Women's basketball splits preseason WNIT at home

The University of Akron Zips women’s basketball team competed in the WNIT consolation bracket over the weekend at James A. Rhodes arena, beating the Howard Bison (0-3) 63-64 in their first home game Friday night but falling to Drexel in the championship game 60-67.

Akron, who entered the early season playoff after losing to No. 2 ranked Notre Dame, cruised to a big advantage early in the game against the Bison. Leading at one point 12-1, Akron fought hard and showed no hangover from the previous lost.

The Bison did not let the early deficit defeat them.

With close to two minutes to play, the Zips held a 28-22 lead. A three-pointer pushed their lead further, but a harsh Bison defense allowed two easy fast break buckets and a third that was converted into an old fashion three-point play, which brought Howard back 31-29. Howard shut out the Zips for the remainder of the half, going into the locker room with a 36-31 lead.

Akron Head Coach Jodie Kest was unable to properly prepare her team at half, and the Bison roared ahead to a double-digit lead early in the second. But that did not unmotivate Kest and her team.

Akron, led by junior forward Rachel Tecca, rallied from behind and caught the Bison late in the second with about two minutes left. Sophomore Hanna Luburgh knocked down two threes, while Rachel Tecca scored two of her 17 total points to take the lead 60-62.

The Bison were able to fight back, tying the game again at 62-62. Tecca again came up with a big play, converting a layoff for Akron to regain the lead. Howard, not finished, got the ball in play and was fouled with just a second and a half remaining on the clock. The shooter was unable, however, to make both of her free throws, all but ending the game with Akron winning 63-64

In the championship game Saturday night, Akron again, stormed out to an early lead. Facing the then 1-1 Drexel Dragons, sophomore three-point sniper Taylor Ruper hit her first three from beyond the arc, landing her team a 9-5 lead. Akron continued to roll, and entered halftime with a 24-19 lead.

Akron, allowing Drexel many free throws attempts, found themselves behind 33-32 in the second half with about 13 minutes to play. Akron fought back to exchange leads with Drexel for most of the half, but it was Drexel who finally was able to run away with the game, 60-67.

With the loss, Akron fell one game behind .500 and finished 1-2 in the WNIT tournament.

Akron will take on St. Francis tonight at 7 p.m. at James A. Rhodes Arena. The event is free to students with a valid Zip Card.

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