Women’s basketball falls late vs. Akron

By Frank Gogola

Akron used a 7-0 run in the final 18 seconds to come back and beat women’s basketball after the teams fought back and forth in the second half.

The Huskies fell to the Zips, 71-67, Wednesday at the Convocation Center. They led by as many as 13 points, 40-27, in the second half, but the Zips used runs of 11-0, 7-0 and 7-0 to down NIU.

With 18 seconds left and the Huskies up 67-64, Hanna Luburgh raised up for a 3-pointer and the refs called a foul on Amanda Corral away from the ball. The refs counted the basket, and then Carly Young hit both free throws to complete a rare five-point play.

Corral said the foul call surprised her, especially since the foul was called in the middle of a group of four or five players.

“She said I pushed her, but, I don’t know, I was trying to get through the screen in my opinion,” Corral said. “She said I pushed her, and she said the play was happening at the same time, but I don’t think I pushed her. Yeah, I didn’t think it was [a foul].”

Akron’s Rachel Tecca hit a pair of free throws in between NIU turnovers to seal the victory.

“The five-point play hurt us,” head coach Kathi Bennett said. “But we still had crucial turnovers when it counted. [If] we take care of the ball, that doesn’t happen.”

The Huskies had their opportunities to score in the second half. They committed 19 turnovers, including 13 in the second half, with too many errant and lazy passes.

“We beat ourselves,” Bennett said. “It’s hard to take when you play that well against a very good team. You want to make them beat you, and we didn’t. We turned the ball over, especially the last three minutes, and lazy passes and just our turnovers killed us. It’s a shame because I know that’s not done on purpose, but that’s what beat us.”

Akron put up 20 points in the first 9:06 of the second half after being held to 20 points in the entire first half. They finished with 51 second-half points.

“We pretty much did the same thing [offensively in the second half],” said Akron head coach Jodi Kest. “We tried to get our post player out and then in, but we made shots. In the first half, we weren’t making those same shots.”

The Huskies held the Zips scoreless on 0-5 shooting in the final 3:23 of the first half. They used a 10-0 run to stretch their lead to 31-20 at the intermission.

“When we got stops … it allowed us to run transition on deep rebounds, so it was huge,” Bennett said. “That was what sparked us, and that’s what we didn’t get in the second half. We didn’t get stops.”

Jenna Thorp finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Corral and Jazmine Harris added 12 points each, and Danny Pulliam scored 11.

Luburgh, Young and Tecca combined for 59 of Akron’s 71 points.