Wright State takes advantage of big first quarter in win over Flashes


Kent State senior guard Naddiyah Cross drives to the basket against Detroit Mercy Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.

Scott Lendak

The Flashes had early success getting the ball into senior forward Jordan Korinek’s hands. The only problem was Wright State had no trouble offensively either. 

Kent State surrendered 26 points in the first quarter to a Wright State team that came into the game 27th in the country in scoring. The Raiders made four three-point field goals in the opening quarter to give them a 26-17 lead. 

“On the defensive end in the first half we didn’t play hard enough,” Korinek said. “We were matching baskets with them, and they were shooting threes and we were shooting twos. We haven’t been able to put a full game together yet. There’s a lot to work on.”

Korinek finished with 22 points.

The Flashes’ second half defense was much stronger as they held the Raiders to just 34 points. 

“We just started playing harder,” coach Todd Starkey said. “We played a lot more zone in the second half. They came out and scored the first three possessions of the second half, and then we tried some zone to slow them down a little bit and it did.” 

Going into halftime, the Flashes trailed, 38-28. Raiders’ senior guard Chelsea Welch had a dominating first half with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists.

She finished with 26 points and five assists.

Korinek picked up two fouls and played limited minutes. She still led the Flashes with eight points and four rebounds before intermission.

Starkey made some lineup adjustment during the game as he played nine Flashes in the first half. 

“The changes were a result of players not playing hard,” Starkey said. “We tried to put other people in that could do the job.” 

Kent State came into the game ninth in the country in free throws attempted, but the team only shot five in the first half.

The Flashes won the third quarter, 20-18. Starkey emphasized how important it was to play a complete game.

“It’s been too much of a roller coaster with our effort and intensity,” Starkey said. “That’s the thing that bothers me the most. We haven’t gotten further along in our level of play from a consistency standpoint.”

The Flashes cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter. That was the closest they got as the Raiders managed to pull away. Kent State finished the game with 18 turnovers. 

“When you play a talented basketball team, your margin of error shrinks significantly,” Starkey said. “We made far too many errors for us to be able to beat a team that is that talented.” 

The Flashes lost, 72-60, and fell to 6-4, while Wright State improved to 7-2. Kent State plays next at 2 p.m. Sunday when they travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan.

“Could we be in worse shape record wise? Absolutely,” Starkey said. “We’re still trying to shift the culture in this program. We’re still trying to change some of the culture of the effort and intensity it takes to constantly be at the top of the MAC.”

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].