Fighting uphill all day, the University of Akron women's basketball team finally ran out of time.

The Zips never led and repeated comeback efforts fell short against visiting Miami University in a 67-61 Mid-American Conference loss at Rhodes Arena on Saturday.

With the win, the talented and experienced RedHawks (19-4, 10-2) remained atop the MAC's East Division with the league's best overall record, despite the best efforts of the Zips (14-9, 5-7), who are fifth in the division.

"Obviously a disappointing loss for us," UA coach Melissa Jackson said. "But really proud of our fight. Miami's a really good team. They're first in our league for a reason."

Down just two (32-30) at the half, the Zips were held to six points in the third quarter, none in the last 5:51, and trailed 47-36 entering the fourth.

And that proved too much to overcome for the Zips, clad in bright pink uniforms with white trim for Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Caitlin Vari led the Zips with 14 points, but the 6-foot-1 junior from Revere High was limited by foul trouble and sat out much of the second half after picking up her fourth personal.

Megan Sefcik, a 5-10 senior, and 6-1 junior Haliegh Reinoehl each had 12 points. Reinoehl grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

Sefcik, with a team-leading 16.9 points per game, also played all 40 minutes for the first time this season.

"They're a tough team," Sefcik said. "But that just goes to show we can play with anyone in the MAC. Against the No. 1-ranked team in the league, we took them down to the wire."

Strong shooting in the final quarter helped the Zips stay close. They made 9-of-16 shots from the floor — including 3-of-5 from long range — and cut the deficit to five twice in the final minute.

Three free throws by Alyssa Clay made it a four-point game (65-61) but with only six seconds left. And two free throws by Miami's Lauren Dickerson closed it out.

Dickerson, a 5-3 junior point guard and an All-MAC selection last season, led the RedHawks with 15 points.

"I'm very proud of our defensive effort," Jackson said. "They're a handful. Lauren Dickerson's one of the best guards in our league. I thought we did a great job on her, getting her in early foul trouble.

"We threw a lot of people at her, but we didn't come out with a win, and that's the most important thing."

Miami's Savannah Kluesner, a 6-2 junior, scored 13 points and 5-6 senior Leah Purvis added 10.

The RedHawks' disruptive defense caused 17 turnovers by the Zips. But UA's Shayna Harmon, a 5-9 junior, helped steady the offense and contributed a game-high six assists.

"We're competing for a lot of different things here," Jackson said. "There's a lot to play for, and we knew this was a big game. We wanted to win obviously, but I'm happy with our effort."