MAC Women's Basketball Roundup: Sunday, January 26th

Sunday featured wins by Akron and Buffalo, who started the MAC season a combined 1-6 but have now won their last 7 conference games. Meanwhile, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois staged an intense defensive battle.

(Click links for box-scores.)

BOWLING GREEN 57, Northern Illinois 44

The Falcons prevailed over the Huskies 57-44 in a battle of the top two scoring defenses in the MAC. Bowling Green allowed just 17 points in the first half and led by as much as 20 early in the second half, but they had to survive a 15-4 run by the Huskies before ultimately winning by 13. Jillian Halfhill led all scorers with 14 points for the Falcons. Amanda Corral was held to 11 points for the Huskies.

Read our complete recap of the game HERE.

Akron 101, EASTERN MICHIGAN 79

The Akron Zips continued their resurgence in Ypsilanti, Mich. on Sunday afternoon, but that was not the story of their 101-79 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles. This game was all about Rachel Tecca, who put together arguably the best game in Akron history and, without a doubt, one of the best games by any MAC player in recent memory.

Tecca scored 43 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, and she added four rebounds, a block and a steal. She was 14-for-23 from the floor and a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line. Dating back to the beginning of the 2008-2009 season, only Miami's Courtney Osborn exceeded Tecca's 43 points (48 - Jan. 4, 2012 vs Akron) and only one other, Bowling Green's Lauren Prochaska, matched it (Feb. 15, 2009). In that same time span, only Ebony Ellis of Northern Illinois (Nov. 22, 2008) had as many rebounds in one game.

Tecca's performance established MAC season-bests in points, field goals made, free throws made without a miss, and rebounds. She established a new single-game school record for points and became the first player in Akron history to surpass 2,000 career points. Also, no Akron player had as many as 20 rebounds in one game in more than 14 years.

Impressed yet? If not, consider this: Tecca had a double-double IN EACH HALF. She scored 20 and pulled down 12 rebounds in the first half, then followed that with 23 points and ten rebounds in the second. Or, consider this: Tecca's teammate Hanna Luburgh scored 22 and earned 12 rebounds. That would qualify as one of the best individual performances of the week, but it was only half of Tecca's output.

As for the flow of the game, it was all Akron from the start. Luburgh sank a three just 54 seconds into the game to give Akron a lead they would keep for the remainder of the game. On the next possession, Tecca began her scoring spree with an old-fashioned three-point play. The Zips lead steadily grew from 6-0. Their first double-digit lead, 24-14, came after seven minutes. A layup by Tecca with 9:39 left in the half helped Akron reclaim the 10-point lead at 30-20, and EMU would get no closer for the rest of the half. A brief 7-0 run spurred by Tecca and Hannah Plybon gave the Zips a 42-25 advantage, and they ultimately went to halftime with a 15-point lead (53-38).

EMU was able to keep their deficit between 12 and 17 points in the second half until Haley Moore converted a three for the Eagles with 12:42 remaining. That cut the Akron lead to just nine (66-57). Akron followed with a 14-5 run to end EMU's hopes. Tecca scored nine and Luburgh added five to lead the charge, and the Zips led 80-62. Later, a 15-4 run gave Akron a 27-point lead, their biggest of the game, with 1:55 left. Eastern Michigan scored five points in the final minute to cut the margin to 22.

Akron scored 101 points despite shooting (only) 44 percent from the floor. They secured 25 rebounds on offense and 65 overall, and they got to the line for 24 free throw attempts. EMU shot just 36%, had only 42 rebounds (16 on offense), and made just eight free throw attempts. The rebounding discrepancy helped Akron earn a 26-10 edge in second-chance points. Also, despite winning the turnover battle, EMU was outscored 17-5 in points off those turnovers.

Outside of Tecca and Luburgh, Akron had three players with eight points, including Carly Young. Young also had nine rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench. Kacie Cassell did not score, but she contributed seven assists and three rebounds. EMU freshman star Cha Sweeney did her part with 25 points, three rebounds and four assists. However, she made just ten of her 25 field goal attempts. Olivia Fouty (17) and Natachia Watkins (10) also scored in double figures. The Zips held another Eagle freshman star, Janay Morton, to just eight points. Morton converted only two of her 14 shots.

Akron has now won three in a row following their loss at Miami and now sports a 4-3 MAC record. They are also 10-8 overall. The Zips have a difficult week ahead with a trip to Toledo before a very important home game against Buffalo. Eastern Michigan drops to 2-5 in the MAC and 12-6 overall. Life gets no easier when they play at Central Michigan on Thursday, but they do get a respite with a home game against Miami next weekend.

Buffalo 73, BALL STATE 69

Rachel Tecca's performance in Ypsilanti would make it easy to overlook what else took place in the MAC on Sunday, but we shouldn't. There were some other fantastic individual efforts, particularly in this game.

Kristen Sharkey (Buffalo) and Nathalie Fontaine (Ball State) scored career highs for their respective teams while Ball State Cardinals nearly overcame a 19-point deficit in the second half, but the comeback bid fell just short as Buffalo earned an important 73-69 win in Muncie, Ind. on Sunday afternoon.

The win was Buffalo's fourth in a row after starting 0-3 in conference play, and it's their longest conference winning streak since 2003. Sharkey was their star. She scored 36 points, which is the third-best scoring day in Buffalo history. She also earned ten rebounds and made 11 of 17 field goals, as well as 13 of 14 free throws.

Ohio has now lost three of their last four conference games after starting 2-1, but it was by no fault of Fontaine. Her career-high 30 points was nearly half of Ball State's total, and she pulled down eight rebounds. Like Sharkey, she had a very good shooting afternoon, as she made 10 of 18 field goals and 10 of 12 free throws.

Buffalo dominated the early part of the game. Sharkey scored five early points while Mackenzie Loesing poured in seven. Loesing's three at the 7:57 mark gave the Bulls a 17-1 lead. Ball State would not make their first field goal until Fontaine connected with 9:27 elapsed in the first half. That made the score 17-4. Sharkey pushed the lead to 22-7 with a three 90 seconds later, but Ball State went on an 8-0 run that cut the Buffalo lead to 7. Buffalo went on a mini-run of their own to go back up by 14, but the Cardinals fought back again to cut it back to nine with 2:10 left in the half. However, Buffalo went to the locker room with a 39-26 advantage.

In the second half, Buffalo led by just 11 with 4:14 elapsed, but Sharkey capped a 10-2 run with an old-fashioned three-point play. With a 53-34 lead, it appeared as if Buffalo had the game in hand. They still led 60-44 with 9:20 left, but Ball State spent the following 4:30 on a 15-1 run that cut the Bulls' edge to just two. Fontaine keyed the run with seven points, including the three-point play that made the score 61-59.

Buffalo was able to get their lead back up to two possessions for the game's final two minutes, and it only went back to a two-point game when Shelbie Justice sank a three with two seconds left. Two free throws by Loesing in the final minute finally sealed the four-point win for the Bulls.

Loesing added to Sharkey's 36 points with 21 of her own. Loesing also provided four rebounds and three assists. Margeaux Gupilan dished out 11 assists, while Christa Baccas grabbed a game-best t1 rebounds. Fointaine finished with 30 points and eight rebounds for the Cardinals. Brandy Woody, with ten points, was the only other Cardinals' player to score in double figures.

As noted above, Buffalo has now won four in a row to improve to 4-3 in the MAC and 11-7 overall. They host Miami for a weeknight game before playing a meaningful matchup with Akron on the road next weekend. Ball State drops to 8-10 overall and 3-4 in the MAC thanks to their loss. They will play at home against Western Michigan before a weekend trip to play Kent State.

Toledo 64, OHIO 62

There were no huge individual performances on Sunday in Athens, but the game between the Toledo Rockets and Ohio Bobcats did feature a fantastic comeback. Toledo scored just 19 points in the first half and trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half, but the Rockets ultimately went home with a 64-62 victory.

Ohio scored the first five points of the game and held Toledo without a field goal for the first 3:45 of the game. However, Janice Monakana's layup got the Rockets going, and they took a brief 7-5 lead on an Andola Dortch three at the 4:42 mark.

The Bobcats took the lead back shortly after and held Toledo to just one field goal over a span of 7:30, as Ohio went on a 17-2 run to take control of the game at 22-9. Hannah Boesinger led the charge with seven points during the run. After Toledo cut that lead down to nine points, Ohio finished the half on an 8-0 run during the final 3:26 thanks to a three by Lexie Baldwin as well as a three and layup from Kiyanna Black. At halftime, the Bobcats led 36-19.

Ohio quickly upped their lead to 21 early in the second half, but momentum quickly swung completely the other way. An Inma Zanoguera layup at the 2:40 mark lit the Rockets' fuse, and they went on a 21-4 run over a nine minute span to cut their deficit to just four points. Zanoguera scored nine points during the run, while Dortch and Brianna Jones contributed five each. While Toledo was on fire, Ohio was ice cold. The Bobcats went 2-for-12 with four turnovers during this stretch.

Kiyanna Black hit a pair of threes to briefly give the momentum back to Ohio, but the damage was done. Down 53-43, the Rockets went on another run to finally regain the lead. This burst lasted nearly five minutes, until there was just 2:00 left in the game, and the scoring was 15-3 in favor of UT. Ana Capotosto started the run with a three-pointer, and Janelle Reed-Lewis added two more from long range. Zanoguera's layup with 2:00 left gave Toledo a 58-56 lead. Again, Ohio could find nothing on offense during this stretch as they went 1-for-4 from the floor with four turnovers.

A pair of free throws by Quiera Lampkins briefly tied the game at 58, but another three from Capotosto allowed Toledo to reclaim the lead for good at 61-58 with 1:26 left. During the final 63 seconds, Ohio missed four straight three-point attempts while Toledo made three of four free throws. The Rockets were up 64-59 when Black finally converted a three for Ohio with three seconds left. However, Toledo was able to run out the clock for their 64-62 win.

Ohio out-shot Toledo 48.5% to just 21.4% in the first half, but that flipped in the second half, as Toledo made over 57% of their shots while Ohio dropped to just under 30%. The Rockets overcame a poor performance in the turnover battle to win. They turned the ball over 21 times and were outscored 33-8 in points off turnovers. They also scored just four second-chance points despite getting 14 offensive rebounds.

All five Rockets starters scored in double figures. Dortch finished with 17 points as well as nine assists, and Zanoguera added 13. Capotosto, Jones and Reed-Lewis each scored ten. Ohio's Kiyanna Black led all scorers with 18 points. Boesinger and Lampkins added ten apiece for the Bobcats.

Toledo improves to 9-9 overall and 4-3 in conference play. They host both Akron and Bowling Green during the next seven days. Ohio drops to 8-10 overall and 3-4 in MAC games. They have a very difficult week ahead -- after hosting Bowling Green mid-week, they travel to Central Michigan for a weekend matchup.

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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 6 1 16 3 at Ohio (1/30)
Buffalo 4 3 11 7 vs Miami (1/30)
Akron 4 3 10 8 at Toledo (1/30)
Ohio 3 4 8 10 vs BGSU (1/30)
Miami 2 5 6 12 at Buffalo (1/30)
Kent State 0 7 3 15 at NIU (1/29)
Western Division Won Lost Won Lost
Central Michigan 7 0 11 8 vs EMU (1/30)
Western Michigan
4 3 8 10 at BSU (1/29)
Toledo
4 3 9 9 vs Akron (1/30)
Ball State
3 4 8 10 vs WMU (1/29)
Northern Illinois
3 4 7 10 vs KSU (1/29)
Eastern Michigan
2 5 12 6 at CMU (1/30)

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