Jodi Kest is in the midst of her 9th year at the helm of the Akron Zips women's basketball program. There is no question that her nine years have changed the entire culture of the program. Before Kest came to Akron in the 2006-2007 season, It had been six seasons since the program was able to muster a ten win season. She got to the rare double digit win column in her first year, and the Zips have never looked back.
In the years prior to Kest being at Akron, it wasn't uncommon for the Zips to win less than five or six games. Just four seasons before Kest, Akron won two (2) games and there was no hope whatsoever that the Zips would ever be a winning team.
Fast-forward to the 2012-2013 MAC championship game. Somehow, the Zips flew under the radar and made it to the MAC final. Somehow, the Zips were able to evade a match up with nationally ranked Toledo. That didn't matter in the end, though, as Crystal Bradford led Central Michigan to a blow out of the Zips. So close.
Then we move forward to the 2013-2014 season. The Zips started winning even more games, and they were winning big. The fast break offense was led by senior point guard Kacie Cassell and senior forward Rachel Tecca. The team scored 82 points per game and handled 23 of their opponents. That list includes a 79-68 victory in the MAC title game over Ball State. I was standing in the stands at the final buzzer and during the trophy presentation in shock. The Akron Zips women's basketball team made it to the NCAA tournament. Just six short years prior, many doubted that would ever happen.
If you have made it through that little history lesson, I'd like to start telling you about this season. The Zips are 7-0 as they begin finals week. Their closest victory came at home by nine points in a 10:30AM match up with Northern Iowa.
The first two wins of the season came against Binghamton and Northern Kentucky by finals of 80-49 and 82-49 respectively.The Zips have scored 100 points just once so far in a 100-65 trouncing of Valparaiso. Last season, the Zips scored over 100 points three times, including a 118-71 rout of Tennessee Tech.
The only time that the Zips have scored fewer than 80 this season was a 73-58 beat down of Belmont in the Denver Thanksgiving tournament. The other game in that tournament was a 90-74 stomping of Siena to clinch the tournament title.
If you haven't picked up the trend yet, I'll sum it up for you. The Zips can score, and they score a lot. You can tell that they score a lot just by looking at the statistics around the 85.1 points per game mark.
Just take that number out of your head for a moment as I run off some other stats:
Field goal percentage: 45.5
3-pt. percentage: 34
Free throw percentage: 70.6
Rebounds per game: 46.7
Off. Rebounds per game: 15.4 (!!!)
Assists per game: 17.3
Okay, so after you see those stats, it's obvious that it is not a fluke that Jodi Kest's team scores well over 80 points per game. That is a tribute to the coaching staff and players because they are able to put out a nearly perfect product every night.
Akron is lead in scoring by junior guard Anita Brown with 21.9 points per game. She also averages 2 assists and 7 rebounds. It's a relief to everyone that the Zips were able to replace Kacie Cassell with another great guard after she graduated last year.
Another team leader is Sina King, who sat out last year due to blood clots. Sina is an extremely hard worker, and it shows on the court. She averages 20 points and 9 rebounds per game in nearly 28 minutes per game. She became well known to Akron fans after stepping up during Rachel Tecca, who averaged 22 points per game in her career, went down with a season-ending knee injury ten games into King's sophomore season.
The Akron Zips women's basketball team is in the midst of a ten day long span without games due to finals at the University of Akron. They will resume play on December 15 at Bethune-Cookman as part of a two-game Florida trip that will conclude at Central Florida on the 17th.
This could be a historical season for the program. So, if you have some down time and there are no sports on, check out GoZips.com to find out when you can stream a Zips women's game.