Sina King surpassed 1,000 career points and the University of Akron shot 47.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc, but neither was enough to carry the Zips to their first postseason victory in a 71-66 loss at Duquesne Thursday night in the first round of the Women's NIT.
UA finishes the season 23-10 overall, while Duquesne improves to 24-7 and will take on Bowling Green in the tournament's second round on Saturday.
Hanna Luburgh led all Akron scorers with 19 points and was one rebound short of a double-double with nine. Rachel Tecca was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line en route to 16 points and eight boards, and Taylor Ruper drained 4-of-6 from long range to finish with 14 points.
King ended the night with 15 points, and hit her career milestone with two free throws at the 8:14 mark of the first half. She was 9-for-10 from the line, also grabbing eight rebounds.
The contest was a wild one that featured 17 lead changes and seven ties in 40 minutes. The Zips put together a 9-0 run over the last two minutes of the first half to build a six-point lead at halftime at 37-31.
UA was a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe and out-rebounded the Dukes 26-18 in the first period. Luburgh scored 11 of her points and collected seven of her rebounds during that time.
The second half started off slow for both teams, until Tecca put in a soft jump hook at the 15:33 mark to break the scoreless drought. The Zips held their largest lead of the night at 11 with 13:16 left on the clock after Ruper knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and forced a Duquesne timeout.
The Dukes slowly started to chip away over the next several minutes, making the most of Akron's 26 turnovers in all. Trailing by five with 45 seconds to go, Luburgh achieved the improbable and converted a 4-point play to make it a one-point game at 67-66 in Duquesne's favor with 35 seconds to play.
Akron put on its pressure defense but could not capitalize on a key steal from Cassell as Duquesne knocked down four-straight free throws down the stretch to secure the game.
Tecca finishes the year as Akron's single-season scoring leader with 609 points, and Cassell, with seven assists against Duquesne, is the school's single-season assists leader with 259.