AKRON, Ohio - Akron took advantage of 20 Canisius turnovers to pull away with an 81-72 win over the Golden Griffin women's basketball team at the James A. Rhodes Arena on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, Canisius falls to 2-4 on the season.
Junior Jen Morabito led Canisius with 20 points, including 5-for-10 shooting on 3-pointers. Senior Ashley Wilkes had 15 points and seven rebounds while junior Jamie Ruttle had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Canisius shot 46 percent in the game and owned a 42-34 advantage in rebounding but Akron used a 21-5 advantage in points off turnovers to pull away in the final minutes.
"We did so many things right, including making a lot of hustle plays, but you can't win a college basketball game, especially against a team of the quality of Akron, with 20 turnovers," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "We have to execute better when we are mentally fatigued and that's something that needs to develop for us to become a good basketball team."
Both teams started quickly from the floor with Akron connecting on four of its first five shots to take a 10-5 lead. Morabito then converted a conventional three-point play and drained her second 3-pointer of the opening four minutes to put Canisius ahead 11-10. Neither team would take more than a four-point lead for the rest of the first half, as Canisius seemed to answer each time Akron tried to extend its lead. A layup from junior Jen Lennox in the final minute brought Canisius within two at the half, trailing 40-38.
Akron (6-1) came out and scored six of the first eight points of the second half to go up 46-40 on a basket from Sina King. Canisius answered with a 9-2 run, including seven straight points from Wilkes, to take a 49-48 lead. Akron appeared to be pulling away, taking a 61-56 lead with 10:53 left. However, Canisius responded with a 12-4 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Morabito to put Canisius up 63-61 with 7:36 left.
After two baskets from Akron broke the Zips out of their scoring drought, baskets from senior Allison Braun and freshman Tiahana Mills gave Canisius a 67-65 lead. King would jump a Canisius pass and scored a layup to tie the game at 67-67. After Hanna Luburgh blocked a Morabito 3-pointer that lead to a layup to put Akron up 69-67, Canisius went up 70-69 after a 3-pointer from Ruttle with 3:14 left.
Luburgh responded right back on the next possession with a 3-pointer to put Akron up by two. On the next possession, Rachel Tecca jumped a Canisius pass at the top of the key and scored an uncontested layup to put Akron up four. Two free throws from Ruttle brought Canisius within two, but the Griffs could get no closer as they didn't score in the final two minutes.
Tecca had 20 points while Luburgh had 17 points and Taylor Ruper scored 16 points. King had 13 points and six rebounds while Kacie Cassell had eight assists and zero turnovers in 39 minutes.
Canisius returns to Western New York to host the University at Albany, on Saturday, Dec. 8. Tipoff in the Koessler Athletic Center is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Canisius and Akron met for the fourth time in program history and for the first time since Jan. 27, 1990... The series between the teams is now tied at 2-2... The 38 first-half points for the Griffs were more than they scored in any first half this season or last season... The 20 points from Morabito are the most scored by a Golden Griffin in a game this season... Morabito also matched a career-high with the five 3-pointers (Dec. 28, 2010 at Cornell)... Braun had a career-high nine rebounds on the day... Mills posted a career-best seven assists.