MAC Women's Basketball Weekend Roundup: February 8th-9th

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The top (CMU, BGSU, Akron) and the bottom (Ohio, Miami, Kent State) are pretty well-defined. But the middle of the MAC continues to be a jumbled-up mess.

(Click links for box-scores.)

BOWLING GREEN 91, Miami 45

The Bowling Green Falcons throttled the Miami RedHawks 91-45 on Sunday afternoon at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio.  The Falcons fell behind 3-0, but they built a 34-point lead in the first half thanks to a 43-6 run.  BGSU made 15 3-pointers, shot over 50 percent from the floor, and committed only seven turnovers.  Four players scored in double-figures for BGSU, led by Jillian Halfhill (17).

The victory is Bowling Green's 20th of the season, and this is the 11th consecutive season of 20 or more wins for the Falcons.  They are 20-3 overall and 10-1 against MAC foes, and their next game is Saturday at Eastern Michigan.  Miami drops to 7-15 overall and 3-8 in the MAC.  Life gets no easier for the RedHawks next Saturday, as they travel to Central Michigan.

Click HERE to read a complete recap of the game.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 74, Buffalo 63

The Buffalo Bulls stayed toe-to-toe with the defending MAC champion Central Michigan Chippewas for a half, but they eventually succumbed to CMU's multi-faceted offense and lost 74-63.  The game was held at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulls scored the first six points of the game as the Chippewas got off to a slow start.  CMU missed their first four shots and committed four of their eight first-half turnovers during the first two and a half minutes of the game.  Niki DiGuilio finally ended the drought for CMU with a 3-pointer at the 2:44 mark.  That seemed to spark Central Michigan, and a triple by Crystal Bradford just 90 seconds later gave them their first lead of the day (11-10).

Buffalo fought back to take a brief 18-17 lead and to force several other ties, as the first half was close throughout.  However, the Chippewas took the lead permanently when Kerby Tamm drilled a three for a 31-28 edge with 3:09 left in the half.  The two teams played even for those final three minutes, and a Jas'Mine Bracey layup in the final 15 seconds gave CMU a 40-37 lead at halftime.

The teams were virtually identical in turnovers during the first half (UB 7, CMU 8), but the Bulls dominated 12-3 in points off those turnovers.  Buffalo also had a significant 26-16 edge inside the paint.  Central Michigan counted that by making five 3-pointers and getting to the free throw line for 13 attempts.

The Chippewas gave up a basket to open the second half but then went on a 15-4 run to take a 55-43 lead midway through the period.  Eventually, they held the Bulls without a field goal for over eight minutes as Buffalo missed 13 straight shots and committed three turnovers.  That drought doomed them.  CMU was able to keep the lead in double-digits until they sealed the game with a 9-1 run that was capped by a Bracey lay-in with 2:35 remaining.  That basket gave the Chippewas a 72-54 lead.  Buffalo scored nine of the game's final 11 points, but that only made the final margin smaller.

CMU shot only 39.1 percent from the floor and made only half of their 22 free throw attempts, but they did convert nine 3-pointers.  Meanwhile, their defense held Buffalo to only a 34.7 shooting percentage, including just 17.9% (5-of-28) from behind the arc.  The Bulls also had only nine free throw attempts and made just six.  The Chippewas had a 54-48 edge in rebounding.

Kerby Tamm led Central Michigan with 19 points.  She made six of her nine shots, including five of her eight from behind the arc.  Crystal Bradford came close to another triple-double, as she contributed 18 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.  Like CMU, Buffalo had four scorers in double figures.  That group was led by Kristen Sharkey, who scored 21 points.  Christa Baccas posted a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds), while Mackenzie Loesing added 11 points and eight rebounds.  However, Loesing converted only four of her 22 shot attempts.

Central Michigan remains the only undefeated team in MAC competition with an 11-0 record.  The Chippewas are 15-8 overall and face Miami at home next Saturday.  Buffalo falls to 13-9 overall and 6-5 in the MAC.  The Bulls host Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Toledo 83, KENT STATE 55

The Toledo Rockets capped off a successful week with an 83-55 thrashing of Kent State on Sunday afternoon in Kent, Ohio.  The Rockets led for all but the first three minutes of the game and were never seriously threatened after those early moments.

