Zips Get First Look at Buffalo

Zips Get First Look at Buffalo

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AKRON AT BUFFALO GAME NOTES - 2/18/17 (PDF)

Akron (9-15, 2-11 MAC) at Buffalo (17-7, 7-6 MAC)
Saturday, Feb. 18
Alumni Arena (15,750)
Buffalo, N.Y. • 1 p.m.

Live Stats: www.ubbulls.com
Webstream: www.ubbulls.com
Radio: SportsRadio 1350 AM (WARF) in Akron (flagship), for free at SportsRadio1350.com and on iHeartRadio. Bill Morgan will have the call beginning with the pre-game show at 12:45 p.m.
Television: ESPN3/Watch ESPN

WHAT'S AHEAD
Akron gets its first look at Buffalo this season as the Zips travel to Buffalo, N.Y., for a showdown with the Bulls on Saturday, Feb. 18. Game time at Alumni Arena is set for 1 p.m.

A LOOK AT BUFFALO
Buffalo has alternated wins and losses in each of its last seven games following a 56-52 triumph at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Senior JoAnna Smith is the lone Bulls' player averaging in double figures as she averages a team-best 16.4 points a night. Freshman Summer Hemphill paces Buffalo in rebounding pulling down a team-high 7.3 rebounds per tilt. The Bulls are recording 67.4 points per contest and have connected on more than 39 percent (.393) of its attempts from the field and at a 28.4-percent clip from beyond the arc.

As a unit, the Bulls are ranked 13th in the NCAA in offensive rebounding (16.0), 29th in rebounding (42.46) and 35th in rebounding margin (6.6) and three-point defense (.280).

SERIES HISTORY
Akron will be meeting Buffalo for the 45th time in program history with series all square at 22 wins apiece. The Zips swept the regular season series from the Bulls during the 2015-16 campaign before falling, 88-87, in the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals.

THE COACHES
Buffalo: Felisha Legette-Jack is in her fifth season leading the Bulls' program owning a 85-67 (.559) record and maintains a 226-230 (.496) overall ledger in 15 seasons as a head coach.

Akron: In her 11th year on the Akron sidelines as head coach, is Jodi Kest, who has a 170-168 mark (.503), including 396-321 (.552) overall, in her 25th year as a head coach.

IN OUR LAST MEETING
Buffalo def. Akron, 88-87 (March 11, 2016)
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Four Akron players scored in double figures, but the Zips fell in a heartbreaking 88-87 decision against Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.

The outcome of the contest came down to the final minute as the two teams combined to score 15 points over the final 60 seconds.

Trailing 80-72 with 1:17 remaining in regulation, Lilli Piper connected of her career-high fourth triple of the afternoon to inch the Zips to within five, 80-75.

Following a pair of Buffalo made free throws stretched the margin to 82-75, Anita Brown drained a three pointer at the 1:02 mark.

Ayoleka Sodade pushed the Bulls' lead back to six, 84-78, with two made free throws with 54 seconds left.

Akron kept firing back as Hannah Plybon's (Orrville, Ohio) sixth three pointer of the game left the Zips down by three, 84-81, with 48 seconds left in the game.

The Bulls were able to come up with an offensive rebound on the next possession that led to a lay-up by Mariah Suchan with 20 seconds on the clock.

Brown hurried down the court to shoot a three ball and drew a foul that resulted in three good attempts and brought Akron back within two, 86-84, with seven seconds to play.

Sodade was fouled immediately and missed both free throw attempts. Unfortunately for Akron, the Zips were unable to snatch the rebound as Sodade corralled the offensive carom and found a stick-back bucket plus drew a foul with five seconds to go, to go up 88-84.

Sodade missed the free throw and Piper pulled down the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Megan Barilla, who found Plybon open for her seventh and final triple of the afternoon as time expired.

Akron shot 44.1 percent (30-for-68) from the field in the affair, including making a school-record 15 three pointers. Buffalo proved to be nearly as effective from the field shooting a very similar 43.7 percent (31-for-71).

Brown and Plybon added 22 points apiece, while DiAndra Gibson rounded out the double digit scoring with 13 points.

