Broncos Outlast Zips in Wednesday’s Home Loss

Akron Zips, 51 – Western Michigan Broncos, 59

No. 5, Haliegh Reinoehl and No. 24, Caitlin Vari box out for a potential rebound on a free throw from No. 32, Destiny Perkins.

By A.J. Fagerlin, Sports Contributor

Despite holding a 26-24 lead at the half, the Akron Zips women’s basketball squad was unable to hold off Western Michigan, with 11 second-half turnovers leading to a 59-51 defeat at James A. Rhodes Arena on Wednesday.

After struggling early and beginning the game in a 16-9 hole, the Zips began to heat up late in the first quarter and into the second period. Akron went on an 11-2 run, fueled by five consecutive points from sophomore guard Alyssa Clay and two early-quarter steals by freshman guard Destiny Perkins. Perkins led all scorers with 15 points and Clay added 10 points of her own.

The Zips managed to outshoot the Broncos in the first half, going 9-for-20 from the field and 3-for-5 from the three-point line. Western Michigan made just two first-half free throws, and all four of Perkins’ four steals on the game came in the first two periods, powering the Zips to their 26-24 advantage at the break.

In the second half, the Zips’ miscues began to pile up and came back to bite them, forcing them to play catch-up for the majority of the fourth quarter. As Akron continued to turn the ball over, the Broncos began to capitalize more and more in the second half, scoring 15 points off of 22 total Zips turnovers.

Western Michigan owned the boards throughout the matchup, particularly on the offensive end. The Broncos totaled 42 rebounds (14 offensive) to Akron’s 34 (6 offensive). Sophomore forward Haliegh Reinoehl was seemingly the Zips only force on the glass, totaling eight rebounds to go along with her 10 points. No other Akron player managed more than half of Reinoehl’s rebound total for the game. The domination inside led to a clear scoring advantage for the Broncos, as they put up 34 points in the paint with the Zips scoring just 16.

The Zips began the fourth quarter with an 8:30 scoring drought from the field, converting just two free throws in the span and allowing the Broncos to run their two-point lead to 13. Trailing 53-40 late in the final quarter, Akron tried to capitalize on missed Western Michigan foul shots but ultimately could not overcome the deficit, falling by the final score of 59-51.

Akron (6-13, 0-8 MAC) will get another crack at Western Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Kalamazoo. In the meantime, the Zips will host cross-town rival Kent State in part one of the Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center Wagon Wheel Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 27 at James A. Rhodes Arena with tip-off set to take place at 2 p.m. Students are admitted free with their Zip Card, and the game can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on WARF-AM.