AKRON, Ohio – Rachel Tecca scored a career-high 32 points, pulled down seven rebounds and grabbed six steals to lead The University of Akron women's basketball team to a 71-65 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Sunday afternoon at James A. Rhodes Arena.
Tecca's points came on the strength of a 10-for-16 performance from the field and 12-of-14 showing at the free throw line. She was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the final 10 seconds to secure the win and help clinch at least a share of the program's first Mid-American Conference East Division title.
The Zips, who have won their last six straight contests on their home floor to tie a program-best 11 wins at the JAR, are now assured of no less than a No. 4 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament and likewise receive a double bye into the event's quarterfinal round on Thursday, March 14 at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland.
Hanna Luburgh scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half after sitting most of the first period with two fouls, and her 3-pointer with one minute to play gave Akron (20-8, 11-4 MAC) a 67-63 edge and its largest lead at that point in the period.
Hannah McCue's two free throws pulled Miami (17-11, 9-6 MAC) to within 67-65 with 46 seconds to play and the RedHawks were forced to foul Tecca on the Zips' next two possessions.
The game was tied seven times during the second half and neither team led by more than two points until Hannah Robertson's jumper gave the RedHawks a 55-51 lead with 6:07 to play. McCue's layup with 3:28 to go extended the Miami lead to 63-58, but a pair of free throws by Tecca with 3:23 to go cut the RedHawk lead to 63-60, and about a minute later Carly Young converted a pair at the line to make it 63-62 with 2:00 remaining.
UA's ensuing full court pressure on the next Miami possession set Tecca up for a steal, which led to a bucket by Luburgh that gave the Zips a 64-63 lead with 1:54 to go and MU was unable to catch up.
Akron weathered an 8-2 Miami run in the final three minutes of the first half and held a 37-33 advantage at intermission. UA is 18-0 this year when leading at halftime.
Courtney Osborn led Miami with 23 points, but fouled out with 3:23 to play. Kirsten Olowinski scored 17 points and had 16 rebounds for the RedHawks.
Akron closes out the regular season on Wednesday, March 6 at Buffalo at 7 p.m. ET. If the Zips defeat UB, they will claim the East Division crown outright and could earn as high as a No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament.