Women's Basketball travels to Tennessee Tech for first road test of the season
Akron (1-0) at Tennessee Tech (1-0)
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 • 8:00 p.m. ET
Eblen Center (9,280)
Webcast/Live Statistics: Available at GoZips.com – live statistics free of charge.
Radio: SportsRadio 1350 AM (WARF) in Akron (flagship), for free at SportsRadio1350.com and on iHeartRadio. Bill Morgan will have the call beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET.
Akron Coach Jodi Kest (Slippery Rock, 1984): Kest is in her seventh season at Akron, posting a 75-110 (.405) mark. She is 301-263 (.534) in 20+ seasons as a collegiate head coach. Kest was named the 2010 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, and has guided the Zips to Cleveland for the conference tournament for the past three consecutive seasons.
Tennessee Tech Coach Jim Davis (Tennessee Wesleyan, 1970): Coaching veteran Davis is in his first year at Tennessee Tech. He holds 501 career victories in 25 seasons as a collegiate coach, and is most famous for his 18-year tenure at Clemson that spanned the 1990's. Davis has also coached professionally as part of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx staff.
The Series: Akron is 0-8 all time against Tennessee Tech. All eight meetings took place between 1983-87 when UA was a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Akron Takes First Road Test This Week
The University of Akron women's basketball team plays its first game away from Rhodes Arena this season at Tennessee Tech on Tuesday.
• The Zips cruised to an 83-24 win over Hiram in their season opener last Saturday at Rhodes Arena. The game signified the largest margin of victory at home (59 points) for Akron in the team's 39-year history.
• Hiram's 24 points are just the second fewest Akron has allowed an opponent in the history of the program.
• Forward Rachel Tecca needs just eight points to reach 1,000 for her career.
• UA has not faced Tennessee Tech since the 1986-87 season. The Zips played Tech eight times in a four year span when Akron was a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, and went 0-8 during that time.
• Akron returns six letterwinners that played quality minutes last season from a team that finished 14-18 overall and 7-9 in MAC play, en route to their third consecutive trip to Cleveland for the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The sixth-seeded Zips bowed out of the tournament in the second round with a one-point loss to No. 7 Northern Illinois, 61-60.
• Tecca, a two-time All-MAC selection, was named to the Preseason All-MAC squad for the second straight year. The Zips were picked to finish third in the East behind Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green, which received 16 and 13 first place votes, respectively.
• Head Coach Jodi Kest, now in her seventh season at the helm of the program, needs just five wins to become the winningest coach in Akron women's basketball history. She has amassed 301 wins over 20+ seasons as a head coach. At Akron, Kest has posted a 75-110 record (.405).
• Akron's 2012-13 schedule features contests with nine different opponents that played in postseason tournaments last year.
A Look at Tennessee Tech
The Golden Eagles were recently picked to finish first in the East Division of the Ohio Valley Conference, and received 15 first-place votes as the overall league favorite. This is the first season that the OVC has split into the East and West divisions.
Tech returns four of its starters from a team that finished .500 last year at 17-17, and second in the OVC with an 11-5 mark.
Leading the pack of returners is senior guard and Preseason All-OVC selection Jala Harris. Harris averaged 15.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 2.6 apg as a junior. Molly Heady is Tech's body underneath, coming off of a 4.6 rpg and 8.2 ppg campaign.
TTU enters Tuesday's contest with UA fresh from an 86-47 victory over Tennessee Wesleyan in its home opener last Saturday.
Last Time Against Tennessee Tech
The last time Akron went up against Tennessee Tech, none of the players on either roster were born. The two teams met eight times when they were members of the same conference between 1983 and 1987, and the last clash happened Feb. 9, 1987 in Cookeville. TTU came away with the win, 78-57.
Hiram at Akron Recap
Akron xhandled Hiram in its home opener, 83-24 on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Rhodes Arena. Sina King led all scorers with 15 points in just 16 minutes of action, fueled by 4-of-6 shooting from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
Hanna Luburgh and Rachel Tecca joined King in double figure scoring, putting up 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Akron had no trouble opening the game on a 23-0 run and riding the lead through to the end, winning the battle of the boards 64-35. Katie Nunan paced the newcomers off the bench, dropping eight points and leading the team with nine rebounds.
Hiram was led by Christy Griffin's eight points.
