Anita Brown’s 37 sparked a Zips win

Cleveland, OH- The Akron women’s basketball team enters the MAC championship as the number 5 seed, with Toledo standing at the number 4 seed. This quarterfinals game took place at the Q in Cleveland. The game had a lot of hype because Akron took the first game with a score of 81-71 midseason.

 

The game started off very quickly with Akron’s DiAndra Gibson hitting a 3, and having 5 points in the beginning of the quarter along with Anita Browns’ 5. Toledo was giving a solid effort but could not keep up with Akron’s 22 in the first quarter. Anita Brown was ripping through the lane, and put up 11 points in the first quarter. Toledo had a collective team effort with 5 players on the board in the first but Akron held the lead with the score being 22-17.

 

In the beginning of the of the 2nd quarter Akron’s Hanna Plybon came of off a mean screen and hit a quick three, and Toledo’s Janice Monakana responded with a three of her own. Toledo’s senior Brenae Harris put in 10 points of her own by the middle of the second quarter, and was an impact player while it was still a tight game. Anita Brown made it very difficult for Toledo as the 2nd quarter went on, but they hung in there.

 

DiAndra Gibson hit a deep three in the Q with two minutes remaining in the first half, and continued scoring. Gibson ended the first half with 8 points and a rebound along with Anita Brown’s 21 and 4 rebounds. Toledo’s leading scorers were Janice Monakana with 11 points and 5 rebounds, and Brenae Harris’s 10 points and a rebound. The end score of a hard fought game at the half was 40-36 with Akron leading.

 

The third quarter started off with a very fast pace, and a added a quick layup for Anita Browns 23rd point of the day. Janice Monakana went out early in the 3rd with a knee tweak, and that put a damper on scoring. Things got a little scrappy midway through the third quarter while Akron had a comfortable lead of 10.

 

After 3 quarters the Akron Zips led the game 50-44, and the leading scorer for Akron had 25 while Toledo’s leading scorer had 15. Megan Barilla ended the quarter with 6 points, and 9 rebounds, and really made a huge impact.

 

In the 4th quarter the star player for the Rockets returned, and continued to make an impact while starting the 4th quarter with 11 points, and 7 rebounds. With 8 minutes remaining in the 4th, the forward for Toledo, Ana Capototso hit a 3 pointer to tie the game up at 50-50.

 

Going down the stretch of the 4th, Akrons Anita Brown hit a difficult contested shot to put the lead up by 2. DiAndra Gibson received her 5th foul with 3 minutes left in the game and really put a hole in the Akron Zips offense. Toledo’s Brenae Harris put in a solid 19 with 2 minutes left, but Anita Brown kept it tight with a fast break layup.

 

With an exciting ending, Akrons Greta Burry hit a layup that tied the game with 10 seconds left with a score of 60-60. Akron regained possession with 2.6 seconds left, and used a quick timeout to bring have a chance at a game winning shot. Anita Brown was very close to hitting a game winning shot but slightly missed off of the backboard, and brought it to OT, with a score of 60-60.

 

Akron started off hot in OT, and Anita Brown got a quick bucket to stretch the lead 64-61. Hannah Plybon hit a very clutch 3 for Akron with time running down to give Akron a 67-63 lead, and really broke the game open for Akron. The action was non-stop as Brenae Harris hit a pair of free throws to bring the game within 2.

 

In the final moments of the game, Anita Brown hit a pair of free throws to end the game. Akron Zips won a nail biter, 73-71 and advanced to the semi-finals to face Buffalo.

Upset Alert in The Q

 

Cleveland, OH- Women’s basketball kicked off the MAC basketball tournament today. The number 8-seeded Buffalo Bulls against the number 1-seeded Ohio bobcats.

 

It was a rough start for both teams offensively, possibly suffering from the opening round jitters, as it took a full two minutes to put any points on the board. Brittany Morrison for Buffalo hit one of two free throws to get the first points on the ledger.

 

The first quarter was scrappily played and points were tough to come by. Buffalo broke out the full court press with 7 minutes left to play in the first.

 

The highlight of the first half was without a doubt OU’s Kiyanna Black, hitting a cross over step back three that was Steph Curry esc, and it gave the Bobcats a 16-14 second quarter lead.

 

Ohio U maintained a tight 29-28 lead going into the half. Quiera Lampkins lead the Bobcats with 15 first half points and Joanna Smith had 10 points for the Bulls.

 

The Bobcats had looked to reverse their fortunes against Buffalo heading into this game as the Bulls had beaten the Bobcats in their previous two match ups.

 

The halftime shoot around paid dividends for both teams as scoring ramped up in the third quarter. Buffalo went on a momentum shifting 9-0 run that saw Buffalo’s Joanna Smith take over the Bulls’ offense, scoring 6 of the points during the run and give Buffalo a 50-45 lead.

 

Buffalo seemed to be pulling away and drawing ever closer to a first round upset over the 1st seeded Bobcats. The Bulls’ Joanna Smith and Stephanie Reid dominated the fourth quarter, Smith handled the offense early in the fourth and Reid capped off the fourth with an And-1 that seemed to dissolve any hope the Bobcats had at making a comeback.

