Lurken sets records during Florida Gulf Coast Showcase


Larissa Lurken, a junior nursing major and a guard on the Kent State women’s basketball team on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.

Henry Palattella

The Kent State women’s basketball team’s time at the Florida Gulf Coast Showcase came to an end Sunday afternoon, as the Flashes (3-4) blew past Florida Gulf Coast University (2-5), 77-64, securing their first win of the weekend.

Senior Larissa Lurken continued her dominant weekend play leading Kent State with 24 points. Lurken was the topic of much conversation over the weekend, as she left her mark on both the Kent State and the showcase record books.

Lurken has worked her way into the star role for the Flashes and is now beginning to see tangible proof to her work. Lurken — who is the all-time leading scorer at Park high school in Minnesota — has been a four-year starter for the Flashes and a two-time Academic All-MAC selection.

Her success on the court hasn’t exactly transitioned to success in the win column, as the Flashes had only won 18 games in her first three years as a member, six of which came last year.

She and new coach Todd Starkey are looking to turn that trend around this year, as their victory over FGCU on Sunday was their third win of the year.

Lurken is one of two Flashes who are averaging double figures in scoring (junior Jordan Korinek is averaging 11.1 points per game), so the Flashes will lean heavily on Lurken heading into conference play.

One of the main reasons for the uptick in Lurken’s production this year has been her success from three-point range. Lurken came into this season having never shot better than 33 percent.

She has improved her shooting from distance tenfold so far this season, as she’s shooting a cool 41 percent (15-36) from three this season. Lurken came into Sunday’s game sixth in the country in scoring, averaging 23.3 points per game.

Her first broken record came in the Flashes first game of the weekend — which was an 84-42 loss to No. 5 Baylor University — when she became the 20th person in Kent State women’s basketball history to score 1,000 points in her career.

She scored 15 points on the night and was the only Kent State player to score in double-figures against the Bears. Junior guard Naddiyah Cross and freshman Megan Carter added six points each.

Her record book destructions continued in the second game of the showcase, which was a 79-73 loss to Eastern Kentucky University. Lurken scored 39 points in the overtime loss, which is the highest point total scored by any player ever in a Gulf Coast Showcase game.

Lurken also knocked down her 161st career three-pointer in the win, which is most by a single player in Kent State history. She was joined in double-figures by Korinek, who scored 19 points.

Sunday’s aforementioned game against the Eagles was their third and final game of the weekend, as well as their first victory since they rattled off two-straight wins to start the year. The Flashes shot 46 percent in the game total and led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter. Korinek and Cross stepped up again, scoring 16 and 11 points, respectively.

The Flashes will play again on Wednesday when they welcome Fort Wayne to the M.A.C. Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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