The Akron Zips women's basketball team won Thursday night with defense in the second half.
"As a coaching staff we decided to change it up a little bit and we became a bit more aggressive." Akron head coach Jodi Kest said about her team's defensive mentality at the end of their 68-63 victory over Bowling Green.
It was her program's third win against the Bowling Green Falcons in almost thirty five years, and the first in almost 12 years.
The Zips forced the Falcons to eat up much of their shot clock, and in the waning seconds haul up bad shots that had little to no chance of scoring. At times it seemed that Bowling Green was confused as to how to break the Zips pressure.
Bowling Green's freshman guard Bailey Cairnduff did a good job weaving her way into the paint and knocking down a couple fade aways that Akron had little chance of defending. However, the team from Northwest Ohio could not rely on that type of scoring to keep them in the game.
And though this game will be remembered for its last ten minutes, the entire contest was a battle.
While the Zips led most of the back half of the second, Bowling Green maintained a lead for most of the game. BG came out and created a 10-2 advantage for themselves, however it was their own defensive tactics that caused the Zips to slow down their offense instead of speed it up--something that had caused the Zips to become disoriented and led to turnovers.
"I thought BG did a great job of controlling the tempo..." Said Kest "...and I also think that we did a pretty good job of our half court execution."
Kest knew that she had to find ways to get the ball to Hanna Luburgh. Luburgh scored 25 points and picked up 15 rebounds in rout to her first double-double in her Akron career.
"We wanted to make sure to draw plays to get Hanna Luburgh involved. She had the hot hand so you have give it to her sometimes." Kest admitted after the game.
Luburgh scored eleven points in the last ten minutes of the game, and was a big factor in the win.
Akron left the door open multiple times however at the free throw line. Rachel Tecca had four opportunities to really seal the deal at the end of the game, but failed to do so from the line. This allowed Bowling Green to hit a three and foul that cut their deficit to one possession. Regardless, Tecca stepped to the line again and this time knocked down both of her freebies to crush any hopes that the BG faithful had.
Bowling Green will go back home to next play Central Michigan Saturday. Akron stays home and will host Buffalo.