MAC Women's Basketball Mid-Week Roundup: February 26th-27th

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Akron continue to rampage their way through the MAC, but there were also two big upsets that may help shape the upcoming MAC tournament.

(Click links for box-scores.)

BOWLING GREEN 82, Kent State 38

The Bowling Green Falcons won their 10th consecutive game by routing the Kent State Golden Flashes 82-38 on Thursday night in Bowling Green, Ohio.  The win was the 100th for BGSU's senior class, which is the eighth straight Falcon senior class to reach that achievement.

Four players scored in double figures for Bowling Green, who shot better than 56 percent during the game.  Kent State had one of the weirdest shooting nights imaginable -- they shot 70.6 percent in the first half but just 15.4 percent in the second.  The Flashes also turned the ball over 22 times and failed to break the 40-point barrier against BGSU for the third straight meeting.

Bowling Green is now 14-1 against the MAC and 24-3 overall.  They host Ohio on Sunday for their final home game of the season.  With a win against Ohio, BGSU would clinch a spot in the semifinals of the MAC tournament.  Kent State loses their 20th of the season (6-20) and falls to 3-12 in the MAC.  Their final home game of the season is also on Sunday when they play Akron.

Click HERE for our complete recap of the game.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 85, Ball State 72 (OT)

If it appears that no lead is safe inside the final 2:30 against Central Michigan, that's because it's true.  No lead is safe.  The Chippewas rallied from at least seven points down in the final 2:30 of regulation for the third time this season on Thursday night against the Ball State Cardinals.  The rally forced overtime, and CMU dominated the extra frame in an 85-72 victory.  The game was held in Mount Pleasant, Mich. at McGuirk Arena.

In their previous meeting this season, Ball State blew a 19-point lead during the second half before losing in overtime, but somehow, this one seems as if it would cut even worse.  The Cardinals had this game in hand and gave it away, and that may ultimately cost them a home game in the first round of the MAC tournament.

Ball State's Brittany Carter scored the game's first points with a 3-pointer after the teams had traded turnovers on the first three possessions.  The Cardinals held the lead for the remainder of the half and were up by as much as eight (25-17).  CMU was able to cut that deficit to two, but an "and-1" layup by Brandy Woody with three seconds left gave BSU a 32-27 lead at halftime.

Central Michigan was finally able to wrestle the lead away from the Cardinals on a jumper from Jessica Green five minutes into the second half.  After a score by Jas'Mine Bracey, Ball State took the lead right back with a pair of 3-pointers by Carter.  There were be four more ties and two more lead changes over the following six minutes, until a trey by Shelbie Justice gave BSU a 53-50 lead with 7:04 remaining.

The Cardinals were able to shoot well enough from the floor and the charity stripe that they maintained control of the game, and with 2:03 left, a pair of free throws gave them a 66-59 lead.  At that point, CMU began to whittle away.  The Chippewas sank a pair of free throws, and BSU followed by making just one of two.  CMU sank a layup, and the Cardinals then turned the ball over.  With 30 seconds left, it was a four-point game.

Crystal Bradford followed her steal with a 3-pointer, but Brandy Woody converted two free throws for a three-point lead.  Bradford then missed a 3-pointer.  However, Bracey got the offensive rebound and passed to Bradford, who then passed to Jessica Green.  Green drilled the game-tying 3-pointer to send the affair to overtime tied at 69.

In overtime, the Chippewas crushed the Cardinals.  They scored the first nine points and 14 of the first 15.  In fact, Ball State made only one field goal in the extra frame, and that did not come until there were 11 seconds left.  It cut CMU's lead to 83-72, and after a technical foul on BSU's bench, the Chippewas sank two free throws for the final 85-72 margin.

Both teams shot roughly similar percentages, and they both turned the ball over 19 times.  The difference in the game seemed to be rebounding.  CMU held a 56-42 edge in that department, and 25 of those 56 came on the offensive end.  That led to a 23-8 advantage in second-chance points.

