MAC Women's Basketball Roundup: Saturday, January 18th

The Bowling Green-Central Michigan game lived up to all of its billing, and we were treated to a second overtime game in Buffalo. Ball State recovered for a good road win, and NIU continued to show that they are for real. It was a great day of shooty hoops in the MAC.

(Click links for box-scores.)

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 82, Bowling Green 79 (OT)

The Chippewas erased an 11-point deficit in the final 2:31 with a 12-1 run to end regulation and controlled overtime to win 82-79 in a battle of MAC unbeatens. Alexis Rogers scored 20 and rebounded 11, while all-everything Crystal Bradford made a run at a quadruple-double by scoring 13 points, securing 15 rebounds, blocking seven shots and making eight steals. CMU is now the lone unbeaten in MAC play at 5-0, while BGSU remains in the lead in the East with a 4-1 MAC record.

Read our recap of the game HERE.

Ball State 79, OHIO 63

The Ball State Cardinals shot nearly 60% from the field but made an astounding 13 of 18 from three-point range in a 79-63 win over the Ohio Bobcats in Athens, Ohio. Four different Cardinals made multiple threes, led by freshman Jill Morrison, who made five of six for a total of 19 points. Ohio made seven threes of their own but took 31 attempts to get those. Kiyanna Black scored 23 for the Bobcats and was 5-for-16 from long range. Both teams are now 3-2 in MAC play.

Click HERE for our recap.

BUFFALO 84, Eastern Michigan 83 (OT)

The game in Buffalo, N.Y. between the Bulls and the Eagles was not the marquee match-up of the day, but it provided as much excitement as any MAC game thus far in the 2014 season. The Eagles fell behind by 19 points and staged an outstanding comeback to force overtime, but a bullet from Mackenzie Loesing ended the comeback in disappointment as the Bulls won 84-83.

The first half featured five ties and two lead changes. Buffalo scored the first basket of the game just 1:01 into the contest on a Kristen Sharkey layup, but Eastern Michigan quickly tied the game, then took the lead on a three by Janay Morton. Outside of several ties, EMU held the lead until Mackenzie Loesing sank a three with 7:03 left in the half to give Buffalo a 17-16 edge. In a display of just how valuable she is to the Bulls, Loesing torched the Eagles' defense in the first half to the tune of 18 points. The Eagles were able to tie the game at 18 and again at 23, but over the final 4:30 of the half, the Bulls went on a 17-5 run. They led by as much as 14 before an Eagles' basket with three seconds left cut the lead to 40-28 at halftime.

EMU started the second half on an 11-1 run to cut Buffalo's lead to 41-39 after just 2:45. The run was fueled by six points from Janay Morton and a three by Desyree Thomas. With 13:30 left in the game, EMU was still down by just six (47-41), but Buffalo went on a 13-0 burst as their lead ballooned to a game-high 19 points. Loesing and Christa Baccas combined for nine of the 13 points during the run. At the midpoint of the second half, it appeared as if the Eagles were finished.

Four minutes later, EMU had only cut Buffalo's lead to 15 (66-51), but they did not concede the game. During the game's final seven minutes, Buffalo was just 2-for-9 from the floor and only 1-for-3 from the free throw line. They also committed six turnovers and gave up numerous offensive rebounds, including five in just the last two minutes. Overall, Eastern Michigan outscored Buffalo 20-5 to close the second half.

Still, Buffalo led 71-66 with one minute left. Morton hit a three to make the score 71-69 with 50 seconds left, and Buffalo immediately turned the ball over. On EMU's next possession, they had two shots blocked and also missed a layup. However, Margeaux Gupilan missed the front end of a one-and-oine with 17 seconds left to give EMU another chance. After Buffalo blocked another layup (their third in the final minute), Natachia Watkins sank a turnaround jumper to tie the game at 71 with four seconds left in regulation.

The overtime period was insane, as it featured four ties and six different lead changes. EMU took the lead one minute into overtime on a Thomas basket, but Gupilan redeemed herself for Buffalo with a three as the Bulls claimed a 77-75 lead midway through the extra frame. Two Morton free throws tied the game at 80 with 93 seconds left, and Phillis Webb's free throw with 55 seconds left game EMU a brief 81-80 lead. However, her miss on the first of those two free throws would end up costing the Eagles the game. A Sharkey jumper for Buffalo and two more Webb free throws for EMU made the score 83-82 in favor of the Eagles with 15 seconds left. On the final possession, Loesing drove down the baseline, turned, and sank a jumper with just 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock. A desperation three from Cha Sweeney was no good, and Buffalo owned an amazing 84-83 win.

Loesing finished with 26 points for Buffalo after sinking nine of her 27 shots. Christa Baccas (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Kristen Sharkey (17 points, 14 rebounds) added double-doubles for the Bulls. Morton paced Eastern Michigan with 34 points. She made 12 of her 18 total shots and was 7-for-11 from three-point range. Fellow freshman Cha Sweeney scored 16 points and had eight rebounds. Olivia Fouty added 11 points and 18 rebounds, nine of which were on offense.

Each team now owns a 2-3 record in MAC competition. Overall, EMU falls to 12-4 while Buffalo improves to 9-7.

Northern Illinois 69, MIAMI 66

Early in the MAC season, Northern Illinois has dominated at home with two 23-point wins. On the road, the Huskies have found life more difficult. They lost by two at Toledo and by five at Central Michigan. Difficult? Not anymore. NIU announced their arrival once and for all with a stirring 68-66 comeback win over Miami in Oxford, Ohio.

Miami had a stranglehold on the game during the first half. They took the game's first lead 40 seconds into the contest on a jumper by Hannah Robertson, then took the lead back at 4-2 on a basket by Nicole Anderson. After that point, they held the lead for the final 17:36 of the first half. NIU stayed within one or two possessions for much of the period, but Miami took a nine-point lead with 6:58 left in the half after an Anderson three started a 6-0 run. The RedHawks' lead was as much as ten, but the Huskies' Amanda Corral sank a three with just five seconds left in the half to make the score 34-27 going into the break.

NIU scored six of the first eight points in the second half, but a Robertson three just 3:29 into the half allowed Miami to re-stake a 39-33 lead. However, NIU stormed right back with a 7-0 spurt to take their first lead of the game. The mini-burst was keyed by a three from Danny Pulliam, and a pair of Jazmine Harris free throws pushed NIU into a 40-39 lead with 13:42 remaining in the game. The lead exchanged hands six times over the following four minutes, and the score was tied on three occasions during the same time frame. Northern Illinois finally regained the lead on a Natecia Augusta jumper with 8:53 left. That started a 9-2 run, and NIU ultimately led 60-53 with 5:30 left in the game.

Miami fought back and cut the Huskies' lead to as little as two on several occasions. One such occasion was with 1:09 left when Robertson's free throw made the score 63-61. Unfortunately for the RedHawks, Jenna Thorp drilled a three for NIU with just four seconds left on the shot clock expired on the next possession, and NIU had an insurmountable margin. Another Robertson three cut the lead back to two, but just one second remained, and an Ally Lehman free throw sealed NIU's 69-66 win.

NIU's second half comeback was fueled by 43.3% shooting, while their defense held Miami to just 33.3% from the floor. Overall, the Huskies out-scored Miami 22-10 in the paint, and their 12 offensive rebounds led to 13 second-chance points. Corral's 24 points led all scorers. Pulliam added 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists for NIU, while Lehman contributed 11 points, six rebounds and four steals. Robertson led Miami with 16 points and seven rebounds, but she also had six of her team's 13 turnovers.

NIU is now 7-8 overall and 3-2 in the MAC. The Huskies remain tied for second place in the MAC West. Miami's loss drives their record to 5-11 overall and just 1-4 in the MAC.

WESTERN MICHIGAN 78, Toledo 72

Western Michigan battled to a 78-72 victory over the Toledo Rockets on Saturday afternoon in Kalamazoo, Mich. during a game that featured six ties and 11 lead changes. Eight of those lead changes occurred in a frantic second half that saw neither team lead by more than six during the final 17 minutes.

Toledo took an early 7-2 lead in the first half on a three by Ana Capotosto and four points from Brianna Jones. They held their advantage for most of the game's first nine minutes, but A.J. Johnson tied the game for the Broncos with 11:07 left in the half. Ninety seconds later, her layup gave WMU a lead they would hold for the remainder of the first 20 minutes. The Broncos built their lead to a game-high nine points on a three-point play from Michelle O'Brien with just over one minute left in the half, then went into the locker room with a 38-29 edge.

The Rockets began the second half by outscoring the Broncos 16-6 over the first 4:38 of the period. Another three from Capotosto gave Toledo the lead at 45-44, and the two teams traded the advantage several times over the next few minutes. Back-to-back jumpers from Marquisha Harris made the score 52-49 in favor of Western Michigan with 12:46 remaining, and they were able to hold that for the next four minutes. Toledo took their final lead, 62-61, on a jumper by Andola Dortch with 8:05 left, but WMU took it right back on a layup by Jazmine Windham just 54 seconds later.

Western Michigan could not shake Toledo over the final seven minutes, and the lead was just one (68-67) with less than four minutes left. However, their 7-for-12 shooting during that time allowed WMU to keep the lead. Toledo was just 4-for-11 with three turnovers during the same span. Ultimately, Western Michigan won by six.

The Broncos were 32-for-63 (50.8%) from the floor during the game. Toledo shot 56.7% in the second half but only 43.8% for the game as a whole. The Rockets won the rebounding battle 39-37 but were out-scored 44-32 in the paint and were forced into 14 turnovers. Five players scored in double figures for WMU, and Alex Morton led that group with 17 points. Marquisha Harris and Miracle Woods each scored 16, and Harris added nine rebounds while Woods provided seven more. Toledo had four players in double figures, including Andola Dortch, who scored 19 points. Brianna Jones contributed a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Both teams are now 7-9 overall. The Broncos improve their MAC record to 3-2 with the win, while the Rockets' loss drops them to 2-3 in MAC play.

AKRON 77, Kent State 51

Akron finally ended their three-game MAC losing streak and, in the process, continued the misery of the Kent State Golden Flashes in a 77-51 victory on Saturday in Akron, Ohio.

The Zips scored the game's first points on a Hanna Luburgh three and never trailed. The Flashes did hold Akron without any points for a span of 4:49 early in the first half and trailed only 12-11 with 12:30 left in the half. However, it was all Akron after that. Rachel Tecca led a 19-3 run that lasted over 11 minutes by scoring 12 points, ten of which came from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Akron's defense held Kent State to just two field goals over the final 12:59 of the first half. After building a 31-14 lead, the Zips led 36-19 at the half.

The second half was no better for the Flashes. They briefly cut the lead to 14 early in the period on a three-point play by Montia Johnson but were never able to get any closer. Just past the midway point of the half, a Luburgh layup gave Akron a 21-point lead at 57-36, and the advantage stayed above 20 for the remainder of the game. They were able to push the lead all the way to 29 before settling on a 26-point victory.

Akron out-shot Kent State 42.1 percent to 31.5 and out-rebounded them 39-34. The Zips also forced 27 turnovers and held a 28-13 edge in points off turnovers. Tecca scored 24 points and gathered 12 rebounds, including 16 and 7 in the first half. Fourteen of her points came from the free throw line. Luburgh added 16 points and five rebounds. Rachel Mendelsohn came off the bench to lead the Flashes with 14 points and six rebounds.

The Zips improve to 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the MAC. They are tied for third place in the MAC East. The Flashes drop to 3-13 overall and 0-5 in the MAC. They remain the only winless team in conference play.

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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 1 14 3 vs EMU (1/23)
Ohio 3 2 8 8 at Akron (1/23)
Buffalo 2 3 9 7 at NIU (1/23)
Akron 2 3 8 8 vs Ohio (1/23)
Miami 1 4 5 11 at WMU (1/22)
Kent State 0 5 3 13 vs CMU (1/22)
Western Division Won Lost Won Lost
Central Michigan 5 0 9 8 at KSU (1/22)
Ball State
3 2 8 8 at Toledo (1/23)
Northern Illinois
3 2 7 8 vs Buffalo (1/23)
Western Michigan
3 2 7 9 vs Miami (1/22)
Eastern Michigan
2 3 12 4 at BGSU (1/23)
Toledo
2 3 7 9 vs BSU (1/23)

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