University of Akron women's basketball coach Jodi Kest entered this season with a goal to have more players consistently score points.
That objective was accomplished in the season opening game.
The host Zips utilized a pressure defense and a balanced offense to defeat Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 63-49 Friday afternoon at Rhodes Arena.
This is the second year in a row UA has started the season with a win at home.
UA never trailed and had four players score in double figures.
Junior Kara Murphy led the Zips with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in a game-high 38 minutes. Sophomores Jasmine Mushington (12 points) and Kyle Baumgartner (11 points, six rebounds) and senior Jolene Tamboue (10 points, seven rebounds) were also key contributors.
Murphy, a St. Vincent-St. Mary High School graduate, gave UA a 1-0 lead with a free throw 56 seconds into the game. The Zips built and maintained the lead the remainder of the game. The Zips led 36-22 at halftime and their largest lead was 52-32 following a 3-pointer by Murphy with 12:54 remaining in the second half.
IUPUI cut its deficit to 10 points at 55-45 with 6:11 left after two free throws from junior Jessica Huffman (14 points, six assists). Mushington countered with two layups to extend the lead.
IUPUI (0-1) committed 23 turnovers and UA (1-0) had 18. The Zips made 42.6 percent of their field goals (23-of-54) and the Jaguars converted 37.0 percent (20-of-54).
UA also held an advantage from the free throw line and from beyond the 3-point arc. The Zips made 12-of-19 free throws and 5-of-9 3-pointers.
Zips freshman Rachel Tecca and senior Ayla Guzzardo each contributed seven points in 30 minutes. Tecca, an Archbishop Hoban High School graduate, also had seven rebounds.
IUPUI freshman Clara Mitchell scored eight points and led all players with nine rebounds.
- Murphy was presented a basketball before the game in recognition of surpassing 1,000 career points last season. She is the youngest player in program history to score 1,000 points and also set UA's single-season scoring record (580 points) a season ago. Murphy has 1,043 career points in 62 collegiate games.
- UA has opened 2008 and 2009 with wins. The last time the Zips have won their first game in consecutive seasons was 1995 and 1996.
“I was happy with the win. It wasn't pretty at times, but anytime you open the season with a win at home your happy. Our defense was solid. We only gave up 49 points.”
“I will take today, because we had four players in double figures. For us to be successful, we need three or four players to consistently score in double figures.”
“I thought Jasmine Mushington played an outstanding game for us defensively and offensively gave us a big spark.”
“Rachel Tecca struggled a little bit offensively today, but she will get better. There will be a learning curve for her throughout the year. She gave us a lot of energy.”
“Our kids worked hard the whole game and had fun out there.”
“I think we are going to learn a lot from this from watching it on video to get ready for our next game against St. Bonaventure.”
“Everyone has really stepped there game up. We have some good shooters and players that can make some post moves. We're balanced.”
“It was definitely a first game. We had our up's and down's, but a win is a win. We have some things that we need to work on-communication is a huge one. We just had some memory lapses. We have a lot of new players working in and we had some players in foul trouble. We will get better.”