Bradford had another spectacular game.  She tied a career-high with 36 points while she also pulled down 16 rebounds, dished out six assists, and contributed four steals and two blocks.  Jessica Green scored 19 and eclipsed 1,000 points for her career.  CMU is just the 12th program in NCAA history to have four active 1,000-point scorers at the same time.  Bracey scored 11 but also had a game-high 21 rebounds.  Ten of those were on offense.  Ball State had four players who scored in double figures, and that group was led by Carter, who scored 21.

Central Michigan is now 18-9 overall and 14-1 in the MAC.  They play at Toledo on Sunday, and with a win there, the Chippewas would clinch a spot in the semifinals of the MAC tournament.  Ball State drops to 11-15 overall and 6-9 against MAC foes.  They resume play on Saturday with a trip to Western Michigan.

AKRON 88, Miami 63

The Akron Zips cruised past the Miami RedHawks 88-63 on Thursday night in Akron, Ohio and won their 11th consecutive game in the process.  The victory is the 12th home win of the season, which establishes a new school record.

Akron jumped out to a 13-4 lead within the first five minutes, but a 3-pointer by Nicole Anderson helped Miami keep the Zips within striking distance for the next few minutes.  A pair of Hannah McCue free throws cut the Akron lead to just 19-13 with 11:58 left in the first half.  However, the Zips responded with an eight-minute run that reached 14-4.  It gave Akron a 33-17 lead and essentially put the game away.

Miami made just one field goal in the final 7:45 of the half, and that allowed the Zips to continue building on their lead.  It reached as much as 21 points and stood at 19 (48-29) at halftime.

The RedHawks kept the deficit within a range of 15-20 points for the first eight minutes of the second half, but the Zips eventually broke through for a 12-0 run to take a 71-43 advantage.  They built to a game-high 34 point lead with 4:37 left before finally settling for a 25-point victory.

Despite making just three of 18 attempts from beyond the arc, Akron shot 44.3 percent for the game, and they held Miami to just 27.8 percent.  That helped off-set Miami's 28-15 advantage in made free throws.  Akron also won the war for rebounds 48-37 (including 23-17 on offense) and forced 25 turnovers.  However, the Zips also committed 15 turnovers in a sloppy second half after just four in the first 20 minutes.

Rachel Tecca and Hanna Luburgh again dominated for the Zips.  The pair combined for 49 of the team's 88 points, and Luburgh led the way with 28.  Tecca added 10 rebounds to her 21 points, and Kacie Cassell set both Tecca and Luburgh up with 13 assists.  Hannah Robertson led Miami with 12 points, and Hannah McCue posted a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds).

The victory seals a trip to the third round of the MAC tournament for Akron, and they will be locked into the #3 seed if BGSU and CMU win one more game each.  The Zips are now 18-8 and 12-3 in the MAC, and they play at Kent State at Sunday.  Miami drops to 3-12 against the MAC and 7-19 overall.  They host Buffalo on Saturday.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS 68, Toledo 59 (OT)

The Northern Illinois Huskies took a big step towards hosting a first-round MAC tournament game by stunning the Toledo Rockets with a 68-59 overtime victory in DeKalb, Ill. on Thursday afternoon.  The win moves NIU into a tie for eighth place with Eastern Michigan as a game at EMU looms for the Huskies on Sunday.  Toledo's loss delivers a huge blow in their efforts to corral the 4th seed in the MAC tournament and the final bye to the third round.

NIU jumped out to a 17-5 lead after nine and a half minutes.  They sank seven of their first 13 shots and committed no turnovers while Toledo made only two of eight shots and gave the ball away three times.  The Rockets fought back with a 10-minute run of 19-6 that gave them their first lead of the game, 24-23, with 40 seconds remaining in the half.  After starting the half hot and with good ball control, NIU missed six of nine shots and turned the ball over seven times during Toledo's run.  However, Alexis Lindstrom drilled a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to give NIU a 26-24 halftime edge.

The second half was very close throughout and featured five ties and four lead changes.  Toledo did briefly hold a seven-point lead, but a quick 7-0 run by NIU tied the game at 47 with 3:30 left.  Toledo followed with three straight of their own, as Brianna Jones sank a jumper and Andola Dortch split a pair of free throws.  The Rockets led by three, but that again evaporated when Lindstrom connected on another 3-pointer to tie the game at 50 with 1:37 left.