The Bulls had five players score in double digits led by Joanna Smith's 18 points. Buffalo controlled the battle of the boards with a 51-37 edge. Akron held a 15-2 advantage in fast-break points, along with a slim 13-10 authority in points off turnovers.

ZIPS FALLS 61-57 AGAINST TOLEDO
Akron showed a determined effort, but in the end suffered a 61-57 setback to Toledo on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at James A. Rhodes Arena.

The contest served as the Zips' Play 4Kay game to help raise awareness of breast cancer and the Kay Yow Foundation in the memory of the late North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow.

The Rockets outscored the Zips, 40-24, in the paint on the evening and outrebounded Akron, 44-34, including pulling down 12 offensive rebounds.

Hannah Plybon led the way for Akron with a team-high 18 points. Senior Alex Ricketts (Mercer, Pa.) chipped in 11 points, while redshirt sophomore Megan Sefcik (Austintown, Ohio) added 10 points. Plybon connected on a trio of three-pointers.

Freshman Shaunay Edmonds (Pittsburgh, Pa.) equaled a career-high mark for assists dishing out a game-best seven assists.

Kaayla McIntyre paced the Rockets with a 20-point and seven-rebound performance. Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott added 19 points and pulled down a game-high nine boards.

For the contest, the Zips connected on 34.8 percent (23-of-66) of their attempts from the field and converted 83.3 percent (5-of-6) from the charity stripe. Toledo hit 37.7 percent (23-of-61) of its shots from the field and delivered on 76.5 percent (13-of-17) of their free-throw attempts.

The Zips outscored the Rockets' bench by 17 points, but failed to overcome turning the ball over 18 times on the offensive end, which resulted in 14 points for Toledo.

AKRON FALLS 72-58 IN CRYSTAL CLINIC WAGON WHEEL SHOWDOWN VERSUS KENT STATE
A 20-0 second-quarter run proved too much for Akron to overcome as the Zips suffered a 72-58 setback to their rival Kent State on Feb. 11, at James A. Rhodes Arena.

Hannah Plybon directed Akron with a game-high 24 points, including making five three pointers. No other Zip was able to crack the double-digit scoring plateau. McKenna Stephens, Jordan Korinek and Larissa Lurken registered 20, 17 and 14 points, respectively, for the Golden Flashes.

Akron finished the contest shooting 34.4 percent from the field and at a 28-percent clip beyond the arc. Kent State elevated for a 48.3 percent shooting effort, while making 6-of-18 three pointers (33.3 percent).

The Zips posted a 40-38 margin in rebounding, including a 14-8 advantage on the offensive glass.

PLYBON AMONG THE NCAA'S ELITE
One of the most dynamic players in women's collegiate basketball, Hannah Plybon enters play this Saturday, Feb. 18, versus Buffalo highly ranked among the active women's basketball players in Division 1 in several categories. Plybon is currently ranked second, fourth, fifth, 16th, 32nd and 39th, respectively, among active career leaders in three pointers attempted (883), triples attempted per game (7.30), triples made (304), three pointers made per contest (2.51), field goals attempted (1,393) and points (1,599). Across all divisions of women's basketball, Plybon is rated fourth in three pointers attempted, seventh in three pointers made and eighth in triples taken per game.

PLYBON CLIMBING CAREER MAC THREE-POINT LADDER
Hannah Plybon enters play against Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 18, ranked fourth all-time in Mid-American Conference women's basketball history in three pointers made (304). She trails only Kiyanna Black (Ohio, 2013-16), Audrey McDonald (Ball State, 2006-10) and Lauren Prochaska (Bowling Green, 2007-11) on the MAC's career leader board. The trio recorded 329, 323 and 310 triples, respectively, during their collegiate careers.

ZIPS' FRESHMEN DUO SHINING
The evolution in the development of freshmen Shaunay Edmonds and Haliegh Reinoehl has been impressive for the Zips this season.

Given the keys to the proverbial car as a rookie, Edmonds has started all 24 contests for Akron leading the squad in assists (89) and steals (47), while ranking fourth in scoring (7.3) and fifth in blocked shots (6). In league play, those numbers jumps as Edmonds directs the Zips in assists (53) and steals (27), while rating third in scoring (8.3) and fourth in blocks (3). She has scored seven or more points in seven conference tilts, including surpassing double digits three times. On the season, she has led the Zips in assists 16 times and in scoring on three occasions.

