Purdue Women Face Akron in First Round of NCAA Tournament

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 Purdue faces No. 13 Akron in the first round of the Purdue Regional. Also playing in West Lafayette will be No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast University.

Monday evening the Purdue Women's Basketball team received a No. 4 seed in the Notre Dame regional of the 2014 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Bracket. Purdue(21-8) will face No. 13  Akron(23-9) Saturday, March 22. Akron received an automatic bid after wining the Mid-American Conference tournament. This is Akron's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 5 Oklahoma State(23-8) will play No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast University(25-7) in the other match-up in the subregional. Like Purdue, Oklahoma State received an at-large bid. FGCU received an automatic bid after winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Since becoming a NCAA Division I school in 2011 this will be their second berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Purdue finished fourth in the Big Ten and lost to 5th seeded Iowa in second round of the B1G Tournament. Akron finished second in the MAC East and third overall.  Akron beat Toledo, Central Michigan, and Ball State en route to their MAC Tournament title.

Akron is lead by MAC first teamers seniors Hanna Luburgh and Rachel Tecca. Luburgh and Tecca are both averaging 22 points per game. Tecca is pulling down 9.5 rebounds per game and averaging 1.5 steals a game. Luburgh averages 7.1 boards a game. Point guard Kacie Cassel averages 6 assists per game. Hanna Plybon also made the All-Freshman team. She averages 7.2 ppg.

This season Purdue beat both of their MAC opponents, Central Michigan and Bowling Green. If Purdue can keep either Tecca or Luburgh in check they should be able to advance.

The Purdue-Akron game is at 1:30 Saturday and can be found on ESPN2.

Oklahoma State and FGCU will play the morning game at 11:00.

Oklahoma State finished 4th in the Big 12. They beat Iowa State before losing to Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament. The OSU Cowgirls are led by senior Tiffany Bias who is a first team Big 12 selection and All-Defensive team selection. Sophomore Brittany Moore and junior Liz Donohoe were Honorable Mention selections. Roshunda Johnson made the All-Freshman team.

Florida Gulf Coast won the Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament titles. Stetson challenged the Eagles during the regular season and the conference tournament. FGCU beat Stetson in overtime both times. Northern Kentucky was the only Atlantic Sun team who was able to beat Gulf Coast this season. Senior Sara Hansen was the A-Sun Player of the Year. Sophomore Whitney Knight also joined Hanses on the First Team. Karl Smesko was Coach of the Year.

Purdue was one of five B1G teams to make the Tournament. If Purdue advances to the Sweet Sixteen they will head to South Bend. Notre Dame is the No.1 seed in the regional and host of the semifinal and final.

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