Janae Peterson opened the game with a jumper for Kent State on the first possession, and despite falling behind a few minutes later, the Golden Flashes hung with Toledo until the midpoint of the first half.  Down three with just under 10 minutes left in the half, they allowed Toledo to go on a 11-2 run.  The burst was spurred by three makes from behind the arc within a three-minute span, including two from Ana Capotosto.  The second by Capotosto gave Toledo a 30-18 lead, and KSU would not get within single digits again.

Toledo went on a 9-1 burst following a CiCi Shannon layup for Kent State and, with an 18-point lead, cruised to the end of the half.  Elena De Alfredo sank a triple with two seconds left for the Rockets, who went to the locker room with a 44-25 advantage.

The second half provided no drama.  Kent State managed to keep Toledo's lead near the 20-point mark for a while, but late in the half, the Rockets increased it to as much as 31.  KSU's Ashley Evans sank a 3-pointer in the final seconds to cut the final margin to 28.

Toledo made 47.3 percent of their attempted shots, including over 50 percent in the first half.  The Rockets also made half of their 16 3-pointers and were accurate at the free throw line (23-of-27).  Kent State shot a respectable 38.8 percent overall, but they made only four of 13 attempts from behind the arc and only 13 of 22 free throws.  Toledo also had advantages in rebounding (40-26) and takeaways (12-8).

Five Rockets scored in double-figures, and Janelle Reed-Lewis led the way with 16 points and six rebounds.  Andola Dortch dished out seven assists to go with her 10 points, and De Alfredo added 15 points in 16 minutes off the bench.  Shannon and Evans led the Kent State attack with 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Toledo is now 11-11 overall and 6-5 against MAC foes.  Kent State drops to 4-18 overall and 1-10 in the MAC.  The Rockets' next game is at home on Saturday against Ohio, while the Golden Flashes also play next Saturday at Western Michigan.

Ball State 63, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 50

The Ball State Cardinals attempted only 14 shots in the second half but were able to get to the free throw line enough to preserve a 63-50 victory over the Northern Illinois Huskies on Sunday afternoon.  The game was held in DeKalb, Ill. at the Convocation Center.

Much of the first half was a back-and-forth contest, as the two teams fought through three ties and seven lead changes in the game's first 14 minutes.  However, NIU's inability to find offensive consistency allowed the Cardinals to seize control of the game late in the half.

The score was tied at 14 with seven minutes left on the clock, but when it ticked down to 6:36, Shelbie Justice sank a 3-pointer to give Ball State a 17-14 lead.  The Cardinals would not relinquish the advantage, and the triple began an 13-2 run that resulted in a 27-16 lead after a Brandy Woods layup.  NIU helped propel the run by going nearly six minutes without a field goal.  In fact, the Huskies made only two during the final nine minutes, and Ball State went to the half up 28-18.

Both teams made eight shots in the first half, but Ball State made four 3-pointers and eight free throws compared to just one of each by NIU.  The Huskies also committed 12 turnovers.

Ball State built their lead to as much as 18 points early in the second half, and they cruised from there.  Northern Illinois was able to get as close as nine but never posed a serious threat.  The Cardinals eventually won by 13.

As noted above, the Cardinals attempted only 14 shots in the second half.  However, they converted nine of those attempts, and they earned 22 shots from the free throw line, of which they made 16.  That was more than enough to hold off NIU.  Overall, BSU was 17-of-34 (50%) from the floor, including five 3-pointers, and 24-of-34 from the free throw line.

NIU shot a respectable 38.8 percent and made seven of their 11 3-pointers.  However, the Huskies only attempted a total of five free throws.  It could have been worse, though; the Huskies outrebounded BSU 28-26, including 11-4 on offense.  They had 15 second-chance points to just six for Ball State.

Nathalie Fontaine led Ball State with 18 points, and Brandy Woody contributed nine points and a team-best seven rebounds.  NIU was paced by Danny Pulliam, who scored 11 points.  Amanda Corral was held to nine points, and she committed seven turnovers.

The victory boosts Ball State's record to 10-12 overall and 5-6 in the MAC.  Their next contest is on Saturday at home against Akron.  NIU drops to 4-7 against the MAC and 8-13 overall.  They play on the road next Saturday when they face the Buffalo Bulls.

Eastern Michigan 68, OHIO 55

The Eastern Michigan Eagles won their second consecutive game on Sunday afternoon with a 68-55 victory over the Ohio Bobcats in Athens, Ohio.  The Eagles' freshmen sensations, Cha Sweeney and Janay Morton, combined to score 36 of EMU's 68 points.

The Bobcats owned a brief 2-0 lead, but the Eagles took the lead for good on a Desyree Thomas layup just 1:03 into the game.  Eastern Michigan was able to control the action by making nearly half of their shots and draining a total of nine 3-pointers.

After Ohio scored the game's first two points, Eastern Michigan scored the next 13 and held Ohio without a point for over five minutes.  The Bobcats were able to fight back to within one possession, but as the half came to a close, EMU used an 11-3 run to push their lead back to 10.  They led 32-23 at the half.

Ohio scored the first six points of the second half to cut Eastern Michigan's lead down to 32-29, and the Bobcats still trailed just 42-38 five minutes into the half.  However, EMU pulled away once again with an 11-2 run.  The run included another five-minute scoreless streak for the Bobcats.  Thanks to the burst, EMU led 53-40 with nine minutes left.  Ohio did not threaten again, and the Eagles eventually won by that same 13-point margin.

Eastern Michigan converted 44.6 percent of their shots and were successful on nine of 21 from behind the arc.  They attempted only 12 free throws but made nine.  The Eagles' defense held Ohio to a 37.7 shooting percentage, and the Bobcats were just 7-of-26 from 3-point range.  Ohio further hurt its cause by going just 8-of-17 from the free throw line.

The Bobcats pulled down 38 rebounds to just 33 for EMU, including a 16-9 edge on offense.  However, that was offset by their 19 turnovers.

Sweeney and Morton led the Eagles' attack with 19 and 17 points, respectively.  Olivia Fouty added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.  Kiyanna Black led the Bobcats with 11 points, and Destini Cooper added 10 for Ohio during 31 minutes off the bench.

With the win, EMU moves into a fie with Northern Illinois at 4-7 in the MAC.  The Eagles are 14-8 overall and play host to Bowling Green next Saturday.  Ohio drops into a tie at 3-8 with Miami.  They are 8-14 overall and will face Toledo next Saturday on the road.

AKRON 79, Western Michigan 66 (Saturday)

The Akron Zips continued their dash through the MAC by earning a seventh-consecutive win on Sunday afternoon.  Akron's 79-66 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos took place at the J.A.R. Arena in Akron, Ohio.

The Zips struggled early and committed four turnovers in the game's first seven minutes, as the Broncos built a 17-14 lead.  Akron's defense stepped up, through, and Western Michigan made only three field goals in the final 12:50 of the half.  As a result, Akron was able to go on a 33-9 run that resulted in a 21-point lead at halftime.

Akron out-shot WMU 51.4 to 31.3 percent in the first half.  Both teams made a trio of 3-pointers, but the Broncos needed six more attempts.  The Zips helped their cause by out-rebounding the Broncos 26-13.  The half was relatively clean from a turnover standpoint, as each committed just five.

Much like the other games this weekend, the second half of this contest was rather anti-climactic.  Akron led by at least 20 points for most of the period, until Western Michigan went on a 7-0 run that cut the lead to 74-60 with five minutes to play.  However, the Zips responded with four straight points to kill the rally.  A 3-pointer by WMU's A.J. Johnson made the final margin 13, the closest point for WMU of the entire second half.

Rachel Tecca (23), Hanna Luburgh (17) and Hannah Plybon (13) combined for 53 of Akron's 79 points.  Tecca led the team with eight rebounds.  Kacie Cassell scored only five, but she contributed eight assists.  Marquisha Harris scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead WMU in both categories.

Akron remains in sole possession of the MAC's third-best record (8-3).  The Zips are now 14-8 overall.  WMU drops to 9-13 and 5-6 in the MAC.  Both teams play their next games on Saturday.  WMU will host Kent State while Akron travels to Ball State.

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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 10 1 20 3 at EMU (2/15)
Akron 8 3 14 8 at BSU (2/15)
Buffalo 6 5 13 9 vs NIU (2/15)
Ohio 3 8 8 14 at Toledo (2/15)
Miami 3 8 7 15 at CMU (2/15)
Kent State 1 10 4 18 at WMU (2/15)
Western Division Won Lost Won Lost
Central Michigan 11 0 15 8 vs Miami (2/15)
Toledo
6 5 11 11 vs Ohio (2/15)
Ball State
5 6 10 12 vs Akron (2/15)
Western Michigan
5 6 9 13 vs KSU (2/15)
Eastern Michigan
4 7 14 8 vs BGSU (2/15)
Northern Illinois
4 7 8 13 at Buffalo (2/15)

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