Reinoehl has played in 23 of 24 contests for Akron as a freshman, including making 10 starts and has responded averaging 3.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Her 4.7 rebound average is ranked third on the squad, while also rating second in offensive rebounds (35), third in overall rebounds (109), defensive caroms (74) and in blocked shots (11). In conference-only games, Reinoehl averages 5.1 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game. She has scored five or more points in six contests, including a career-best 13 points in a victory at Northern Illinois, while pulling down five or more rebounds on nine occasions. Reinoehl has paced Akron in rebounding a team-high nine times.

NEWS, NOTES AND STORYLINES
Hannah Plybon became Akron's all-time leader in three pointers when she connected on her second of three triples at Western Michigan on Dec. 31. She surpassed Taylor Ruper's (2009-13) school-record 269 three pointers made and enters play versus Buffalo with 304 career three pointers. A year ago, Plybon connected on a school-record 104 three pointers during the 2015-16 campaign.
• Akron's game versus Ball State on Feb. 1 marked the first time this season in which both Hannah Plybon and Megan Sefcik, the Zips' leading three-point shooters, did not connect on a triple.
Hannah Plybon is averaging a team-best 17.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in seven career contests against Buffalo, while Greta Burry (Lakewood, Ohio) averages 3.3 points against the Bulls.
Hannah Plybon has scored in double figures of six of seven career contests versus Buffalo, including surpassing 20 points in four of the last five games.
• The Zips are 6-1 in their last seven contests at Alumni Arena.
• Over the Zips' last five contests, Hannah Plybon and Shaunay Edmonds are averaging 13.0 and 9.6 points, respectively. Edmonds owns team-best marks 22 assists, while Brittany Gordon (South Charleston, W. Va.) and Plybon have each distributed nine assists. Plybon and Sefcik have combined to connect on 20 three pointers.
• Akron's five non-conference victories away from James A. Rhodes Arena this season are tied for the most for the Zips in a single-season in non-conference play since the team began Mid-American Conference competition during the 1992-93 campaign. The 2012-13 and 1998-99 squads also matched the mark.
Megan Sefcik has emerged for the Zips this season averaging 2.21 three pointers and 9.1 points per game. Sefcik has already surpassed career single-season totals in field goals, triples and free throws made/attempted, defensive rebounds, total rebounds and assists.
• Since the start of the 2011-12 campaign, the Zips have won nearly 69 percent (.686) of their games at James A. Rhodes Arena, having posted a 59-27 ledger.
• Akron has recorded at least one block in 55 of its last 57 games since the start of the 2015-16 campaign, including in all but one contest this season.
• Following their 76-74 victory over Youngstown State on Dec. 6, the Zips have won five consecutive games played in overtime, including a 4-0 record last season.
• Led by 9.2 points per tilt from Megan Sefcik, Akron is averaging 18.7 points per contest off the bench. The Zips' reserves are shooting 36.5 percent from the field and at a 31.5-percent clip from beyond the arc. Brittany Gordon has registered 62 assists.
• Akron's tilt at Eastern Kentucky marked the 700th game in the head coaching career of Jodi Kest.
• The Zips' victory over Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 10 marked the 350th since Akron transitioned to NCAA Division I prior to the 1983-84 campaign.
• When Hannah Plybon surpasses 20 points in a contest Akron has posted an 18-7 record.
• Akron enters its contest versus Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 18, having won 66 of its last 106 games dating back to the 2013-14 campaign.
Hannah Plybon came into the 2016-17 campaign as the Zips' active leader in career scoring. She will enter Akron's game with Buffalo having amassed 1,599 points and has connected on 37.4 percent of her shots from the field and at a 34.4-percent clip from beyond the arc.
Hannah Plybon is ranked sixth in career scoring at Akron with 1,599 career points. She is 36 points shy of surpassing former teammate Hanna Luburgh (1,634) for fifth all-time in the Zips' record book.
Greta Burry is shooting 52.4 percent from the field for her career having made 175 of her 334 shots.
• The Zips have won 19 or more games in each of the last four seasons.

