Senior guard Larissa Lurken (left) and junior forward Jordan Korinek.
Larissa Lurken and Jordan Korinek are Kent State’s fourth and fifth Academic All-Americans in women’s basketball.
Both were named to the Division I second team announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. KSU was the only team to have two players among the 15 named.
The all-Americans were chosen from among players named academic all-district last month. To be eligible, a player must have at least a 3.3 GPA and be a starter or key reserve on a team. Nominations are made by sports information personnel at NCAA institutions.
“It’s phenomenal that our two best players are also our two best students,” KSU coach Todd Starkey said on iHeart Radio’s weekly FlashTalk program Thursday. “If you look at the definition of a student athlete, Larissa Lurken and Jordan Korinek are it. It’s a blessing and an honor to be a part of a program with them.”
Lurken, a four-year starter at guard, is having one of the best seasons in Kent State basketball history. She leads the Mid-American Conference in scoring at 23.3 points per game. That’s sixth best in Division I and almost two points higher than any KSU women’s player has ever averaged before. She’s already set Kent State career records in three-point field goals made and attempted and season records in free throws made and attempted. She leads the nation in both free throw categories, and her numbers are MAC records, too.
Lurken is a senior nursing major with a 3.72 average. Among her coursework the last two years have been “clinicals,” in which she works a 12-hour day in an area hospital once a week.
Thursday she was at work at 6:30 a.m., four hours after a bus ride back to Kent with the team after the Flashes clinched the MAC East title at Miami University.
Lurken plans to become a nurse practitioner, a job that combines some of the duties of a doctor and a nurse. She is from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Korinek is a junior special education major with a perfect 4.0 average. She’s one of four all-Americans with 4.0 or better averages. (Some universities allow A+ grades, which can boost the GPA above “perfect.” Kent State does not.) Korinek is from Cuyahoga Falls and was a graduate of St. Vincent St. Mary’s High School.
She is Kent State’s second leading scorer at 15.7 points per game and leads the team in rebounding with a 6.6 average.
Both players became 1,000-point career scorers this season.
Kent State’s previous academic All-Americans were:
Lindsay Shearer, national academic player of the year in 2006, when she was also MAC player of the year. Shearer was second team all-American in 2005 and third team in 2004.
Kate Miller, a transfer who played just one season for the Flashes, a first team all-American in 2002.
Carrie Templin, a second-team selection in 1997 and 1998 and on the third team in 1996.
This year’s academic player of the year was Iowa senior Ally Disterhoft, who won the award for the second year in a row. She is an accounting and finance major with a 4.03 average and has scored more than 2,000 points in her career.
Other first-team members were from Duke, DePaul, New Mexico and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. No other player from a MAC school made any of the teams.
It’s unusual but not unprecedented for a team to have two academic all-Americans. Best I could tell from the sports information group’s website, 12 schools have done it since 2000.
DePaul had a second-team and a third-team member last season. Three schools — Harvard in 2004, Purdue in 2001 and Murray State in 2009 — have had two players on the first team.
Lurken and Korinek play the final home game of their at 2 p.m. Saturday against Buffalo at the M.A.C. Center. KSU opens MAC tournament play at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Wednesday.
Lurken biography from Kent State website.
Korinek biography from Kent State website.