Photo: University of Akron
REDHAWKS LOSE: This one was hard to take because SU really did play well in the tournament. But in a flash, the Zips used a 10-0 run to win 85-74 before 270 people at Connolly Center. The culprit was a lack of rebounding by the Redhawks. They had just five defensive boards after the break compared to 12 in the first half. SU was outrebounded 45-39 overall. It also didn’t help that SU was slightly off offensively (36.4 percent). The Redhawks did take better care of the ball, committing just 11 turnovers and scoring 17 off 19 miscues by the Zips. Still, it was the run where Ruper blocked a shot by Butler, scored a three-pointer and grabbed a defensive board to bury SU. Akron (3-3) becomes the second team from Ohio to win the Turkey Jam, joining Bowling Green of last season. Ruper, who finished with 15 points, was named tourney MVP. Tecca led her team with 16 points against SU. Sowell and Rhea led four SU players to finish in double figures with 15 points apiece. The Redhawks (2-4) host Long Beach State next on Friday at Connolly Center.
SLIGHT LEAD: Missed FTs and a turnover have allowed Akron to take a 69-64 lead with 6:11 remaining in the game. SU seems gassed on defense and isn’t getting the stops it did earlier. The Zips used a spurt like this late against Loyola of Chicago to advance to the title game. If SU doesn’t get a grip quick, it’ll lose the same way.
TRY AGAIN: Bonvicini called a quick timeout and I’m guessing the talk began with rebounding as the Redhawks allowed the Zips four offensive boards before King scored to tie the game at 57 points all. There’s 10:10 left in the game.
TOO CLOSE: Rhea nailed a three-pointer to make the score 57-55, but neither team has taken control of the game. There’s 11:38 on the clock.
HALFTIME: SU got a little lost in some matchups and made some bad decisions late to fall behind 43-42 at the break. The Zips are shooting a comfortable 50 percent from the field and limiting the Redhawks’ second-shot chances to redeem 38.5 percent shooting from the field. Butler is a spark, finishing with eight points and two steals in the opening half. Ward still leads with 11. Zips post Ti’eshia Stubbs leads her team with 10 points off the bench. SU has scored 14 points off 11 Akron miscues. But the Zips are moving the ball better, getting 11 assists on 15 made FGs. This one could easily go into overtime as both teams are energetic and fighting hard for the title. There have already been 11 lead changes and four ties in the game.
GO SPEED RACER: A fast-paced game is underway at Connolly Center. The score is tied at 36 points apiece with SU starting to force some turnovers and get some shots to drop. The Redhawks are outscoring the Zips 20-14 in the paint. Junior Amani Butler drove the length of the floor for a layin to put SU up 38-36 with 3:02 on the clock. Ward leads all scorers with 11 points and six boards.
BACK AGAIN: SU went on a 9-2 run to build a 19-16 lead after a nice feed from Ward to reserve Brenda Adhiambo. Ward is helping the Redhawks muscle for boards and nailed a three-pointer during the spurt to get her team in the game.
BUILT TOUGH: SU commented after the Washington loss that it wasn’t ready for the physical nature. Well, that experience should have prepared it for Akron. The Zips are strong, physical players and Ruper is deadly with the three-pointer. SU is going to have to get more aggressive and wake up on defense to get control of this game. The Redhawks are down 16-10 with 12:23 remaining in the half.
EARLY LEAD: The shooting isn’t as hot as Friday. The Redhawks are 3-for-8 from the field. But a dish from Kerfoot to Rhea for a three-pointer has given the home team a 7-6 lead with 15:59 remaining in the opening half. The Zips are 2-for-4 from the field, both buckets being made treys.
LINEUP CHANGE: SU coach Joan Bonvicini altered her lineup, putting senior Maggie McCarthy in ahead of sophomore Sylvia Shephard. McCarthy played well off the bench, shooting 33.3 percent from the field in an average of 11.6 minutes.
KANGAROOS BETTER: It’s a long story about where the “Zips” name originated. Something about the factories in Akron where they made the rubber shoe in the 1900s called Zippers. But the mascot is a kangaroo. Wild. I like the Zips name, which brought a few chuckles from the stands behind press row.
ROBBED?: USF coach Jennifer Azzi wanted a no-call and probably should have got it as her team was tied with Loyola at 63 points apiece with 0.5 seconds left in the game. But after a discussion on a foul underneath the hoop, the officials stuck with the call to send F Troy Hambric to the line to win it. An 87.5 percent FT shooter, Hambric made both for a 65-63 win. The Ramblers (4-2) placed third in the tourney. Reserve Lauren Hibbard led with 13 points and teammate, F Simone Law, led Loyola with 11 rebounds. G Rheina Ale led the Dons (1-6) with 14 points.
It’s Day 2 of Seattle University’s Thanksgiving Tournament and there’s another good precursor before SU headlines against Akron on Saturday. San Francisco is up 53-50 against Loyola of Chicago for the third-place title at Connolly Center.
The Redhawks (2-3) will play for its first championship in its own tourney after handing USF a 74-56 loss on Friday. Last year SU finished second to an impressive Bowling Green team that found its way into national rankings.
Rebounding and taking care of the ball are constant themes this season for Seattle U. and it’s not any different for the tournament. Akron (2-3) can play a messy game, forcing 25 miscues while allowing 21.8 — a scene SU is best not trying to win.
SU was hot from three-point range in order to advance, led by senior G Elle Kerfoot. She’s still recovering from an illness, we’ll see if the extra rest keeps her shooting touch hot.
About 370 people attended the first games on Friday. The Washington-Washington State Apple Cup is downtown at CenturyLink Field and may have attracted a few fans on Saturday. Still, a good crowd is making its way into the center for the action.
Let’s get you ready with the starting lineups:
F Jasmine Mushington
F Rachel Tecca
C Carly Young
G Natasha Williams
G Taylor Ruper
F Talisa Rhea
F Ashley Ward
C Kacie Sowell
G Elle Kerfoot
G Maggie McCarthy
Tonight’s officials are Lolly Saenz, Karen Lasuik, and Ashley Gilpin.