The University of Akron women’s basketball team survived a slow start to beat Malone University, 63-52, on Saturday afternoon in Akron.
Once again, Hannah Plybon led the Zips in scoring with 20 points. It wasn’t easy for her, however, as she made just four of her 12 shots, including just one of four from deep. But she did have a ton of success from the foul line, making all 11 free throw attempts. Plybon also had three rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, and only two turnovers.
Alli Ball was another Zip that played well against Malone, as she scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Shaunay Edmonds also played well in her first career game. The freshman scored 10 points to go along with three steals, two rebounds, and two blocks. Edmonds was also perfect from the line, going 4-4. Megan Sefcik added nine points off three 3-pointers off the bench.
The Pioneers were led by Baylen Dyrlund, who scored 20 points with a game-high 13 rebounds. Hannah McCue scored 13 points with nine rebounds and a game-high four blocks. Finally, Rachel Goddard added eight points and eight rebounds and Chrissie Vaughan had six points off two 3-pointers.
The Zips were given a scare early when they trailed 17-9 after one quarter of play. The Zips fought back, though, with a 10-2 run during the second quarter jumpstarted by five Plybon points. Akron went into halftime trailing 26-23.
It was a defensive struggle in the early moments of the third quarter. Neither team scored in the first three minutes and 12 seconds — then an Edmonds layup broke the lull. Ball would then heat up for UA, scoring the next 11 of Zips’ points to end the third quarter with a 36-34 Zips lead.
Malone would tie the game in the fourth quarter, and with 3:19 left in regulation the Zips led by only three points. Plybon took over from there, scoring eight of her 20 points in the last three minutes, including six free throws.
The statline for each team was very similar with both teams finishing nearly identical in rebounds, assists, turnovers, and field goal percentage. The Zips free throw prowess (18-23) is ultimately what separated the two teams.
The Zips will now get their biggest test of the season on Wednesday when they travel to University Park, Pennsylvania to play the Penn State Nittany Lions. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.