Akron edged by Ball State

The University of Akron women’s basketball team dropped a tough decision on the road against the Ball State Cardinals, 78-71, in Muncie, Indiana Wednesday evening.

Anita Brown led Akron (11-10, 5-5 MAC) with 19 points and eight assists on a night where four Zips hit for double digits. DiAndra Gibson chipped in 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Greta Burry added 13 tallies and six boards, while Hannah Plybon had 11 points.

The game started off with a fast-paced first period. Hannah Plybon and DiAndra Gibson poured in eight points apiece and Anita Brown added six more as the two teams battled to a 24-24 deadlock.

The pace slowed a bit in the second stanza as Megan Sefcik started it off for the Zips with a three-pointer to give Akron a 27-24 advantage. The Zips would hang onto that advantage until the Cardinals’ (15-5, 7-2) Fannie Frazier made a layup at the 4:18 mark of the quarter to give the Cardinals a 33-32 lead.

The Zips closed the half strong with Sefcik and Brown each hitting long distance bombs. Lilli Piper nailed a layup 33 seconds before the half while the defense held Ball State to a free throw and led 40-34 at the break.

Ball State stormed out of the locker room and ran off eight consecutive points to begin the third quarter before Akron Coach Jodi Kest called a timeout with the Cardinals leading 42-40 with eight minutes left in the stanza.

Coming off of the time out, Greta Burry was able to score a basket to knot the game at 42. The rest of the quarter was a back and forth affair until the Cardinals put together a 7-4 run in the last 2:18 to take a 59-55 lead into the final frame.

Gibson started the fourth with a 3-pointer to get the Zips to within a point at 59-58. She followed that up with a pair from the charity stripe and Akron still trailed 61-60 with 8:44 to play.

The next four minutes both teams struggled to find ways to score. With a media timeout with 4:48 remaining in the game, Ball State clung to a 65-63 lead.

Burry was able to take a pass from Brown right after the timeout and convert on a layup to tie the score at 65.

Ball State’s Jill Morrison canned a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals a 68-65 lead and their defense never allowed the Zips to get closer than one point. Another Burry layup made the score 71-70 Ball State, but the Zips were not able to score the rest of the way except for a free throw by Burry with six seconds remaining. The Cardinals hit their free throws to end it.