Lurken leads Flashes to win over Eastern Kentucky

Henry Palattella

Senior Larissa Lurken of the Kent State women’s basketball team continued her torrid start to the season Monday, scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to help lead the Flashes (2-0) to an 80-67 victory over Eastern Kentucky University (1-1).

“I thought our (offensive execution) in the first half was really good,” Kent State head coach Todd Starkey said after the game. “First half we played really well … We did a really good job of taking care of the ball.”

Kent State jumped on the Eastern Kentucky early, as they forced the Colonels to commit 11 fouls and seven turnovers in the first half — en route to a 47-26 Flashes lead at halftime.

Eastern Kentucky forced their way back into the game in the third quarter, as they went on a 25-12 run in the third quarter that cut the Flashes lead to 57-51 with a minute remaining in the quarter.

That minute proved to be fatal for the Colonels, as junior guard Ja’lyn Brooks committed a technical foul that led Lurken knocking down four free throws. Sophomore Ali Poole then hit a jumper in the waning seconds of the quarter and all of a sudden the Flashes went into the fourth quarter with a 65-51 lead.

“We knew (Eastern Kentucky) was going to make a run. They made about three big runs on us,” Starkey said. “We were able to answer them, probably not as quickly as I would have liked to but we had enough composure down the stretch that we were able to execute.”

The Flashes controlled Eastern Kentucky defensively for most of the game, as only five Colonels managed to score — with senior guard Shavontae Naylor leading the way scoring 17 points.

The Flashes’ biggest defensive accomplishment was shutting down Colonel forward Jalen O’Bannon. O’Bannon — who was named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year — sat for most of the first quarter due to foul trouble. She finished six points and one rebound.

The Flashes will look to improve to 3-0 when they take on Robert Morris University Saturday at the M.A.C. Center arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Henry Palattella is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].