Young Flashes use bye week to prepare for key matchup against Akron

Freshman guard Mariah Modkins brings the ball up during the second half of Kent State’s matchup against NIU on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Kent State won, 87-76. 

Gina Butkovich

Kent State freshman guards Asiah Dingle and Mariah Modkins are currently experiencing the longest losing streak of their collegiate careers.

The Flashes are on a four-game skid, with their most recent loss coming by a score of 79-63 at Miami (OH), a game in which the Flashes never led. The Flashes currently sit at 10-8 and 3-4 in the MAC. 

“The feeling in the locker room following those losses was disappointment,” Dingle said. “We beat ourselves. We’re a good team.”

A long losing streak is just one of the things that the two freshman have had to adjust to since entering college, as they now have to balance an increase in games and practices with a difficulty spike in the classroom. Both Dingle and Modkins have learned more about time management in their first year in college.

“We travel more in college,” Modkins said. “Managing my time with basketball and school has been the biggest adjustment.”

During times of doubt Modkins and Dingle have turned to the Flashes’ upperclassman in search of support and advice.

“(My teammates) have been through losing streaks before,” Dingle said. “They’ve been encouraging and motivating us.”

This leadership applies both on and off the court.

“For me, hearing (the upperclassmen’s) voice on the court has helped,” Modkins said. “They are great leaders, and being able to listen to their advice has been great.”

That advice has included using the bye week to focus more on themselves than on the other teams in the Mid-American Conference.

“We have been worrying about ourselves and working on things we need to tweak,” Modkins said. “We need to be getting more points in transition and we need to be capitalizing more on the other teams mistakes.”

Coach Todd Starkey and his staff have also played an important role in Modkins and Dingle’s development in their first season.

“They are really encouraging and they really believe in us,” Dingle said. “It’s good to play for coaches who believe in you. They care about us a lot.”

Dingle is currently second on the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game, while Modkins averages 4.3 points per game off the bench. Modkins and Dingle aren’t the only freshman helping the Flashes this season, as fellow freshman Lindsey Thall and Hannah Young have given the Flashes quality minutes this season. Thall leads the MAC in block at 1.4 per game, while Young averages 3.8 points per game. 

The Flashes will come out of the bye to face-off against rival Akron (12-6, 3-4). Both Akron and Kent are part of a four-way tie for sixth in the MAC. Akron is coming off of a 70-64 win against Toledo last Saturday.

“This break has been good to give our legs and minds a rest,” Dingle said. “We have been able to focus on school and practice, and getting our bodies into the training room to rejuvenate.”

Tipoff against the Zips is set for is at 2 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center. 

 Gina Butkovich is a sports reporter. Contact her a [email protected].