Updated Fri, Feb 21, 2014 3:02 pm
After a promising 8-7 (3-1) start that carried hoards of momentum and confidence, Ohio’s desperation to break its losing streak grows with every game. The nine-game stretch has deflated the young squad and Saturday’s match-up against Akron presents another stiff test.
When these two squads last met, Akron’s offense was clicking on all cylinders. The Zips had three double-digit scorers, including a 28-point explosion from guard Hanna Luburgh. The senior led her squad to a 45-percent performance from the field and the 80-56 win.
Akron started the game on a 9-0 run and every Ohio comeback attempt was subdued by dismal shooting from the field. The ‘Cats shot only 23.4 percent from the field and 2-for-24 from beyond the arc. With an offense that is built around the 3-pointer, an eight percent performance from downtown will be difficult to overcome.
The one bright spot of the throttling was Ohio’s performance from the charity stripe. Ohio’s subpar season average of 62 percent was eclipsed by an 85.7 percent showing (24-for-28).
Looking ahead to Saturday, the Bobcats will need 40 energetic minutes to top the second-place Zips. The second half has not been kind to Ohio, as they have been outscored in the final 20 minutes in eight of the nine previous games.
Ohio will have its hand full in both halves trying to contain Luburgh and Rachel Tecca. Both are averaging more than 22 points per game and are shooting at least 47 percent from the field.
Should Ohio shut down either offensive threat, the next highest scorer Carly Long only averages 8.9 points per contest. However, shutting down the lengthy Tecca and speedy Lurburgh is easier said than done.
In addition to containing the high-scoring Zips, foul trouble continues to be an area on concern. Quiera Lampkins and Destini Cooper fouled in their previous game against Western Michigan, marking Cooper’s second consecutive with five fouls. Both players are two of the best attackers on the team. The Bobcats will need to have all of their best options on the floor to break the streak.
Ohio and Akron tip-off on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center.