 

Buffalo finished the first round upset of Ohio U, beating the Bobcats 72-60 and advancing onto the semi-finals. Buffalo will face the winner of Akron and Toledo on March 11th.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets Season Preview 2015-2016

By Jacob Allen

Hopes are high in the state capital this year, and not just for the Buckeyes. Last season, coming off only their second playoff year, the Blue Jackets fell nine points short of the postseason. They did, however, finish the season by winning twelve out of their last thirteen games, and they hope to ride that momentum into this season.

Adding a boost to those hopes is the addition of left wing Brandon Saad, who was acquired in a trade over the offseason from the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Saad, only 22, has already won two championships with the Blackhawks. The team also signed rugged center Gregory Campbell, who won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011. These two are expected to provide some much needed playoff experience for a team that has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs.

Last season Saad, a native of Pittsburgh, scored 23 goals and added 29 assists while playing with all-star talent in Chicago. But don’t expect a large drop-off, as he is expected to play with 2015 All-Stars Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno. Each player had career years last year while playing with each other for the majority of the season. Johansen collected 26 goals with a career high 71 points, while Foligno, who was named team captain over the summer, had a career high in goals with 31 and points with 73. Columbus hopes that adding Saad to an already great line could make it one of the best in the league.

Let’s not forget the rest of the team, however. Two wingers that each scored over twenty goals last year in Scott Hartnell and Cam Atkinson could flank solid two-way center Brandon Dubinsky on the team’s second line. The Jackets also have some good young talent among the bottom-six forwards, with 22-year-old Swedish center Alexander Wennberg, 22-year-old power forward Boone Jenner, and gritty 25-year-old Matt Calvert all capable of scoring at any time. Veteran forwards Jared Boll, Rene Bourque, David Clarkson, and Campbell will round out the forward group and should make an impact physically while providing occasional offense.

Defense is considered to be the weak spot of the team, but still has the pieces to contend provided they stay healthy. Ryan Murray, the former second overall pick, played in only twelve games for the team last year, and he may be their best defenseman. David Savard and Jack Johnson look to provide some offense to the blue line again this year. Savard scored 11 goals while adding 25 assists while Johnson had 8 goals and 40 points last season, and both scored 3 times while on the power play. 32-year-old Fedor Tyutin is the elder and leader of the defense, and he is vital on the penalty kill. The group will be rounded out by three 25-year-olds, in Kevin Connauton, Cody Goloubef, and Dalton Prout.

Finally, you can’t talk about the Columbus Blue Jackets without mentioning Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky, entering his fourth year with the team, has been instrumental in turning around a franchise that was mediocre for the first decade of its existence. Last season he went 30-17-3 while recording two shutouts. He has won thirty games in each of the past two seasons, and won 21 in 2013 in only 38 games. He has constantly been at the top of the leader boards in goals-against average as well as save percentage since joining the team, and may be their most valuable player. Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney went 12-14-2 last season, and can provide solid help when needed, but he can’t replace Bobrovsky.

This season this very young Blue Jackets squad needs many things to go their way. Mostly they need to stay healthy, as they led the league in man games lost last season with 502, which was a team record. They can’t afford this again, especially to crucial players like Bobrovsky, Murray, Jenner, and Dubinsky, each of whom missed significant time last season. They need the defense to play above themselves and secondary scoring from the third and fourth lines. If they could do these things you can expect to see the Columbus Blue Jackets have their best season of all-time.

Postgame wrapup: Ohio vs. Akron

By Rocco Nuosci

Once again for the third time this season, an overcast sky with buckets of rain fell over InfoCision Stadium as the Zips of U of A took on the Ohio Bobcats. The Zips entered the game looking to break a streak of seven straight losses against the Bobcats dating back to 2007. Unfortunately on this day, the Bobcats once again proved to be too much for the Zips to handle as they emerged victorious by a final of 14-12. My own team MVP for the day definitely goes to Robert Stein who was 4-4 on field goal attempts on the day as the Zips struggled all day trying to finish drives and put the ball in the end zone. Quarterback Thomas Woodson once again played the whole game and he did not play as well as Akron fans have seen him play. Finishing just 18-38 for 231 yards and an interception, Woodson was unable to lead his offense into the end zone for 6. Another big factor was the lack of Conor Hundley as a force. The big running back went for a mere 66 yards on 18 attempts. Receiver Imani Davis shined today, hauling in 5 receptions for 94 yards including an incredible back shoulder catch for 42 yards in the middle of the second quarter that had the crowd “oohing and ahhing”. Unfortunately, the Bobcat defense stepped up when it needed to and shut down the Zips offense when it mattered most. The Zips had their last chance to get it done late in the fourth quarter. A Thomas Woodson one yard keeper followed by an 8 yard sack proved too much for the Zips to overcome. A nice pass to Andrew Pratt on 3rd and long kept the Zips alive, but a failed 4th down attempt to Pratt was all the Bobcats needed to seal the victory. The Zips bench was furious looking for a flag on the Bobcat defender, but to no avail. With the loss, the Zips are now 0-1 in MAC play and will be back in action next Saturday when they travel up north to take on Eastern Michigan at 3:00.