Florida Gulf Coast shot a lot of three-point baskets and didn’t make nearly enough.
Kent State got a lot of rebounds and its best-balanced scoring of the season.
The Flashes broke a four-game losing streak and won their first game away from home in two seasons in a 77-64 victory in the last game of the Gulf Coast Showcase Sunday.
KSU is now 3-4 on the season. Florida Gulf Coast, the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Sun Conference, is 2-5.
Larissa Lurken, coming off a 39-point game against Western Kentucky, had 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Korinek had 16 points, Naddiya Cross 11, Chelsi Watson 10 and Ali Poole 8. It’s the first game of the season the Flashes had four players in double figures. Nobody but Lurken and Korinek had more the six against Western Kentucky.
Florida Gulf Coast came into the game averaging almost as many three-point shots as two-point shots.
KSU held the Eagles to 2 of 20 from three-point distance in the first half in building a 41-22 lead.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a game when a team took 43 three-point shots,” KSU coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame radio interview. Florida Gulf Coast eventually made 12 of them, eight in the fourth quarter.
Those 43 shots were 10 more than any opponent has taken against a MAC team this season. There’s nothing in the Kent State record book about most three-point attempt by an opponent. The most the Flashes have ever attempted themselves is 44.
Starkey was pleased with his defense, especially in the first half.
“It was a morning game and they came out cold,” KSU coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame radio interview. “But we were able to match up with them well in our match-up zone.
“Overall it was a really good defensive effort.”
Kent State had lost Western Kentucky in part because of WKU’s 19 offensive rebounds. Sunday the Flashes out rebounded FGCU 47-26.
“At every timeout, at every media timeout, I pleaded, implored, begged them to rebound,” Starkey said.
After Lurken’s 13 rebpimds, Watson had 8, Merissa Barber-Smith had 7 off the bench in just five minutes, Korinek 5 and Poole 4.
The Flashes came out of the tournament perhaps better than they expected. Every other team in the field had won at least 26 games last season. Florida Gulf Coast was 33-6 and was runner-up in the WNIT. The Eagles lost eight players to graduation but were still picked to win their league.
“I’m happy with the tournament and beating a good Florida Gulf Coast team,” Starkey said. “It’s a great step in the right direction for our program.”
Kent State returns to action at home at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne.