MAC Women's Basketball Roundup: Wednesday, January 15th

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Ball State gave Bowling Green a stern test, while Miami continued Akron's misery. Northern Illinois announced to everyone that they can play with anyone, while Buffalo helped themselves with a huge win. It was a great night of shooty hoops in the MAC.

(Click links for box-scores.)

Bowling Green 72, BALL STATE 61

The Falcons trailed for most of the first half, but Alexis Rogers and Jillian Halfhill contributed strong second-half performances to lead the BGSU comeback. They combined for 27 post-halftime points after just one in the first 20 minutes. Nathalie Fontaine led the Cardinals with 20. BGSU improves to 4-0 in MAC play, while Ball State drops to 2-2.

A complete recap of the game is available HERE.

BUFFALO 51, Toledo 46

The Bulls earned a much-needed conference victory, their first of the season, while the Rockets fell into a five-way quagmire in the MAC West at 2-2. Alexus Malone and Christa Baccas each had double-doubles for Buffalo and combined for five blocks and five steals. Mackenzie Loesing added 15 points for the Bulls. Toledo's only double-digit scorer was Janelle Reed-Lewis (15). Inma Zanoguera scored eight but contributed 16 rebounds, including a fantastic 12 on the offensive end.

You can read a recap of the game by our own bjplink by clicking HERE.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 65, Northern Illinois 60

If fans weren't taking the Huskies seriously before, they should now. NIU led for most of the first 26 minutes in Mount Pleasant, by as much as 12, and they never trailed the Chippewas by more than six. CMU eventually won by five but got everything they wanted (and probably more).

Crystal Bradford made a jumper on CMU's first possession for a 2-0 lead, and that stood up until Amanda Corral tied the game at 2 for NIU with 2:14 off the clock. Corral's basket began an 18-4 run for NIU that lasted six minutes. Corral contributed four points in the surge, while Natecia Augusta had five and Danny Pulliam had seven. The 12-point lead at 18-6 would prove to be the Huskies' biggest of the game. Jessica Green ended the run with a three for the Chippewas with 11:43 left in the half, but the Huskies answered and still led by 12 at the midpoint of the half.

CMU then went on a 14-1 run during a span of five minutes. Five players scored for the Chippewas during the stretch, including Bradford, who scored six of the 14. Central Michigan briefly reclaimed a 25-24 lead, but threes by Pulliam and Ally Lehman helped send NIU to halftime with a 32-29 lead.

The two teams exchanged the lead several times during the first ten minutes of the second half, as NIU stood toe-to-toe with the defending MAC champions. However, CMU took the lead for good at 49-47 when Bradford sank a jumper with 9:55 remaining. Back-to-back layups from Green pushed the lead to six (53-47), but the Chippewas could not build it any further. Still, they were able to sink their free throws down the stretch, which prevented NIU from getting closer, and CMU ultimately won by five.

Crystal Bradford (27 points, 15 rebounds) and Jas'Mine Bracey had double-doubles for the Chippewas, while Natecia Augusta had one for the Huskies. Danny Pulliam added a team-best 18 points for NIU. CMU outshot the Huskies 39.1% to 37.9% and won the rebounding battle 45-38. They also outscored NIU in the paint, 40-26.

CMU is now 4-0 in the MAC, while NIU drops into that five-way MAC West tie at 2-2.

MIAMI 79, Akron 76

The RedHawks earned what could be a season-changing win, while the Zips fall three games behind in the race for the MAC's Eastern Division championships. It was not a fun night for Akron, who can't afford many more setbacks if they're to claim one of the desired byes in the MAC tournament.

Akron scored the first five points of the game and held the lead for the first 6:30 of the game. A three-pointer by Miami's Hannah McCue put an end to Akron's lead and gave Miami its first at 13-12. Two layups by Nicole Anderson and five points from Jessica Rupright keyed a 14-2 run that pushed Miami to a 24-14 advantage. Akron responded right back with a 15-0 run of their own. It was keyed by four points from Rachel Tecca and a trio of three-pointers from three different Zips shooters. The run made the score 29-24 in favor of the Zips with 2:53 left until halftime, and Akron would take the lead into the locker room.

Haley Robertson reclaimed the lead for Miami with a layup just 1:05 into the second half. The Zips briefly reclaimed the lead a minute later, but after Nicole Anderson scored on the next possession, Akron would not hold the lead again. A 16-6 burst, led by Erica Almady's seven points, gave the RedHawks a 55-45 lead with 11:01 left, but Akron would not go away. They went on an 18-8 run over the following five minutes to tie the game at 63. Two Almady free throws ended the burst, but Akron kept it close the rest of the way. Kacie Caseell's three got Akron within three with 20 seconds left, and when Miami missed two of their final four free throws, Akron had a chance to tie at the buzzer.

Unfortunately for the Zips, a last-second desperation shot failed, and Miami had their first MAC victory of the season.

Akron outshot Miami 45.8% to 38.5% and outrebounded them 40-39. However, Akron also committed 15 turnovers and was only 8-for-26 from three-point range. The Zips were outscored from the free throw line, 23-14. Miami had four players who scored in double figures, including two from the bench. Hannah Robertson led the team with 18, while Erica Almady scored 14, including 12 in the second half. Akron was paced by Hanna Luburgh, who scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Rachel Tecca was held to an uncharacteristic 15 points.

Each team is now 1-3 in MAC play. Akron falls to 7-8 overall, while Miami improves to 5-10.

Ohio 76, KENT STATE 59

The Golden Flashes scored more points in the first half than they did in all of their previous game. However, they could not overcome the balanced scoring attack of the Bobcats in the second half, and Ohio pulled away for an important 17-point road win. The Bobcats now stand alone in third place among all MAC teams with a 3-1 league record.

The game was back-and-forth for the entire first half and featured six ties, as well as four lead changes. Krista White opened scoring with a jumper for Kent State 2:52 into the game. Lexie Baldwin answered for Ohio with an old-fashioned three-point play and a 3-2 lead. Outside of several ties, Ohio held a lead for the next 12 minutes of game action, but it was never more than four points. Finally, Kent State reclaimed the advantage when Amber Dunlap sank a pair of free throws with 5:12 left in the half. Starting with that, the Flashes went on an 8-2 run that resulted in a 32-26 lead. The six-point edge was the biggest of the game for KSU and the most either team would enjoy in that half. Kat Yelle's free throws closed the deficit to 32-28 at halftime for Ohio.

Those free throws began an 18-2 run for Ohio that was the beginning of the end for Kent State. Hannah Boesinger gave Ohio a 33-32 lead with a three-pointer, then following a KSU basket, Kiyanna Black's layup 2:23 into the second half gave Ohio the lead permanently. Black, Boesinger and Black again sank three straight three-pointers for the Bobcats to create a 44-34 margin. Kent State was able to keep the deficit close to 10 for a while, but Yamonie Jenkins' three-pointer with 5:33 to play gave Ohio a 12-point lead and sealed the win. Ohio built their lead to as much as 18 in the final minutes before settling on a 16-point victory.

Ohio used only seven players, but they were all effective. Each played at least 23 minutes, scored at least seven points, and had at least one rebound. All but one player had at least one assist. Five players scored in double figures, led by Boesinger's 18. Baldwin scored 13 points and led Ohio with eight rebounds. Kent State was led by Amber Dunlap, who scored 19 points and secured seven rebounds.

The Bobcats were outrebounded by the Flashes 44-27 but turned the ball over just six times. They also created 17 takeaways. Shooting in the second half really separated the two squads: Ohio was 12-for-21 (57.1%) while Kent State shot just 7-for-25 (28%).

The victory improves Ohio's overall record to 8-7 and their MAC record to 3-1. Kent State drops to 3-12 overall and 0-4 in the MAC. The Flashes are the league's only remaining winless team in conference play.

EASTERN MICHIGAN 83, Western Michigan 77

The Eagles led for all but 2:24 and ended their two-game MAC losing streak with a key home victory over a division foe. WMU has now lost two road games in a row after starting 2-0 in league play.

Olivia Fouty and Desyree Thomas scored the first five points of the game for Eastern Michigan, but the Broncos were able to stay basket-for-basket with EMU. After that first 5-0 lead, EMU did not lead by as much again until late in the first half. A Thomas jumper with 8:19 left in the first half gave EMU a 24-20 advantage, but Western Michigan used a 7-0 run to take their only lead of the game. Michelle O'Brien sank a three with 6:14 on the clock to give WMU a 27-24 edge, but Sara Stone's layup for the Eagles just 72 seconds later put them back on top by 28-27. The Eagles would not trail again. Three straight baskets by Natachia Watkins extended EMU's run to 10-0 and their lead to 34-27, but a three-point play by O'Brien in the final minute allowed Western Michigan to go to halftime down by just three.

Early in the second half, the Eagles went on an 11-2 run, capped by Haley Moore's three-pointer, to take their first double-digit lead at 54-42. WMU scored the next five points, but EMU went on another burst and built the lead back to 15. Janay Morton's three with 6:25 left made the score 69-54, and the lead seemed insurmountable. With 2:00 left, the Eagles still led by 12 (76-64), but the Broncos went on a furious comeback over those final two minutes. After four points from Marquisha Harris and A.J. Johnson, Alex Morton hit a three with 0:55 left to make the score 76-71. The effort was helped by a huge Eagles' turnover, as well as a missed front end one-and-one free throw attempt by Morton.

Thomas hit two free throws for the Eagles to give them some breathing room, but Fouty was then called for a technical foul. Johnson sank the free throws for Western Michigan, and Harris then made a layup for the Broncos. With 0:44 left in the game, WMU was down just 78-75. EMU freshman Cha Sweeney then stepped in to sink two free throws, and she sank two more after a Johnson turnover. The shots sealed the game for the Eagles, who ultimately won 83-77.

Five players scored in double figures for the Eagles, led by Sweeney's 20 points. Fouty added 14 and Morton poured in 11 off the bench. Watkins had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Western Michigan also had balanced scoring with four players in double figures. Miracle Woods was just 2-for-12 from the field but made all ten of her free throws for 14 points. Harris added 13 points and eight rebounds.

Each team is now 2-2 in MAC play and is part of a five-way tie for second place in the MAC West. EMU owns an overall record of 12-3, while WMU's drops to 6-9.

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Now, here's a look at the updated MAC standings...


Conference Conference Overall Overall
Eastern Division Won Lost Won Lost Next Game
Bowling Green 4 0 14 2 at CMU (1/18)
Ohio 3 1 8 7 vs Ball St. (1/18)
Buffalo 1 3 8 7 vs EMU (1/18)
Akron 1 3 7 8 vs Kent St. (1/18)
Miami 1 3 5 10 vs NIU (1/18)
Kent State 0 4 3 12 at Akron (1/18)
Western Division Won Lost Won Lost
Central Michigan 4 0 8 8 vs BGSU (1/18)
Eastern Michigan
2 2 12 3 at Buffalo (1/18)
Ball State
2 2 7 8 at Ohio (1/18)
Toledo
2 2 7 8 at WMU (1/18)
Northern Illinois
2 2 6 8 at Miami (1/18)
Western Michigan
2 2 6 9 vs Toledo (1/18)

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