The University of Akron women’s basketball game Tuesday morning ended the way that it began — early.
With the Zips trailing 8-7 at the 17:06 mark, they went on a 12-0 tear against Tennessee Tech before going on to win 118-71 in front of a rambunctious crowd that included students from local elementary schools.
The 118 points are a school record.
“I would have never thought yesterday that we would have won by 47 points,” UA coach Jodi Kest said. “I have a lot of respect for Tennessee Tech. They were picked to finish first in the Ohio Valley Conference.”
Guard Hanna Luburgh led the way for the Zips with 33 points and four rebounds. Forward Rachel Tecca (Archbishop Hoban) tossed in 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds and guard Anita Brown added a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for insurance.
The Zips smothered the Golden Eagles on both sides of the ball, connecting on 58 percent of their shots from the floor and limiting Tennessee Tech to 34 percent shooting. UA connected on 44 percent of its 3-point shots.
The Zips also dominated on the inside, scoring 42 points in the paint and holding the Golden Eagles to 26.
Kest’s offense wore the Golden Eagles down, and it showed as the game wore on, but they impressed just as much on defense, forcing 21 turnovers and scoring 26 points off of them.
The game revealed that the Zips could be a formidable presence in the Mid-American Conference and beyond this season. It’s not just about the extremely talented Tecca. They can attack in different ways — one of the notable ones being Luburgh, who will help make opponents’ game-planning against the Zips that much more difficult.
“It’s not just Hanna Luburgh but Hannah Plybon. She has no nerves and she’s playing extremely well, too,” Kest said. “They are going to double [Luburgh], so someone is going to be open.”
The win allowed Kest the luxury of getting to see what her bench players can do and coach them.
At one point in the second half, the Golden Eagles came up with a 10-0 run to cut a 50-point lead down to 40. Kest caused a timeout to encourage her bench players to win the game’s final minutes.
“They scored 10 points so you want to stop the momentum and these kids are having opportunities to play and they have to take advantage of it,” she said.
The Zips will spend the weekend in the Dayton area, where they have games against the nationally ranked Dayton Flyers on Friday and Wright State on Sunday. Those two games are part of a five-game stretch on the road.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.