Women’s basketball to host NIT game tonight

The University of Akron women’s basketball team will host its first-ever postseason game in the history of the program at the James A. Rhodes Arena. The Zips will battle the Bucknell Bison tonight at 7 p.m. in a Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) first round matchup.

The Zips (19-13) will be making their sixth appearance in a postseason game and are still looking for their first victory. Akron was invited to the tournament as an at-large team to join 63 other teams looking for the title.

The Bison (24-7) were the regular-season champions of the Patriot League, posting a 17-1 record within the conference, but were defeated by Loyola (Md.) in the semi-finals of the league tournament.

Akron and Bucknell have met four times in the past. The Bison won three of the four games. The last meeting was during the 1994-95 season with the Zips taking a 55-52 decision.

“I am so very happy to qualify for WNIT,” Akron Head Coach Jodi Kest commented. “I’m proud of our coaches and players. I’m really happy for our three seniors who have accomplished so much in their four years at Akron.”

Akron is making its fourth appearance in the WNIT and third under Kest. Last year, the Zips suffered an 86-68 loss at the hands of Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas in the first round.

Other appearances in the WNIT were against Duquesne (71-66 loss) in 2013 and Michigan State (76-65 loss) in 1999.

The Zips made their debut in the NCAA Tournament back in 2014 after capturing the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland. Akron fell to Purdue in the first round 84-55 that year.

In 2010, Akron qualified for the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI), but were defeated by Wichita State, 67-61.

The Zips are led by Anita Brown’s 22.1 points per game, Hannah Plybon’s 16.3 points, and DiAndra Gibson’s 10.4 points.