AKRON NOTES
Hannah Plybon is ranked third, sixth, ninth, ninth, ninth and ninth, respectively, all-time at Akron in career field goals attempted (1,393), scoring (1,599), free throws attempted (341), field goals made (521), free throws made (253) and in games played (121).
Hannah Plybon enters play versus Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 18, rated sixth on the Akron single-season record book in triples attempted (209) and eighth in three pointers made (69).
Shaunay Edmonds has registered three or more assists in 17 games, while posting three or more steals in eight contests.
Shaunay Edmonds and Brittany Gordon have combined to distribute 81 of Akron's 166 assists in league play this season.
Haliegh Reinoehl (Westfield, Ind.), Greta Burry and Hannah Plybon have led the Zips through 13 conference tilts in rebounding pulling down 6.2, 4.9 and 4.5 rebounds per outing, respectively.
Hannah Plybon, Megan Sefcik and Alex Ricketts have connected on 36, 24 and 14 three pointers, respectively, in league play.
• Two Zips are shooting 50 percent or better from the field through 13 MAC contests. Greta Burry and Caitlin Vari (Richfield, Ohio) are connecting at 55.1-percent (27-49) and 51.9- (14-27) clips.
Alex Ricketts has made 43.8 (14-32) percent of her shots beyond the arc in conference play.
• A pair of Zips equaled or established new career-high marks versus Toledo on Feb. 11.
Megan Sefcik has recorded 61 rebounds this season and 76 for her career, and it was not until her 45th career game (Jan. 21 vs. Western Michigan) that she pulled down her first-ever rebound as a Zip on the offensive glass.
Hannah Plybon pulled down double-figure rebounds in back-to-back contests for the first time in her career corralling 11 rebounds against Ohio, while recording 12 rebounds against Bowling Green.
• Senior Hannah Plybon bas selected by the Mid-American Conference as the MAC East Division Women's Basketball Player of the Week on three occasions this season. The conference awards are the second, third and fourth in Plybon's career. She was previous named MAC East Player of the Week this season on Dec. 27, Dec. 20 and Nov. 22, respectively.
Hannah Plybon and Megan Sefcik have recorded 69 and 53 triples, respectively, this season.
Greta Burry leads all Akron players in rebounding having pulled down a team-best 128 caroms this season, while Hannah Plybon, Haliegh Reinoehl, Alex Ricketts, Caitlin Vari and Alli Ball (St. Louis, Mo.) have each recorded 118, 109, 93, 88 and 77 rebounds, respectively.
Megan Sefcik registered career-high marks in scoring (20) and three pointers (6) in Akron's 78-66 victory over Georgia State.
Greta Burry pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds for Akron in the Zips' 69-52 win over Ohio Christian.
Shaunay Edmonds distributed a career-best seven assists versus Duquesne, while Caitlin Vari poured in career-high marks in scoring (6).
• The Zips committed a season-low eight turnovers versus Duquesne.
Alex Ricketts registered her second career double-double with a 20-point, 10-rebound effort to spark Akron to a 76-64 overtime triumph at Youngstown State on Dec. 6. In her first career start at Western Michigan on Feb. 13, 2016, she poured in a 12-point, 12-rebound performance.
Greta Burry is the Zips' active leader in double-doubles having posted five in her Zips' career. Her double-doubles came at Florida Atlantic (14 points/12 rebounds - 11/13/15), at Eastern Michigan (17 points/10 rebounds - Jan. 6, 2016), at Bowling Green (17 points/11 rebounds - Jan. 20, 2016), versus Ohio Christian (15 points/13 rebounds - Dec. 28, 2016) and at Northern Illinois (11 points/11 rebounds - Jan. 18, 2017).
• While Burry owns a team-best five double-doubles, Akron has also benefited from three, two and one, respectively, from Hannah Plybon (18 points/11 rebounds at Youngstown State - Dec. 6, 2016; 27 points/10 rebounds vs. Elon - Dec. 21, 2016; 19 points/11 rebounds vs. Ohio - Jan. 11, 2017), Alex Ricketts and Alli Ball (13 points/11 rebounds at Florida Atlantic - Nov. 13, 2015).
• Seven players in Hannah Plybon (20), Alex Ricketts (14), Megan Sefcik (11), Greta Burry (6), Shaunay Edmonds (6), Alli Ball (2) and Haliegh Reinoehl (3) have scored in double figures for the Zips this season.
• Twelve Zips have established career-high marks in scoring this season including; Hannah Plybon (39 at Canisius), Alex Ricketts (22 vs. Eastern Michigan), Megan Sefcik (20 at Georgia State), Shaunay Edmonds (17 vs. Ball State), Alli Ball (15 vs. Malone), Haliegh Reinoehl (13 at Northern Illinois), Shayna Harmon (Ashville, Ohio) (9 at Central Michigan), Brittany Gordon (6 at Penn State), Caitlin Vari (6 vs. Duquesne/at Bowling Green), Brooke Kurucz (Parkersburg, W. Va.) (5 at Winthrop), Fredniqua Walker (Cleveland, Ohio) (4 at Winthrop) and Alyssa Clay (Indianapolis, Ind.) (3 vs. Ohio Christian/at Central Michigan).
Hannah Plybon is averaging a team-best 8.6 points in the first half of games this season, while Greta Burry is shooting 54.9 percent (28-51) in the initial 20 minutes of the Zips' 24 tilts on the campaign.
• In the second half of games this season, Hannah Plybon leads the offensive efforts for Akron averaging 8.8 points. As a team, the Zips are shooting 41.7 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes in their 24 contests this season. Additionally, Brittany Gordon owns a better than 2-1 assist-turnover ratio.
Hannah Plybon poured in a career-best 39 points at Canisius on Nov. 20 and owns 25 career 20-point performances.
• The Zips have won 39 of their last 55 games at the James A. Rhodes Arena.
• Since 2010, Akron has surpassed the 100-point plateau in scoring on nine occasions, including versus Valparaiso and Toledo during the 2014-15 campaign. The Zips' record all-time when scoring 100 or more is 11-0.
• The Zips made their fifth postseason appearance in the past seven years last season, advancing to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The Zips ended their postseason run with an 74-70 loss against Bucknell.
• Jodi Kest, now in her 11th season at the helm of the program, has collected the most wins of any Akron women's basketball head coach in the history of the program.

