No. 6 seed Toledo fell victim to a hot-shooting Akron team, losing to the Zips, 83-69, in quarterfinal action of the Mid-American Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena Thursday afternoon.
Akron shot 31 of 66 from the field, including a sizzling 21 of 36 (58.3 percent) and 7 of 11 (63.6 percent) from three-point range in the first half. Hanna Lubergh scored 25 of her game-high 31 points in the opening 20 minutes when the Zips led at the break, 57-37.
“That was one of the best offensive performances by a player in a half that we’ve seen in a long time,” said UT Head Coach Tricia Cullop. “Their whole team was hitting shots in the first half. That took a lot out of us. But we didn’t hang our heads. We kept fighting in the second half.”
Toledo, which converted 22 of 65 (33.8 percent) from the field, was led by junior Inma Zanogeura’s 12 points and six rebounds. Senior Andola Dortch added 10 points, five rebounds, seven assists and five steals in what may have been her final game as a Rocket.
UT stayed with the Zips early on, trailing by just one, 10-9, after Zanogeura knocked down a three-pointer with 15:54 to play in half. But from there on in, it was all Akron, as the Zips went on a 16-5 run that gave them a big lead they never relinquished. Lubergh had 12 points and one assist during the run.
Akron extended the lead to 22 points, 48-26, on a three-point play from Anita Brown with four minutes left in the opening period. Toledo trimmed the lead to 18, but Lubergh hit a jumper with six seconds left to give the Zips a 57-37 halftime edge.
Toledo trimmed the lead to 67-50 with 12:51 left on a layup by Dortch. Akron pushed the lead back up to 21 points moments later before the Rockets made their final push. Briana Jones hit a pair of layups in a Rocket run that cut the lead to 73-61 with 6:27 left.
But the Zips answered the call as Carly Young’s three-pointer with 5:04 left put Akron up, 78-61, and the Rockets could get no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.