Northern Illinois’ offense proves to be too much for Kent State


Kent State senior forward Chelsi Watson drives to the basket against Northern Illinois at the M.A.C. Center on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.

Henry Palattella

The last time that the Kent State women’s basketball team took on Northern Illinois University there was no shortage of offense, as the two teams combined to score 195 points in the Huskies 98-97 win over the Flashes on January 11 at the M.A.C. Center. Northern Illinois (14-5, 7-1 MAC) flexed their offensive muscles yet again Wednesday night, as they routed the Flashes (10-10, 4-4 MAC) by a score of 93-72. 

“There wasn’t a single thing that went our way,” Kent State head coach Todd Starkey said to Dave Wilson on 640WHLO after the game. “I don’t know how many layups and open shoots we missed. We got our butts kicked. It was probably our worst performance of the year from start to finish.”

The Flashes struggled on offense all night, and only managed to go 25-83 (30 percent) from the floor, while the Huskies provided an offensive juxtaposition by going 25-83 (44 percent) from the field and 6-18 (33 percent) from three. The Huskies came into the game averaging 88.2 points per game.

Larissa Lurken once again led the Flashes on offense with 24 points, but she had the chance to finish with much more, as she only managed to go 6-25 (24 percent) from the field and 2-9 (22 percent) from three.

“There’s a reason Larissa is one of the top players getting to the line,” Starkey said. “There’s no secret the way people game plan for Larissa. Five games in a row people have gotten physical with her at the start of the game. It’s our job to adjust to that. We didn’t do a good job of that. NIU is a team where if you don’t do a few things well they’ll take over.”

McKenna Stephens had her best game of the year, as she tied her career high by scoring 19 points. Stephens and Lurken were the only two Flashes to finish in double scoring, as the Huskies cooled down the red hot Jordan Korinek, as she only finished with eight points. Korinek had to sit out most of the first half after she collected two early fouls.

“Whenever (Korinek) gets in foul trouble it throws our rhythm off,” Starkey said. “I thought it was unfortunate that she went out early. We had a good game plan to go to her early.”

The Huskies had a consistent offensive attack all night, and were led on offensive by sophomore guard Mikayla Voigt, who finished with 18 points. Senior Ally Lehman broke out of her offensive slump in a big way, as she complied 16 points and seven rebounds in what might have been her final game against the Flashes. Freshman Janae Poission scored 16 points of her own, while Courtney Woods and Kelley Smith scored 15 and 12, respectively. 

The Flashes went into the break with in a manageable hole, as they trailed Northern Illinois by a score of 36-30. The Huskies put the game away in the third quarter, however, outscoring the Flashes 37-21. 

“This was one game,” Starkey said. “Like I’ve been saying while we were winning, you cant get too high or too low.”

Kent State is back in action again this Saturday when they take on Bowling Green State University at 3 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center. The game will be the second game in a double-header with the men’s team.  

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