Magic Number Eight
After Saturday's game against Hiram, Rachel Tecca has tallied 992 career points through 73 games. She needs just eight points on Tuesday to surpass 1,000 for her career. As a sophomore in 2010-11 she scored 475 points, the fifth most in a season in program history.
Akron will be looking to prove history wrong Tuesday in its first road contest of the season. The Zips hold a 6-32 record all time in the first game of the season played away from home.
Senior guard Taylor Ruper netted 89 3-pointers last season, topping her previous mark for the second most in a season in program history, and bringing her career total to 184. Ruper is now Akron's all-time leading 3-point shooter with one season left to play, surpassing Michelle Chavanne who made 183 3-pointers from 1993-97.
Junior point guard Kacie Cassell is expected to quickly climb the ranks of Akron's career assist leaders this season. She now needs just 12 crack the top-10.
Rachel Tecca is also likely to move into the top 10 in career rebounds this season, as she has recorded 564 so far and only needs 40 to claim 10th place on the all-time list. She already holds the record for the third most rebounds in a season in program history, when she pulled down 288 in 2010-11.
For the second consecutive season, the Zips were picked third in the MAC East Division behind Miami (Ohio) and last year's regular season champion, Bowling Green. Last season, Akron finished third in the East and sixth in the conference overall with a 7-9 record. Sina King earned All-MAC Second Team honors and Taylor Ruper received Honorable Mention.
Also for the second straight year, Rachel Tecca was one of five players in each division selected to the Preseason All-MAC team. An All-MAC selection in each of her two full seasons at Akron, Tecca was averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 2011-12 before her season was cut short due to injury.
Kest Reaches 300 Wins
Head Coach Jodi Kest picked up win No. 300 of her 20 year career as a collegiate head coach when the Zips defeated Buffalo for the third time last season in the opening round of the MAC Tournament. She now needs just five more victories to become the winningest coach in Akron women's basketball history.
Bridging the Gap
Akron fields a unique roster this year with six experienced upperclassmen and pool of six newcomers that includes five freshmen. Coach Kest has maintained that the team will only be as good as the freshmen are able to play, as a big key to the Zips' success this year will be finding a balance between the abilities of the returners and newcomers.
Tecca and the 2013 WNBA Mock Draft
Rachel Tecca was projected to be selected 27th overall in the 2013 WNBA Mock Draft recently released by DraftSite.com. Tecca was anticipated to be taken with the third pick in the third round by the Tulsa Shock. She was one of just two MAC players to be included in the mock draft, along with Miami (Ohio) guard Courtney Osborn who was slated to be selected right before Tecca with the 26th overall pick. In addition to Tecca, the Shock was predicted to take Delaware's Elena Delle Donne as well as Brittany Chambers out of Kansas State.
The 2011-12 team was the most prolific scoring team in Akron women's basketball history, amassing 2,361 total points and averaging 73.8 per game. The season marked the first time in 13 years that the Zips averaged over 70 points per game.
Zips Go Costal
The University of Akron women's basketball team started 2012-13 off with a foreign tour to Costa Rica. The team spent eight days touring the country and participating in teambuilding activities like ziplining and white water rafting. They also hosted a youth basketball clinic and played two games against the Costa Rican national team. The NCAA allows a program to participate in an international trip once every four years should they choose to do so, and grants the team an additional 10 offseason practice days in preparation.
Akron finished last season at or near the top of several big statistical categories in the Mid-American Conference. The Zips' 73.8 points per game ranked first in scoring offense among all MAC teams. UA also led the league in 3-pointers made (7.0) and assists (15.3). The team was second in the conference in free throw percentage (.740), field goal percentage (.421) and 3-point percentage (.344). Individually, Taylor Ruper finished second in 3-pointers made, averaging 2.8, and Sina King was 10th in scoring with 12.4 points per game.
2011-12 Postseason Recap
Akron finished third in the East and earned the No. 6 seed in the MAC Tournament. No. 11 Buffalo came to the JAR for a first round match-up, and the Zips defeated the Bulls for the second straight game and the third time that season, 96-82.
Advancing to Cleveland for the third consecutive season, UA went on to face seventh-seeded Northern Illinois in the second round at Quicken Loans Arena. The Zips dropped a close contest to NIU, losing by one, 61-60.
Sina King (Second Team) and Taylor Ruper (Honorable Mention) picked up All-MAC accolades for their performances over the course of the 2011-12 season. King and Ruper were also named to the All-MAC Academic squad for their work in the classroom.