KENT: The women’s basketball rivalry once owned by Kent State has now turned into recent dominance by the University of Akron.

That pattern continued at the M.A.C. Center Saturday afternoon as the Zips forged a big early lead and held off a third-quarter charge by the Golden Flashes for a 70-60 Mid-American Conference East Division victory.

It was the eighth consecutive win for the Zips (15-12, 9-7) in the series over the last four seasons, including a 78-66 home win Feb. 17. Prior to that, the Flashes (5-21, 2-14) had won 47-of-53 meetings against their archrival.

“Someone just told us our class is the only class that went 8-0 against Kent,” said senior Anita Brown. “So we’re pretty excited about that.”

The 5-foot-8 Brown sat out the last 6:50 of the second quarter with two fouls and scored just three points in the first half, but she made up for it after that. She finished with 16 points — 12 in the fourth quarter.

The Zips led 40-25 at halftime, but the Flashes scored the first nine points of the third quarter. They cut the deficit to as few as three (44-41) and trailed 49-44 heading to the fourth quarter.

“First half I struggled,” said Brown. “That’s a problem I’ve been having all season but my teammates ... they’re doing a great job. They shot the ball really well.

“Third quarter it continued so I knew I just had to pick it up on the defensive end, try to get some steals and tips. Just get the momentum going for my team and try to get a run going.”

Brown led the Zips with five steals and added six rebounds. Hannah Plybon, a 5-9 junior from Orrville, paced UA with 17 points — 14 in the first half — and also grabbed six rebounds. The Zips had 13 steals as Kent State committed 24 turnovers.

DiAndra Gibson, a 5-11 senior from Ravenna, scored 14 points, and 6-1 sophomore Greta Burry contributed 11 points. Burry scored eight of the Zips’ nine third-quarter points.

The Zips started the fourth quarter on a 14-4 run to make it 63-48. The Flashes never got closer than 10 after that.

“I’m happy to win,” said UA coach Jodi Kest. “It’s a rivalry game, got a point for the Wagon Wheel. It’s a conference game. That ultimately is the most important thing. I thought the kids came out hard early on. Created a lot of points off of defense. Had a tough third quarter.

“We also had four players in double figures. I thought the difference was we capitalized on their 24 turnovers with 30 points.”

The Zips pulled down 13 offensive rebounds and enjoyed a 35-28 advantage on the boards. On the negative side, they had 19 turnovers and made just 7-of-14 free throws.

Kent State’s Larissa Lurken, a 5-9 junior, led all scorers with 19 points. Jordan Korinek, a 6-2 sophomore and former St. Vincent-St. Mary standout, scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and had a game-high eight rebounds.

“Against a good team like Akron you can’t take warm-up reps,” said Kent State coach Danielle O’Banion. “First quarter we were having a difficult time identifying their scorers. I thought they did a good job of doing what they do. They pass the ball around and they get it to their best players. We allowed them to do that pretty comfortably.”