Behind Dawson’s 22, Zips end Falcons season

CLEVELAND – The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team fell, 81-67, to the University of Akron on Wednesday evening in Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinal-round action at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

BGSU freshman guard Amy Velasco led the Falcons (15-15) with 19 points, while senior Kadie Hempfling and junior Elissa Brett had 15 points apiece as the Falcons’ season comes to a close.

Hempfling was 5-of-7 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, while Velasco hit 3-of-5 shots from the arc and had five rebounds for sixth-seeded BG. Hempfling added three rebounds, two assists and a team-leading four steals.

For BGSU, Elissa Brett had 15 points as well, along with five boards, three assists and two steals.

Nyla Hampton scored five points and tied for game honors with four assists, while Kenzie Lewis and Madisen Parker scored four points each for the Falcons.

Morgan Sharps and Sophie Dziekan each made their only shot attempt, while Olivia Hill rounded out BG’s scorers, going 1-of-2 at the free-throw line.

The Falcons shot 41.8% from the field and went 8-of-19 (42.1%) from the ac. Akron shot 51.8% on the night and made 5-of-10 long-range attempts.

Jordyn Dawson, the MAC Player of the Year, had a game-high 22 points for the third-seeded Zips (17-10), who advance to today’s league tourney semifinal round. Reagan Bass added 16 points and Layne Ferrell 14 for Akron.

“This was a tough one tonight,” BGSU coach Robyn Fralick said. “Congratulations to Akron; they’ve got a good team. Jordyn Dawson is a spectacular player in our league.

“I thought we played hard, but we had lapses in some possessions where we needed to play smarter. I’m excited about this group moving forward.

“We’ve got a young group, and we’ve gotten a lot of experience. Tonight, was one of those good experiences, and this will be helpful and motivating for us moving forward.”

BGSU got off to a fast start, as Velasco scored the game’s first five points. After a steal by Kadie Hempfling on the game’s opening possession, Velasco took a pass from Nyla Hampton and hit a three-point try, and the freshman then knocked down a pull-up jumper.

The Zips scored the next five points to even the score, but Velasco drove and hit a shot off glass, and the Falcons’ press forced a turnover. Hempfling found Elissa Brett for a three-point make and a 10-5 lead.

Hempfling’s crossover dribble led to a drive and dish to Brett for an easy layup, and after Kenzie Lewis made a pair of free throws, Brett converted another layup off of a Jocelyn Tate pass, giving BG a 16-9 lead.

Back came the Zips, with a Layne Ferrell triple cutting BG’s advantage to 16-14, but Hempfling responded with a trey of her own.

Kendall Miller’s three-point play gave Akron a 20-19 lead with just under two minutes left in the quarter, but again BG answered as Brett made a driving layup. A layup from Hampton gave the Falcons a 23-20 lead after the first 10 minutes.

The Zips went on an 8-2 run to begin the second period, with a Hempfling jumper accounting for BG’s only points in the first four minutes.

Reagan Bass made a layup to give Akron a three-point lead, before Hampton found Velasco for a corner three that knotted the score at 28-all.

Another Velasco triple, this time from the other corner, gave the Orange and Brown a 31-30 lead with over four minutes left in the period, but the Zips then went on a 6-0 run to end the half.

Brett whipped a pass to Velasco for a layup on the first possession of the second half, and after a Hempfling steal, Brett was fouled in transition and made a pair of free throws to cut the Akron lead to a single point.

Moments later, a Lewis cross-court pass resulted in a Brett trey from the right side and a 39-37 BGSU lead.

The Zips scored the next four points before Brett saw Hempfling cutting along the baseline and split a pair of defenders with a pass. Hempfling’s reverse layup made it a 41-41 game.

Hempfling would score seven-straight BGSU points, knocking down a trey off of a Tate pass, then grabbing a defensive rebound, drawing a foul and hitting a pair of free throws for a 46-43 advantage.

But, the Zips went on a 7-0 run, capped by back-to-back Bass buckets. Olivia Hill’s free throw snapped that run, but Bass converted from the arc to give Akron a 53-47 lead.

Lewis put back her own miss, and Brett hit a long-range shot, but Dawson answered the Lewis hoop with a banker, and followed the Brett trey with a triple of her own, giving the Zips a 58-52 lead after three quarters.

Dawson scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, with a pair of free throws followed by a steal and pull-up jumper.

An unconventional one-handed shot gave the Zips a 64-52 lead as the Falcons used a timeout but could not get closer than eight points down the stretch.