CLEVELAND — When Hanna Luburgh got hot, the University of Toledo got burned.
Luburgh, a senior guard, scored 25 of her game-high 31 points in the first half to help Akron build a 20-point lead and the third-seeded Zips dropped the sixth-seeded Rockets 83-69 Thursday in the third round of the Mid-American Conference tournament at Quicken Loans Arena.
Luburgh connected on 9 of her 14 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, as Akron established a 57-37 first-half lead.
The Zips (21-9) went up by as many as 25 in the second half and never let Toledo (16-16) cut the lead below 12 while advancing to today’s second semifinal contest, against second-seeded Central Michigan (20-10). The first semifinal, slated for noon, will pit top-seeded Bowling Green State University (27-3) against No. 5 Ball State (17-15).
Luburgh, who averages 23.1 points per game, is a 36.9 shooter from 3-point range on the season.
“Once I hit my first couple of shots, I was kind of feeling it and my team just kept giving me the ball, so that was awesome,” she said.
“I think Akron’s first half was one of the finest shooting performances by a team I’ve seen,” Rockets coach Tricia Cullop said in reference to Akron’s 58.3-percent accuracy (21 of 36) from the field. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have answers on the defensive end and we weren’t hitting on the same clip that they were. It was easy for them to jump out to that lead.
“Hanna Luburgh’s performance was the best performance of an MVP-type of player. She’s a kid that, if she wants to play pro, she’s got an opportunity.”
Anita Brown added 14 points for the Zips, who also got 11 from Rachel Tecca and 10 from Carly Young, who completed a double-double with 10 rebounds. Luburgh added eight rebounds and Kacie Cassell passed for eight assists.
Inma Zanoguera’s 12 points were high for Toledo, which made just 22 of 65 shots (33.8 percent) from the floor. Elena De Alfredo scored 11 points, while Andola Dortch, Brianna Jones and Ana Capotosto each had 10. Dortch also had seven assists and five steals and Janelle Reed-Lewis snared seven rebounds.
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