The University of Akron women’s basketball team doesn’t appear to be getting wrapped in the hype of playing in their first NCAA Tournament.
After winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament last week, seniors Rachel Tecca, Hanna Luburgh and Kacie Cassell were asked why they took a chance on playing for the Zips. The simple answer: bigger colleges passed them over. They were asked if this is a chance for them to prove themselves and did it offer more motivation in taking on a Big Ten opponent such as Purdue.
“I mean, I think we all want to prove ourselves. So I think that we are just going to go out there and play our game,” Luburgh said. “I'm not really focused on whether they recruited me or not because I'm happy with where I'm at with Akron. So we just want to go out and represent the university the best way we can.”
Her teammates agreed.
Coach Jodi Kest was asked if there was an opponent who she could compare to the Zips opponent Saturday, the Purdue Boilermakers. She answered: the Dayton Flyers.
“Dayton was a very big team and they like to score in transition. And you look at Purdue; they score so many different ways n transition and half court set,” she said. “They don't set as many ball screens as Dayton does but size-wise I would rank them as close.”
The Zips got an official endorsement from Pres. Barack Obama, who picked them to beat Purdue, which would be considered an upset.
“I love it,” Cassell said. “Thanks, Obama. That's awesome.”
His confidence only went so far, however. He had them losing in their second game.