter was sloppy and went to Slippery Rock 19-16. Reserves played much of the fourth quarter.

Freshman point guard Asiah Dingle had 21 points on six-of-seven shooting, six rebounds, four steals and two assists in 24 minutes. She does indeed look as good as she's supposed to be.

Junior guard Ali Poole had perhaps her best performance in a Kent State uniform. She had 14 rebounds — six above her career high — and 14 points — five off her career high.

She was one of four guards who started for the Flashes, something coach Todd Starkey said we may see often this season.

The other starting guards were junior Megan Carter and senior Alexa Golden. Fifth starter was 6-2 forward Lindsey Thall. Carter had 10 points for the game, Thall and freshman guard Hannah Young had eight. Young was the first player off the bench.

Overall the Flashes were what Starkey said they were going to be -- better shooters, faster paced, more aggressive on defense.

In general the defense was better than I expected. Slippery Rock made just 24 percent os its shots (14 percent on three-pointers) and had a tough time running its offense.

But they're what looks to be an average to slightly-above-average Division II team.

Kent State still had too many turnovers (20 to 14 for Slippery Rock); 17 came from their top seven players.

Full story on the game is going up in pieces on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
The women have perhaps the toughest opening weekend in school history with games at North Carolina Friday and North Carolina State Sunday.

The Flashes have never played two Power Five teams in their first two games of a season.

These teams are good ones. N.C. State is ranked 17th in the country. Carolina is coming off three mediocre seasons but has been to the final four three times under its current coach.

Both teams beat good mid-majors in their openers this week, and both got most of their scoring from guards.

That will make an interesting matchup for Kent State, which got only four inside points from its post players in its 77-48 exhibition win over Division II Slippery Rock Sunday. KSU's leading scorers were guards Asiah Dingle (21), Ali Poole (14) and Megan Carter (10). Forward Lindsey Thall can score but is as much of a three-point threat as she is a post-up player.

Dingle and Thall are both part of Kent State's touted freshman class; four of KSU's top eight players in the exhibition were freshmen.

Full preview of the weekend is on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
Kent State played North Carolina evenly for most of its opener Friday, but two minutes of furious action with about five minutes to go broke the game open for Carolina.

Final score was 73-60.

The Flashes led 52-50 with 5:16 to go and got the ball back on a turnover, then then turned it over themselves on an inbound play. North Carolina made two free throws and led 55-54 with 3:57 left.

Thirty seconds later, Tar Heel guard Paris Kea, a third-team preseason All-American, hit a three-pointer. was fouled, and made the free throw to put Carolina ahead 59-54. Forty seconds after that, KSU guard Asiah Dingle missed a three-point basket, dived after a long rebound and was called for a foul. Coach Todd Starkey was called for a technical protesting, and Carolina pulled away from there.

The Flashes trailed 25-14 after the first quarter, dominated North Carolina 21-11 in the second, then played the Tar Heels evenly until Key's four-point play.

Junior guard Megan Carter led Kent State with 17 points. Dingle, senior guard Alexa Golden and freshman guard Hannah Young all had nine. Freshman forward Lindsey Thall and junior guard Ali Poole had seven points.

The Flashes held Carolina, which had scored 100 points in its opener against Elon, to 34 percent shooting and 25 percent from three-point distance.

KSU made 38 percent of its shots but 21 percent of its three-pointers.

Story on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
We were up by two and then the ACC refs said enough is enough and bailed the Tar Heels out. That’s the worst part about basketball: it’s truly the only sport where you can go into someone else’s building and know you have no shot.
Story on North Carolina opener on the blog has been updated with analysis and quotes for coach Todd Starkey.

“If you guys will play with that kind of intensity all season," he told the team after the game, "we’re going to be really tough to beat.”

Full story is at http:/wbbflashes.com.
The women fell behind North Carolina State 39-20 in the first half and watched the Wolfpack cruise to a 78-61 victory in Raleigh Sunday.

The Flashes went 0-2 in their opening weekend trip to North Carolina. They lost to North Carolina 73-60 on Friday.

But while the Carolina loss was closer than the final score (KSU led 52-50 with five minutes to go), the North Carolina State wasn't as close.

The Wolfpack, ranked 17th in the preseason AP poll, held Kent State to 20 percent shooting in the fist half and 30 percent for the game. The Flashes were forced to take 29 of their 55 shots from three-point distance and made only nine.

N.C. State made 57 percent of its shots, 58 percent of its three-pointers.

Megan Carter had 22 points for KSU, giving her a total of 39 for the weekend. Asiah Dingle had 13.

Full story on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
A status report after Kent State's opening road trip North Carolina:

1. Team certainly has potential. Flashes held their own against Carolina for most of the game and played evenly against N.C. State in the second half (though game was never close). Both ACC teams had more size, more talent and more experience than Kent.

