Shot fakes have helped MAC player of the week Lurken to a 22.2 point average

Kent State senior guard Larissa Lurken was named MAC East player of the week Tuesday.

It’s the second time this season she’s earned the award; she also won it once last season. She’s the only KSU player in the last six seasons to get it.

Lurken had 28 points and 10 rebounds in the Flashes’ 86-67 victory at Eastern Michigan Saturday. On Wednesday, she had 18 points and five steals in KSU’s 71-47 loss at Ball State. Lurken leads the MAC in scoring at 22.2 points per game, about eight points more than she averaged last season.

She and her teammates face Northern Illinois (10-4, 3-0 MAC) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the MAC Center. Last season Lurken scored 37 points in Kent State’s 95-85 win over Northern Illinois in Kent.

Lurken and coach Todd Starkey were interviewed on Facebook Live by the athletic department’s Dave Carducci Tuesday. Some highlights:

“Larissa’s best attribute as an offensive player is the shot fake,” Starkey said. “She can really shoot the basketball. And so the better shooter you are, the better shot fake you use. She’s gotten really good at making the fake, getting defense out of position, getting to the second level, drawing a secondary defender, then getting them into foul trouble.”

“I actually wasn’t used to driving before this season,” Lurken said. “One of the biggest thing I think of now is getting them into foul trouble, especially if they don’t play a lot of people, and really getting into their bench.”

Lurken has made 48 more free throws than anyone else in the MAC so far this season. Her 22 free throws in 25 attempts against Western Kentucky are both MAC records. She has made 111 of 139 free throw attempts (79.9 percent). Her attempts are the most in the country. Her made foul shots are second by three to Kelsey Plum of Washington, the nation’s leading scorer.

Starkey has pushed Lurken all season to be a more vocal leader on the team.

“Her voice gotten better and better,” the coach said. “She’s done a really good job in figuring out when’s the right time to say something and what’s the right thing to say at the moment.

“Her teammates have a great deal of respect for her. A lot of times if you have a player scoring a lot, they’re looked at as kind of selfish.

“Our team wants her to shoot the ball more. They get a great deal of confidence from that. Sometimes they spend a little bit too much time watching her instead of moving around her. That’s something we’re working on.”

Click on the photo for the full interview.


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