The excitement of three good home games evaporated for the Kent State women’s basketball team in Detroit as the Flashes lost to Detroit Mercy, 73-52.
It was by far the Flashes’ worst game of the season. The Detroit Mercy broadcast announcer called it clearly the Titans’ best.
Mercy, which has all five of last season’s starters back and two new players who have worked their way into the first string, is 2-2 on the season. The Titans are picked second in the Horizon League.
Kent State is also 2-2, having lost two in a row after winning its first two.
It was KSU’s 16th straight loss on the road, dating back three seasons. The Flashes were 0-13 away from Kent last season.
“It was our first time on the road, and we didn’t know how to react when we got punched in the mouth,” first-year coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame interview on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “We kind of acted like we liked it, and we just kind of took whatever they were going to give us.
“We tried to respond a few times, and every single time we put a little run together, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with a missed layup or some missed free throws or a turnover or an offensive rebound put back.”
KSU’s shooting was its worst of the season. The Flashes made only 26 percent of their shots — 17 of 65 and 3 of 17 from three-point distance.
Larissa Lurken, who had averaged 27 points in Kent’s first three games, had just 5, and none in the first half. She made 1 of 12 shots and two free throws.
Her game left her three points short of 1,000 for her career.
“It was no secret they were going to have a game plan on Larissa,” Starkey said. “But I really don’t think that was the reason we struggled so much. We got open looks. I don’t know how many layups we missed. I don’t know how many open three-point shots we missed.
“We can’t shoot 26 percent in any basketball game no matter who we’re playing.
“Our shots weren’t falling, and we weren’t playing very well, and then defensively we certainly got away from our principles.”
Detroit Mercy made 43 percent of its shots and 30 percent of its three-pointers, including 5 of 12 in the first half.
Detroit pretty much put the game away in the first three minutes of the second quarter. The Flashes had cut an early Detroit lead to five with five points in the last minute of the first quarter.
Then the Titans made their first five shots of the second quarter. Kent State missed its first four shots and had a turnover. That made the score 33-18, and the Flashes never got within 12 points the rest of the way.
Senior forward Chelsi Watson was the only bright spot for Kent State. She had 11 points and 12 rebounds (eight of them offensive) for the first double-double of her career. She also had four steals and an assist in 22 minutes.
“Chelsi played her tail off,” Starkey said. “I only wish everybody else had matched her intensity.”
Forward Jordan Korinek, KSU’s leading scorer last season, had 7 points, her third game in single digits. She only had four games below 10 all last year.
“She’s just kind of kind of pressing right now and forcing some things,” Starkey said. “She just has to slow down a little. She’s a very capable finisher. She’s going to be fine.”
Kent State heads to Florida Wednesday for the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, outside Fort Myers.
“Our next opponent is Baylor,” Starkey said. “If we thought tonight was tough, we’re going to play one of the top teams in the country.
“We’ve just got to regroup and find a way to continue to get better as a team.”
- Starkey cleared the bench when Kent State fell far behind in the fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Taylor Parker and senior forward Lacey Miller saw their first action of the season. Parker, who is from Detroit, had 3 points, 5 rebounds and a steal.
- Redshirt freshman Megan Carter, also from the Detroit area, played a season-high 15 minutes and had 7 points. Merissa Barber-Smith, the Flashes’ 6-4 sophomore forward, had a career-high 6 rebounds and a steal in 10 minutes. Reserve point guard Paige Salisbury got her first basket of the season.
- Kent State’s bench had more points (31) that its starters (21).
- KSU had 21 offensive rebounds and outrebounded Detroit Mercy 46-43. But Detroit had two more second-chance points.
- Both teams had 15 turnovers. Kent State scored 16 off of them, the Titans 9.
- Detroit Mercy outscored KSU 20-3 on fastbreak points.
Story from Detroit Mercy website, which includes a links to video highlights and interview with its coach.
Story from KSU website.
Other Monday MAC scores
Bowling Green (1-4) 69, Lafayette (1-5) 42 at Bowling Green.
Michigan (4-0) 66, Western Michigan (1-2) 40 at Michigan.
Ohio (3-0) 58, Northern Kentucky (1-3) 41 at Ohio.
Stories on games at MAC website.
MAC standings and some team statistics.