Kent State routs Bradley in Starkey’s head coaching debut

Henry Palattella

When Kent State (1-0) hired Indiana University assistant coach Todd Starkey as its women’s basketball coach this past offseason, it was done so in the hopes that he could bring parts of the Hoosiers winning atmosphere with him to Kent. That was the case Friday, as the Flashes rolled over the University Bradley (0-1), 76-52, in their season-opener.

“(We had a) sloppy second half,” Starkey said after the game. “There were some shots we should have made, but we’ll clean it up. I thought the defensive effort was good.”

Senior guard Larissa Lurken led the Flashes with 22 points, nine of which occurred when she went on her own nine-point run at the end of the first quarter and at the start of the second quarter — which pushed the Flashes’ lead into double digits.

“I think it was really important for us to get out to a good start,” Lurken said, post-game. “We’re really hard at digging ourselves out of a hole and we usually create that hole a lot of the times. I think it was really important for us to get out to a good lead and not just be comfortable with that, but continue to grow it.

The Flashes didn’t trail after the 7:27 mark in the first quarter, and they went on a 21-10 run at the end of the second half to put them up 43-26.

Freshman guard Ali Poole scored 11 points in her Flashes debut, while redshirt junior forward McKenna Stephens added 12 points.

The Flashes shot 43 percent from the field and held the Braves to 31 percent and forced 19 turnovers.

The Flashes got most of their work done on the inside early, as they attempted only six three-pointers in the first half, making three of them. They then attempted 11 three points in the second half, making two of them.

“Our game plan changed a little bit because (junior Jordan Korinek) was sitting because of foul trouble,” Starkey said. “Hopefully, that’s not always the case.”

The Flashes will look to continue their winning ways when they take on Eastern Kentucky University (1-0) on Monday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

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