AKRON 'Z' FUND TO HOST AWAY GAME PARTY FOR KENT STATE SHOWDOWN
Akron Athletics and the Z-Fund are hosting an Away Game Party prior to the Akron women's basketball game at Kent State on Feb. 25.

Join fellow Zips fans for lunch at Ray's Place in Kent, Ohio, and bring your Akron Blue and Gold spirit as we display our support for the Zips when they tip off against the Golden Flashes at 2 p.m.

Lunch at Ray's will begin at 12:30 p.m. and costs $20 per person (includes game ticket) for those who RSVP online at GoZips.com. Anyone who already has a ticket to the game can join the Away Game Party for a reduced price of $15 (lunch only).

AKRON'S HOME ESPN3 BASKETBALL BROADCASTS
Zips Athletics has announced its ESPN3 basketball broadcasting schedule in partnership with the Mid-American Conference and ESPN.

Beginning on Jan. 3, with its men's basketball game against Bowling Green, Akron launched its first high-definition ESPN3 broadcast of the basketball season. All of the Zips' remaining home women's basketball tilts will be broadcast.

Under the guidance of producer Mike Bacon and Classic Television Productions, the Zips' broadcasts will feature television veteran Michael Reghi on play-by-play and Jacki Windon on color commentary

Three-time Emmy Award winner Reghi, a familiar face on MAC television broadcasts, has provided play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is also a primary announcer for football and basketball games on the MAC Television Network and Sports Time Ohio.

Windon, who works for the Ohio High School Athletic Association, has extensive television commentary experience on Fox Sports Ohio and Time Warner Cable broadcasts. The former head women's basketball coach at Case Western Reserve also worked for Zips Athletics for three seasons, including two seasons with the women's basketball team.

The ESPN3 broadcasts are FREE to fans online at www.GoZips.com who have a WatchESPN affiliated TV or Internet provider.

