Kent State wasn’t able to put up much of a fight at Rhodes Arena Sunday afternoon.
Judging by the 9-48 record in the series between the Akron Zips (11-4, 2-0) and Kent State Golden Flashes (2-13, 0-2) women’s team, it’s something that’s as rare as UA coach Jodi Kest not roaming the side court watching her players work.
But for a good portion of Sunday’s game, she was able to sit down while her team stepped up to deliver an impressive 93-58 win over their cross-county rivals.
Junior Sina King had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Taylor Ruper followed with 15 points and junior Hanna Luburgh scored 12 as UA dominated the game from start to finish,virtually putting it away in the first half.
The Zips opened with a 10-0 run as they concentrated on moving the ball around to get easy baskets.
That run, however, could not have come without a superb defensive effort as the Flashes missed their first six shots and hit just 28 percent in the first half.
This was domination, and there was little that Kent State coach Danielle O’Banion could do but sit and watch as the Flashes’ shots didn’t fall and the Zips dominated the boards.
“We got touches in the paint just like we wanted. They just didn’t go. More than anything else we had the opportunity to be competitive; the ball didn’t go through the net,” she said. “That had two adverse effects. It created very quick transition opportunities for Akron, which is what they do. Secondly, it deflated our confidence.”
And that’s a generous way to describe the drubbing that the Flashes took as the Zips owned every facet of the game, which gave UA a half point in the annual Wagon Wheel Challenge.
The Zips hit 53 percent of their shots, scored 59 points in the paint to the Flashes’ 34 and dominated the fastbreak.
“I thought our kids shot the ball well. They did well with their inside post with their presence,” Kest said. “They did a good job sealing and scoring inside. Other than that, I thought it was a great team effort.”
Not all was perfect. Kest noticed a lull later in the game.
“One thing I was disappointed in was our bench. They didn’t pick up the intensity the way I wanted,” she said. “They have to play that intensity no matter who they are playing, no matter what the score is.”
The Zips appear to have the right mindset going forward in the conference schedule, which Kest credits to the winter break.
“I told them: Teams get better during the stretch or they get worse. Nobody stays the same,” she said. “That’s a huge time to get better and our kids bought into that and you’re seeing the result.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.