Updated Sat, Feb 22, 2014 8:03 pm
It was another day at the office for the Mid-American Conference’s highest-scoring offense. Akron, led by the conference’s second-highest scorer Hannah Luburgh, created open looks from all over the floor and sliced through Ohio’s man defense.
Luburgh led all scorers with 32 points en route to an 88-76 win over Ohio.
Akron’s 1-3-1 zone also contained many holes, allowing the ‘Cats to go on a 17-5 run and shrink a 19-point second half deficit down to a five-point margin. Kiyanna Black recorded 26 points on 9 of 21 shooting, her second consecutive performance of 20-plus points.
Black’s 26 points led the ‘Cats and contributed to Ohio’s highest point total of its 10-game losing streak.
Ohio’s late surge proved to be too little, too late as Akron sunk the majority of its free throws down the stretch. The Zips had a solid day from the charity stripe, shooting 29 of 36 from the line.
“I don’t know that we executed things any better in the final six minutes than we did the first 34 minutes except that the ball went in the basket in a little more,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon sad.
Boldon scanned through the final stats after the game and cited a lack of offensive efficiency as the primary reason for the loss. The first-year coach approved of his team attempting 18 more field goals than Akron, 76-58, but was disappointed that his team only connected on three more attempts, 29-26.
The more efficient Zips took advantage of sluggish rotations from Ohio’s defense, tossing accurate passes and consistently moving without the ball. Quick movement created mismatches and forced Ohio guards to defend near the basket. Akron’s speed contributed to its 44.8 percent shooting performance from the field and a 7 of 18 total from downtown.
“I didn’t think it was a lack of effort, I just think that it was a lack of skill,” Boldon said.
Fouling also continued to be an issue for the ‘Cats with 25 personal fouls, just above their season average of 22.
The bright spot for Ohio’s defense came with the containment of forward Rachel Tecca, the conference’s leading scorer. The senior only registered 12 points, a poor performance compared to her 23.9 points per game average.
Though Tecca was limited offensively, Akron had five players score in double digits, three of whom scored above their season averages of 8.9 or below.
37 days and counting since Ohio last won a contest, but Boldon noted that improving during a losing streak is a much more attainable task than doing so during times of success.
The ‘Cats have five more days to improve before welcoming Buffalo on Thursday. Ohio lost to the Bulls 55-43 two weeks ago at Alumni Arena.