NCAA RANKINGS
• The Zips enter play versus Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 18, 48th in the NCAA in triples made per game (7.5), while also rating 49th in three pointers attempted (565) and 56th in triples made (181).
• Individually, Hannah Plybon is 14th in the country in three pointers attempted (209), 29th in three pointers per game (2.88), 36th in triples made (69), 63rd in field goals attempted (363) and 72nd in scoring (17.4).

A LOOK AT THE 2016-17 ZIPS
Headlining the Zips' lineup this season will be senior Hannah Plybon, who earned second-team All-Mid-American Conference accolades last year averaging 16.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest. She registered a school-record 104 three-pointers en route to scoring in double figures in 27 games, including recording 20 or more points in 11 tilts.

Junior Greta Burry and senior Alex Ricketts also played significant roles in Akron's success a year ago.

Ricketts, along with Plybon and graduate transfer Brittany Gordon comprise Akron's senior class for the 2016-17 campaign.

Burry appeared in 33 games, including 32 starts for the Zips a season ago, averaging 7.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.7 assists per contest. She ranked sixth in the MAC in field goal percentage (.522) and shot a team-best 52.2 percent from the field, while leading Akron in offensive rebounds (78).

Ricketts played in all 33 contests for the Zips during the 2015-16 campaign, including making a pair of starts, en route to averaging 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

The Zips are also expecting solid contributions from its junior class of Alli Ball, Lauren Hung (Waterford, Mich.) and Kaitlyn Flowers (Lompoc, Calif.), along with redshirt sophomore Megan Sefcik and sophomore Fredniqua Walker.

Ball played in 30 contests last season averaging 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore, while Hung appeared in 23 games registering 3.0 points per tilt and Flowers earned playing time in five games.

Averaging 2.3 points per contest in 27 games was Sefcik, while Walker returns after appearing in five games for the Zips as a freshman.

The experience of Akron's upperclassmen will be key to the Zips, as Kest and her staff have added to the mix a talented core of six true freshmen this season. The first-year players include; Alyssa Clay, Shaunay Edmonds, Shayna Harmon, Haliegh Reinoehl, Caitlin Vari and Brooke Kurucz.

PRESEASON PROJECTIONS
Akron senior Hannah Plybon was named to the Preseason All-Mid-American Conference East team in a preseason poll of 12 conference coaches, the league office announced Oct. 27.

The Zips were picked to finish third as a team in the MAC East Division behind Ohio (69 points) and 2015-16 MAC Tournament Champion Buffalo (60 points). Following Akron (48 points) was Bowling Green (30 points), Miami (27 points) and Kent State (18 points).

In the MAC West, Central Michigan (72 points) received all 12 first-place votes and was named the favorite to win the division. Ball State (53 points) and Toledo (53 points) were pegged to finish second and were followed by Western Michigan (34 points), Northern Illinois (25 points) and Eastern Michigan (15 points).

Also voted on by the coaches was the predicted 2017 MAC Regular Season Champion. Central Michigan received six of the 12 first-place votes, while Ohio (five) and Buffalo (one) collected the remaining championships tallies.

In a tabulation of the MAC Championship winner, Central Michigan was selected as the favorite earning seven first-place tallies. The Chippewas were followed again by Ohio with four votes, while Buffalo rounded out the poll with the final tally.

PLYBON IN AKRON'S 1,000-POINT CLUB
With her second of two free throws with 46 seconds remaining in Akron's 77-65 victory past Miami on Feb. 6, 2016, Hannah Plybon joined the 1,000-point club at Akron. Plybon will enter the Buffalo contest with 1,599 career points.

ZIPS INK FOUR FOR 2017 RECRUITING CLASS
The University of Akron women's basketball team, under the leadership of 11th-year head coach Jodi Kest, has announced the addition of four student-athletes joining the Zips' squad for the 2017-18 campaign.

Donning the Akron uniform next season will be Kynnedy Azubike (Columbus, Ohio/Africentric), Taylor Gregory (Mt. Vernon, Ohio/Mt. Vernon), Sarah Leyendecker (Lawrenceburg, Ind./Mother of Mercy (Ohio)), and Destiny Perkins (McCordsville, Ind./Lawrence North), who have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Zips' program for the 2017-18 campaign.

A 6-0 guard from Africentric High School in Columbus, Ohio, Azubike averaged 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals per contest as a junior en route to earning All-City accolades. She helped her squad capture a state title in Division III in 2016.

