Modkins, defense earn Starkey his 200th win


Coach Todd Starkey argues with the referees about calls he believes his players are not getting during the quarter-finals of the MAC Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Kent State lost 67-63.

Ian Kreider

200 wins.

A feat that coach Todd Starkey has now eclipsed.

“To be honest with you I had forgotten about it,” Starkey said. “It makes me think about all of the players I’ve coached over the years. All the wins that we had at Lenoir-Rhyne with that group of players, and then the wins that we’ve been able to amass here. It’s really a tribute to the fact that I’m getting old and stayed in the profession long enough to get 200, and that I’ve coached a lot of good players.”

The Youngstown-area native was well aware of the value.

“It’s a little bit sentimental to do it against Youngstown State, which was kind of my hometown university,” Starkey said.

Kent State (3-2) came away with a 62-34 wire-to-wire blowout against Youngstown State (4-1). The Penguins had beaten the likes of the University of Pittsburgh prior to the matchup with the Flashes.

“No, I didn’t see quite that coming, but I knew we had it in us,” Starkey said. “We played like that a good portion of (North) Carolina game. We played like that for moments of the second half at NC State.”

There was one major difference between previous games and the game Tuesday night: Freshman guard Mariah Modkins started in place of freshman guard Asiah Dingle who suffered an injury Sunday against Oakland.

“It was exciting,” Modkins said of her first career start. “It was exciting having my name called, but I knew it was bigger than having my name called and doing a cool handshake. I knew that I had to bring energy, especially on the defensive end of the floor, and I knew that would carry over to offense.”

Modkins hit a three with 6:54 left in the first quarter to extend the early Kent State lead to 6-3. She had two turnovers in the quarter, but finished with just three. She would finish with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting and three of the team’s 11 assists.

“(On early play) I kind of sped myself up and I wasn’t reading what I should have been reading,” Modkins said. “As the game progressed I was able to slow myself down, slow my mind down to make the right reads and get the ball where it needs to go.”

The Flashes had a solid contribution from junior guard Megan Carter, who finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including(2-for-3 from three.

Offensively, the Flashes played well in the first half, but were able to extend its lead in the second half, while shooting just 9-for-31 from the field. This, in large part, had to do with senior center Merissa Barber-Smith. She finished with 11 rebounds and five blocks off the bench.

“When you can leave a single player in there and not have to double team it settles everything else down around it,” Starkey said. “We didn’t have to double team off their shooters, and that was key for us. If we have to start double teaming the post we felt like they were probably going to be able to get some open three’s.”

Youngstown State finished 7-for-34 on three’s, and finished the third quarter without recording a field goal (0-for-17). The Flashes held the Penguins to just 11-for-64 shooting for the entirety of the game.

Kent State is back on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as they take on Duquesne (1-3) inside the M.A.C. Center.

Ian Kreider is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].