KSU women’s basketball faces the University of Massachusetts Saturday

Center+Leslie+Schaefer+tosses+he+ball+during+this+years+annual+MACC+Madness+on+Oct.+12.+Photo+by+NANCY+URCHAK.

Center Leslie Schaefer tosses he ball during this year’s annual MACC Madness on Oct. 12. Photo by NANCY URCHAK.

Erika Brun

The women’s basketball team heads to the University of Massachusetts for their first game Saturday.

Flashes head coach Danielle O’Banion starts her first season with Kent State as the fifth head coach in program history after spending the last four seasons on staff at Memphis. The Flashes also have added five new players to the roster.

“In our first season here, I like what we’ve started,” O’Banion said. “We have four seniors who have been very solid since the day that we showed up and so I like what lays ahead for our team because we’ve added some very good pieces to a team that was competitive in the past.”

Kent State fell 70-61 to Gannon in an exhibition game Oct. 28. The team forced 26 turnovers and had 30 rebounds. Senior Diamon Beckford was the lead scorer for the Flashes with 18 points, and senior Trisha Krewson had 6 rebounds.

The Flashes had an overall record of 6-21 and 5-11 in the conference games last season. Kent State placed fifth in the Mid-American Conference East.

O’Banion said because UMass is as unknown as Kent State is with new players, they have been able to focus on how the team will be successful and what the team needs to do instead of how to manage UMass.

UMass ended the 2011-12 season with an 8-21 overall record and 3-11 in the Atlantic 10. Massachusetts is returning with nine players and have added six new players, five true freshmen and one red-shirt freshman. UMass lost a scrimmage against Brown Oct. 27.

“Our expectations are to have a great effort and to get there and demonstrate things that we’ve been working so hard on in practice,” O’Banion said. “I think our players have benefited greatly from having that closed scrimmage and exhibition game, and so we’re just looking for improvement from those first two opportunities to compete against other teams.”

Contact Erika Brun at [email protected].