Tested team starts anew

“The Mid-American Conference was not kind to the University of Akron women’s basketball team last season. The Zips were 3-13 in conference play, placing them last in the MAC standings. Head coach Jodi Kest sees only improvement for her team in the 2007-2008 season.”

The Mid-American Conference was not kind to the University of Akron women’s basketball team last season.

The Zips were 3-13 in conference play, placing them last in the MAC standings.

Head coach Jodi Kest sees only improvement for her team in the 2007-2008 season.

Last year we were in last and we can only go up, the second-year head coach said. Our goals this year are to win more games than we won last year and to do better in the conference tournament.

Last season the Zips doubled their number of wins from the 2005-2006 season with a record of 10-19 during Kest’s first year as coach.

The team returns eight letter-winners, including Sarah Tokodi, an All-MAC Freshman team selection last season.

The 5-foot-9 sophomore averaged 12.6 points-per-game and 3.9 assists-per-game while playing in all of the team’s 29 games.

Kest said Tokodi will be in the team’s main role.

Your point guard has to be a leader, she said. They run the show, and she does a very good job both on and off the court.

The coaches have asked Tokodi to take on a more vocal leadership role this season, a task Kest said the point guard has done while elevating her play this season.

So far this year, her play has been solid, Kest said.

Tokodi was named to the All-MAC preseason team last month.

The Zips have only three freshman on their squad: Keyla Snowden, Amanda Sedlack and Kara Murphy.

Last season, the Zips were a youthful squad and inexperienced. The team returns this season with a much more experienced team.

One part of the team’s leadership role for 2007 will not be on the court for the Zips.

Senior forward Jessica Deville will be sidelined until January with a leg injury.

She’s been great for the players in games and in practice, keeping up their spirits, Kest said. She’s a very positive young lady and even though she’s not on the court physically with us right now she’s out there spiritually.

Deville, a three-year letter winner, had a career-high game to end the regular season last year, scoring 21 points with four 3-pointers.

It’s great to have a senior leadership like Deville because you’re always as good as your leaders are, Kest said.

The Zips were picked to finish sixth in the MAC East this year, with OU as the front-runner.

Home games faired much better than away games for the Zips in 2006. The team was 7-8 at home and 3-13 away from James A. Rhodes Arena.