2. Redshirt junior guard Megan Carter played like an all-star. She had 39 points and led all scorers at N.C. State.

3. Kent's next three top scorers were freshmen — point guard Asiah Dingle, forward Lindsey Thall and guard Hannah Young. Dingle shows no fear and major quickness in attacking the basket. She also needs to foul less.

4. The offense runs on drives, pull-up jumpers by Carter and three-point shooting. Three-point percentage wasn't good (27.1). Team showed little post scoring.

5. Defense and rebounding looked adequate, as best we could tell against strong competition.

Full story, plus a look at the three recruits expected to sign with KSU Wednesday and MAC results so far, is on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
The women host Northern Kentucky Saturday and Oakland Sunday in the first Kent State Classic. Preview is on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.

I'll add more here after the men's game.
We nipped Northern Kentucky 62-61 tonight. We went on a 10-0 run to begin the second half to take a 38-23 lead but then proceeded to slowly watch it go away. Poole who didn’t play particularly well clinched it with two free throws late in the game. Dingle at point guard was a lot of fun. Led the team in scoring but also was credited with 6 turnovers (I think it was closer to twice that) but she can do some great things too. Starkey needs to sit her down and make her repeat 1000 times that she doesn’t play for Solon anymore. By the conference season we might have our point guard for the next 4 years. At least 3 other freshman look like they will contribute immediately. I’ll let our women’s bb blogger give you the gory details but overall I felt pretty good about what I saw.
Starkey said the team "took their foot off the gas" after that 10-point run to start the second half.

He said the for the most part, he didn't think the team played well. Asked what he was most encouraged about, he said, "We won."

At their best, the Flashes showed fans what they could hope for this season. Dingle takes the ball to the rim better than any point guard we've had in years. Carter is every bit as good as a scorer.

When the Flashes play defense and push the ball, they can be very exciting, as in the beginning of the third quarter.

Grayson Rose, who went to nearby Garrettsville High School, ledNKU with 16 points an 9 rebounds.

KSU had 13 steals and forced 27 turnovers. But they made 20 turnovers of their own.

Rebounding was not good -- just 24 to NKU's 35. That was a bigger margin than either North Carolina or North Carolina State had over KSU.

Crowd was reported at 1,273 , the largest since Starkey became coach three years ago.

KSU plays again Sunday against Oakland in their second game in the "Kent State Classic." Game time is about 1:30 or a half hour after Akron's 11 a.m. game with Northern Kentucky ends. The Zips (2-0) beat Oakland (1-3) 85-65 Saturday.

A half hour after the women's game against Oakland ends -- probably about 4 p.m., the Kent State men play Alcorn State at the M.A.C.C. One ticket gets you in both women's games and the mens' game, if you want to see that much basketball.

Full game story is going up on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
I got my point guards mixed up our starter is from Massachusetts and our back up from Solon. The point remains the same though.
Looked really good tonight. Dingle is the real thing although she went down late in the game with a leg injury. I think it was an ankle (I sure hope so). Our back up is a good backup but as a starter it won’t work especially with no one of note behind her. Hopefully it’s a two week type of injury. This is the quickest team we have had since Zerman in 2002 or so. It could be a really solid year.
KUS coach Todd Starkey wasn't as impressed as Burden. After the game, he and guards Megan Carter and Ali Poole all said the team needs to show more toughness in rebounding and fighting for loose balls. The coach wasn't happy with the team's defense, which let Oakland three-point shooters get open.

Dingle's injury is to her ankle, and Starkey didn't seem to think it would be a long-term problem. I doubt she'll play Tuesday against Youngstown State, though.

Difference in this game from Saturday was (1) Oakland isn't as good or experienced as Northern Kentucky and (2) Poole, who had only four points Saturday, had 15 today, including three three-pointers.

Carter had 18 points (she's averaging 17.8 in four games), Dingle had 14 and freshman forward Lindsey Thall 11. Carter also had six assists, five rebounds and a steal against just one turnover.

A warning sign: Akron, which was picked behind KSU in the MAC, beat both of these teams far more easily. The Zips beat Oakland 85-65 yesterday and Northern Kentucky 77-60 today, dominating both games most of the way. All of the games were part of the "Kent State Classic," in which the Flashes and Zips played the same teams on alternate days. Next year they'll do the same thing at the JAR in the "Akron Classic."

Akron is 3-0. Kent State is 2-2, Oakland 1-4 and Northern Kentucky 1-2.

Score of this game was 75-65, Kent's highest point total of the season.

Full game story is going up on the blog at http://wbbflashes.com.
Notice I said quickest team. There used to be an entire row of fans in my row until Zerman left. Then the team started playing like their feet were in cement and one by one they left. I now am the only person in the row except for an occasional 8 year girl that shows up. Now at least there’s speed on the court. Will see what happens with the record and hopefully the attendance.

I never understood the comment about having to get better at getting loose balls. I think what they really mean is we have to hang on to the ball so there are no loose balls to worry about. So far our rebounders seem to have a case of butterfingers. We could use that power forward from Kentucky this year.
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