Opinion: Women’s basketball deserves your attention

Kent+State+senior+forward+Chelsi+Watson+of+the+womens+basketball+team+comes+down+with+the+offensive+rebound+against+The+University+of+Akron+Zips+at+the+James+A.+Rhodes+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+11%2C+2017.

Kent State senior forward Chelsi Watson of the women’s basketball team comes down with the offensive rebound against The University of Akron Zips at the James A. Rhodes Arena on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Henry Palattella

This weekend will be the end of an era for Kent State women’s basketball.

Saturday will be the final home game for the five seniors on the team’s roster. Coming into the season, their tenures on the team looked to be ones that would be defined by blowout losses and sparse crowds.

This season, however, has been a drastic change for the team as their win over Miami University (OH) on Wednesday not only gave them their 18th win of the season, but clinched first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division for the Flashes and a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament.

To put that into perspective, they had only won 18 total games over the past three years.

Despite this unfathomable turnaround, the team still plays in front of minute crowds, which is inexcusable. One of the main gripes that I’ve heard from people is that they don’t want to go to the games because of how slow the pace is.

While that may be the case for some women’s college basketball teams, that isn’t the case for the Flashes who scored 97 points in a loss to Northern Illinois University this season.

The Flashes also have one of the best players in the nation on their team in the form of senior guard Larissa Lurken who is currently averaging 23.3 points per game this year, almost two full points higher than the Kent State record held by Bonnie Beachy.

While Lurken may be having one of the best years out of anyone in college basketball, that doesn’t mean that the Flashes are a one-woman show on offense. Junior forward Jordan Korinek has emerged as a potent offense threat in the paint, while senior McKenna Stephens and junior Alexa Golden are both proven threats on the wings. The Flashes are also one of the deeper teams in the MAC, as it’s no anomaly for Coach Todd Starkey to go 10 deep in his bench in a half.

The team also exonerated some of their old demons this season by sweeping both the University of Akron and Eastern Michigan University. The win over the Zips was the first for every member of the team, while their win over Eastern Michigan was a form of cathartic release for the Flashes; their past two seasons had ended in Ypsilanti in the MAC Tournament.  

However, these positives haven’t resulted in crowds.

The Flashes’ biggest home crowd came this past Saturday when they faced off against Akron, an announced crowd of 1,073, more than 200 of whom I would say were Akron fans.

The Flashes have one more home game this coming Saturday against the University at Buffalo. It happens to be senior night and, consequently, the last game for five core members of the team.

After that, the team will travel to Cleveland for the MAC Tournament in hopes of extending their season.

They could use your support.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected]