The last time Akron and Toledo met on the hardwood, the Zips jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, winning 82-62. Thursday afternoon these schools met up again, this time with a trip to the MAC Women's Basketball Semifinals on the line, and it went almost exactly as it did back in January, with Akron steamrolling Toledo 83-69.
Last time out it was the All-MAC duo of Rachel Tecca and Hanna Luburgh that stomped out Toledo, this time out it was all Luburgh, who finished with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-22 from the field. The senior guard burst out early in the first, draining a trio of 3-pointers by the midway point and giving the Zips a commanding early lead. Her hot-streak continued through the first half, with her knocking down five consecutive 3-pointers and finishing the half with 26 of Akron's 58 points. She cooled down significantly in the second but the damage was already done.
Seriously, Luburgh was unstoppable in the first half, and even with a poor second half, was still owner of one of the best performances of this tournament.
Toledo's woes started early. Eight minutes in the Rockets trailed by 10 and were shooting just 28 percent. Things only got worse from there. With the Zips pressing hard, UT couldn't get an easy shot off. The Rockets routinely had to fight for poor positioned jumpers and highly-contested layups, and they weren't falling. The Rockets shot just 39 percent in the half, and 33 percent for the game.
UT's woes continued early in the second half as Luburgh cooled off and the rest of the Zips kept up their output. By the midway point of the half Akron still led by 70, despite struggling from the field and slowing down the tempo.
The Rockets fortunes seemed to take a turn later in the second-half, and at one point had the Zips' lead down to as low as 11. But in the final minutes, with UT fouling, the Zips drained a handful of free throws to ice the win.
Akron moves on to the semifinals now to face No. 2 CMU, which recently found out its star player, Crystal Bradford, will miss the tournament.