Notes from the first round of the MAC Women's Basketball Tournament, played at the 5-8 seeds' home courts:
|(10) Western Michigan Broncos (8-22, 5-11 MAC)||17||34||51|
|(7) Northern Illinois Huskies (13-16, 6-10) MAC||30||38||68|
The one upset I picked didn't happen, and that's because it must be hard for a weak team to beat somebody twice in a row. WMU held on in an overtime victory on Wednesday in this very venue but there was little doubt that the Huskies would advance to Cleveland. And that's surprising given they limped into the MACT after losing four straight. But they had one of their greatest shooting nights with an effective FG percentage of 67.1% while holding WMU to 36.4%. Despite 19 turnovers, that was your difference.
Freshman guard Amanda Corral led NIU with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and before she fouled out, Kim Davis contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
For WMU, Maria Iaquaniello finished her career with a bittersweet 13 points and six rebounds and Aurielle Anderson led the team with 15 points. But the season ends with another whimper, and coach Tasha McDowell has some tough rebuilding to do.
|(12) Ball St. Cardinals (9-21, 4-12 MAC)||23||39||62|
|(5) Central Michigan Chippewas (17-14, 8-8 MAC)||36||50||86|
No surprise here. Don't sleep on Central Michigan in the tournament. The field has basically been three tiers; Four on top, seven on bottom, CMU in the middle. I'm hesitant to lump the Chippewas up with the top four based on their inconsistency and losing swoons but they're a dangerous team who can catch fire, or may already have ignited. The pace was insane (91 possessions for CMU) so it was really the Chips defense which decided the game. Ball State coughed up 27 turnovers to CMU's 10 and the offense basically distributed the ball well en route to 86 points.
Jas'Mine Bracey had 13 points and nine rebounds; Brandie Baker and Taylor Johnson also scored 13 points each. But what a game by Ball State's Suzanne Grossnickle, notching a career high in her swan song: 25 points, 14 rebounds.
|(9) Kent St. Golden Flashes (6-21, 5-11 MAC)||8||32||40|
|(8) Ohio Bobcats (14-17, 6-10 MAC)||34||24||58|
No highlights yet.
Yep, that halftime score is correct and befitting of a six-win team. Eight points in the first 20 minutes, and 16 turnovers to boot. No contest here despite the closeness of the seeding, but Bob Lindsey has himself a young team that is one to watch next year. Tenishia Benson guided OHIO with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Mariah Byard shot 4-for-9 from behind the arc for 12 points.
KSU was paced by Jamie Hutcheson, one of those freshmen, with 16 points, 13 in the noncompetitive second half.
Oddly enough, 96 points is just the third most by an Akron team this year. It's their fourth 90-point game of the year and it came against a team that's struggled on defense all year. Where to begin. Sina King had 21 points and six rebounds, Taylor Ruper scored another 20 (on 6-for-8 on threes), Carly Young went for 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Ti'eshia Stubbs scored another 14 ... everyone was clicking.
Brittany Hedderson took 30 shots, which is about right for her in her finale. She scored 31 points and Nytor longar added 23 more to go with 11 rebounds and two blocks. Actually a very decent rebounding night for Buffalo, but UA just had too much firepower. I'm not sure if they'll be able to knock off Toledo should they reach the quarters but it might at least be a fun go of it.
Second round, Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena:
(8) Ohio vs. (5) Central Michigan, 12 p.m.
(7) Northern Illinois vs. (6) Akron, 30 minutes after end of OHIO-CMU