Women’s basketball looks to upset rival Akron

Junior guard Ashley Evans looks to shoot the ball at Kent States game on Feb. 20, 2013. The Flashes lost 61-55. Photo by Chloe Hackathorn.

Junior guard Ashley Evans looks to shoot the ball at Kent State’s game on Feb. 20, 2013. The Flashes lost 61-55. Photo by Chloe Hackathorn.

Meghan Blaha

After suffering a tough loss to Ohio on Wednesday, Kent State is regrouping fast as rival and conference-leading Akron comes to the M.A.C. Center Saturday.

Despite the loss — the Flashes’ fourth in a row — Kent State head coach Danielle O’Banion believes that her team’s preparation will be no different.

“Our prep will be a standard prep, but our motivation can not and will not come from our coaching staff,” O’Banion said. “We have four seniors that are very much aware of the clock and very much aware that this is their last opportunity, unless we see Akron in the tournament, to face our rivals.”

As Kent State continues to struggle, Akron is surging through the second half of their season. They currently have the most productive scoring offense in the Mid-American Conference averaging 75.1 points per game with the highest field goal percentage at 43 percent.

Junior forward Rachel Tecca is leading the way for the Zips, averaging 19 points per game, which is currently the best in the MAC. Along with Akron’s strong post play, the Zips also boast effective shooters from the 3-point line.

Kent State senior Tamzin Barroilhet said her team is very aware of the offensive threats that Akron brings to the table.

“Working on our transition defense is going to be key,” Barroilhet said. “Akron plays a pretty fast-paced game, and they have good 3-point shooters that we need to find and, you know, it’s a rivalry. We are going to have to come with a different face and a different mindset to be competitive with them.”

Barroilhet is carrying the Flashes through the season not only as the leading scorer and rebounder, but also by leading the team in assists, steals, and made free throws.

“I know that I am a leader for this team,” Barroilhet said, “and if we haven’t been scoring in a while then I know that I have to step up and find a way to score or get an open shot for someone or get fouled just so that the momentum goes in our favor.”

Though the game may seem very lopsided on paper, the Flashes know what it takes to win.

“I think right now it is all about pride,” Barroilhet said. “It’s just going out there and just the start of the game is going to be very, very crucial for us.”

Senior Diamon Beckford is looking forward to the challenge and reiterates the point that it will be a game to watch.

“Expect us to do what we always do — go out there and play as hard as we can and leave it all on the floor,” Beckford said.

Contact Meghan Blaha at [email protected].