Kent State was trying to get its first road victory in more than 17 months.
Ali Poole was trying to do well in her first college start.
Larissa Lurken was trying to keep her early-season scoring going.
And in the end, the Flashes were trying to hold on in the fourth quarter.
Mission accomplished, on all fronts.
Kent State ran to a 25-point lead against Wright State and beat the Raiders 79-69 in a victory that did a lot of things.
It broke an 18-game losing streak on the road that went back to February 2015. For the first time since 2010-11, it gave Flashes three victories in a row and took them over .500 in midseason.
Kent State is now 5-4. The Flashes won only six games all last season.
Wright State, which has won 20 games in four of the last five seasons, is now 4-3. It was only the third time in six seasons KSU has beaten a team with a winning record.
The Flashes led 66-41 going into the fourth quarter. Over the first 30 minutes, they had shot 61 percent from the field and 80 percent from three-point distance. They had held Wright State to 31 percent shooting and 2 of 15 three-pointers.
Wright State charged back with five steals and 18 points off of Kent State turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Raiders made 10 of 19 field goals and 3 of 5 three-pointers. Kent State went without scoring for more than five minutes at one point as it saw its lead shrink to five points with 40 seconds to play.
But three foul shots from Naddiyah Cross, an offensive rebound by Jordan Korinek on a missed free throw, and two foul shots by Lurken gave Kent State control of the end of the game.
“That’s a good Wright State team,” Kent State coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame interview on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “They’re used to winning. They’re used to winning on this court.
“We knew coming down the stretch that they were going to come at us guns blazing. We got away from a couple of things we were doing well early and got a little bit tired.
“But I was really proud of the way we finished and that we made enough good plays. I’m happy to come away with a win.”
Poole started in place of Alexa Golden, who was out with a concussion. Poole, a 5-11 freshman from Carrollton, made all five of her three-point shots and scored 19 points while grabbing five rebounds in 37 minutes. That’s more points than either Lurken or Korinek scored in a game their freshman years.
In practice, Poole had been one of the best shooters on the team. This was clearly her best offensivegame. She had been making a third of her shots; Wednesday she made two-thirds. Her 5-for-5 from three-point distance took her percentage there from .192 to .322. “Proud of the way she shot with confidence,” Starkey said.
Poole had been playing starters’ minutes as one of the first players off of the best. Her first time in the lineup, she said, “the nerves were there, (but they were) more excited nerves than nervous nerves.”
Lurken came into the game averaging 23.6 points a game — fourth best in the country. She scored 23 and had six rebounds and a steal. Her three-point play with two minutes to go was critical in slowing down Wright State’s fourth-quarter rally.
Korinek had her best offensive game of the season, scoring 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting and 3 of 3 foul shots. She did that in just 25 minutes. She picked up her second foul toward the end of the first quarter and sat out the rest of the half.
She and Starkey both said after the game how glad they were to get the road losing streak behind the team.
“They’re learning,” Starkey said. “They’re learning how to play on the road. They’re learning how to play in tight games. We didn’t handle all the pressure the way we should have, so we still have some room to grow.
“We have to be patient as coaches. I’m happy that we’re learning but also that we’re able to get some wins on the way.”
- Kent State’s final shooting percentage of 52.9 was its best of the season, as was its 66.7 percent from three-point distance (8 of 12). Wright State made 37 percent of its 64 shots and 5 of 20 three-pointers.
- KSU outrebounded the Raiders 37-31, with Chelsi Watson leading the Flashes for the third straight game with seven. Merissa Barber-Smith had four rebounds off the bench in five minutes.
- Cross had nine assists to two turnovers in 36 minutes to go with six points and a steal. Kent State had 15 assists on 27 baskets — 11 on 16 baskets in the first half.
The Flashes are home at 5 p.m. Saturday against Youngstown State in the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s team, which plays the New Jersey Institute of Technology. YSU is 3-5 on the year and lost to Akron at home in overtime 76-74 on Tuesday.
Wright State Box score
Game story from kentstatesports.com website.
Other MAC scores
Indiana-Purdue at Indianapolis (7-1) 65, Miami (2-6) 53 at Miami.
Bowling Green (4-5) 82, Division II Ohio Valley (3-4) 46
Western Michigan (6-2) 61, Fort Wayne (1-8) 35 at Western.
Purdue (6-4) 62, Central Michigan (6-3) 51 at Purdue.
Detroit Mercy (4-5) 77, Eastern Michigan (3-5) 64 at Eastern.
Akron (4-2) 76, Youngstown State (3-5) 74 in overtime at YSU.
Buffalo (7-0) 74, Hofstra (4-3) 50 at Buffalo.
Ball State (5-2) 74, Butler (2-6) 50 at Butler.
Virginia (6-2) 67, Bowling Green (3-5) 47 at Bowling Green.
Toledo (6-1) 99, NAIA team Madonna (6-4) 47 at Toledo.
Akron (3-2) 80, Winthrop (1-8) 59 at Winthrop.
Ohio (6-0) 64, Duquesne (4-5) 46 at Ohio.
Indiana State (4-4) 62, Miami (2-5) 54 at Miami.
Western Michigan (5-2) 65, Loyola of Chicago (0-7) 53 at Western.
Records are as of the game played.
MAC standings and some team statistics