A 6-2 forward from Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Gregory registered 14.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals per contest as a junior en route to earning first-team all-conference honors.

A 6-4 forward/center from Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Leyendecker averaged 8.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a junior en route to earning second-team all-conference recognition.

A 5-4 point guard from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Ind., Perkins recorded 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals per contest as a junior en route to earning honorable mention all-state accolades. She is the No. 23 rated point guard according to 2017 ESPN HoopGurlz.

AKRON IN CLOSE GAMES
Akron has been involved in 65 games decided by five points or fewer under head coach Jodi Kest. A breakdown of those matches is as follows; one-point difference (9-9), two-point difference (12-4), three-point difference (4-5), four-point difference (4-9) and five-point difference (2-7).

ZIPS' OFFENSIVE PROGRESS REPORT
In Akron's 24 games this season, this is how the Zips has fared from the field: 50 percent: .559 (Eastern Michigan), 40 percent: .484 (Winthrop), .476 (Ohio Christian), .448 (Penn State), .434 (Canisius), .433 (Ball State-1), .432 (Northern Illinois), .421 (Georgia State), 30 percent: .389 (Ball State-2), .389 (Eastern Kentucky), .386 (Central Michigan), .382 (Western Michigan-1), .368 (Ohio-1), .367 (Youngstown State), .356 (Elon), .348 (Toledo), .345 (Western Michigan-2), .345 (Malone), .344 (Kent State-1), .338 (Bowling Green-1), .328 (Bowling Green-2), .302 (Bucknell), 20 percent: .294 (Duquesne), .286 (Miami-1).

AKRON'S DEFENSIVE PROGRESS REPORT
In the Zips' 24 games this season, this is how Akron's opponents have fared from the field: 50 percent: .524 (Ball State-2), .508 (Ball State-1), .508 (Central Michigan), 40 percent: .483 (Kent State-1), .459 (Western Michigan-2), .448 (Bowling Green-2), .443 (Ohio-1), .432 (Penn State), .424 (Youngstown State), .414 (Georgia State), .413 (Winthrop), .400 (Bucknell), 30 percent: .397 (Western Michigan-1), .385 (Canisius), .377 (Toledo), .364 (Elon), .382 (Duquesne), .344 (Eastern Michigan), .333 (Northern Illinois), .333 (Eastern Kentucky), .328 (Bowling Green-1), .317 (Miami-1), .317 (Malone), 20 percent: .278 (Ohio Christian).

ZIPS LIVE RADIO SHOW
Every Monday throughout the season from 7-8 p.m. ET, Akron head coaches can be heard on the weekly radio program Zips Live, presented by Lee Hyder and Associates. The show airs locally on 1350 AM (WARF) and originates from the Spaghetti Warehouse (510 S. Main Street). A free audio stream is available on www.SportsRadio1350.com.

WHAT IS A ZIP?
• One of the unique nicknames in collegiate athletics belongs to The University of Akron.
• Originally Zippers, athletic director Kenneth "Red" Cochrane officially shortened the nickname to the Zips in 1950. Twenty-five years earlier a campus-wide contest had been conducted to choose a nickname for the University's athletics teams.
• Suggestions submitted by students, faculty, and alumni included Golden Blue Devils, Tip Toppers, Rubbernecks, Hillbillies, Kangaroos, and Cheveliers.
• The winner, freshman Margaret Hamlin, received a prize of $10 for Zippers, a $6 pair of rubber overshoes and a brand name of the BF Goodrich Company.
• The evolution of Zippy, UA's mascot, began 40 years ago when the student council decided the University needed a mascot.
• "Zippy" the kangaroo was officially declared the school's mascot on May 1, 1953. The first known printed reference to the mascot as "Zippy" was a 1965 Zip football press brochure. The Buchtelite's first use of the name "Zippy" came Sept. 24, 1965, in an identification of a photo of the cheerleaders listing "Mascot - 'Zippy' - Charles Huettner."
• In 2007, Zippy was named the Capital One National Mascot of the Year.

UP NEXT
Akron returns to James A. Rhodes Arena for a 7 p.m. tilt versus Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 22.