The teams then traded a pair of layups each during the final 90 seconds.  Dortch sank the last of those with 10 seconds left, and that shot sent the game to overtime tied at 54.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, the overtime period was no contest.  Toledo missed 10 of their 11 shots, and NIU scored the first eight points in the frame.  Janelle Reed Lewis connected on a 3-pointer for Toledo's only field goal of the overtime with 1:13 left on the clock.  That cut NIU's lead to five, but the Huskies made four free throws in the final 60 seconds to seal the victory.

NIU out-shot Toledo 48.2 to 35.1 percent, although the Rockets did make over 40 percent of their shots during regulation.  Toledo held a 41-35 edge in rebounds, including 14-5 on offense.  However, the Huskies inexplicably outscored Toledo 10-6 in second-chance points.

Amanda Corral led the Huskies with 20 points.  Two players, Lindstrom and Jazmine Harris, came off the bench to score in double figures.  Harris posted 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds.  Dortch finished with 14 points to lead the Rockets' effort, and Inma Zanoguera led all players with 10 rebounds.  She also scored 10 points.

The loss drops Toledo's overall record to .500 (13-13), and the Rockets are now 8-7 against the MAC.  They host Central Michigan on Sunday in what may amount to a must-win game, if they want to earn that 4th seed.  Northern Illinois improves to 5-10 in the MAC (6-19 overall) with the win.  As noted above, they travel to Eastern Michigan for a game on Sunday.

OHIO 83, Buffalo 71

The Ohio Bobcats restored some hope of earning a home game in the first round of the MAC tournament with an impressive 83-71 victory on Thursday over the Buffalo Bulls.  The loss by Buffalo inflicts significant harm to their hopes of earning the 4th seed in the tournament, as well as a bye to the third round.

The Bobcats scored the game's first seven points, but the Bulls fought back for a 13-5 run that gave Buffalo a 13-12 lead with 11:26 left in the first half.  However, Mariah Byard drilled a 3-pointer for Ohio less than a minute later, and the Bobcats took back the lead (15-13).

Two minutes later, Ohio still led just 21-18.  From there, they embarked on a 13-3 run over the next seen minutes, and when Byard sank another trey with 2:16 remaining in the half, Ohio led 34-21 and had full control of the game.  Buffalo made just one field goal during the run.

The Bulls were able to score nine points in the half's final two minutes, but Ohio scored six of their own and took a 40-30 lead to the locker room.

Buffalo fought valiantly to stay in the game during the second half.  A 3-pointer by Margeaux Gupilan cut Ohio's lead to 49-44 just 5:12 into the half.  Six minutes later, another three (this time by Karin Moss) got Buffalo to within four points (58-54).  However, that's as close as the Bulls could get.  The Bobcats went on an 11-3 run late in the second half to seal the game, as they eventually won by 12 points.

Both teams shot roughly similar percentages, and the rebounding difference was just one (37-36, Ohio).  The Bobcats ultimately won in large part due to their 43 attempts from the free throw line.  Buffalo was called for 29 fouls, and Ohio made 32 of their free throw attempts.

Quiera Lampkins led Ohio with 27 points, and she was an astounding 17-of-21 from the free throw line.  Byard added 21 points, and Lexie Baldwin scored 15.  Baldwin also led Ohio with eight rebounds.  Four players scored in double figures for the Bulls, and Moss led the team with 19 points.  Ohio held Mackenzie Loesing to just 13 points.

Ohio's victory improves their record to 9-17 overall and 4-11 in the MAC.  Their next game is at Bowling Green on Sunday.  Buffalo falls to 15-11 overall and 8-7 in the MAC.  They resume play on Saturday at Miami.

WESTERN MICHIGAN 81, Eastern Michigan 72

The Western Michigan Broncos won their third game in a row with an 81-72 decision over the Eastern Michigan Eagles in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Wednesday night.  With the victory, WMU now controls their own destiny for the 4th seed in the upcoming MAC tournament.  If they earn that 4th seed, they would also earn a bye to the third round of the tournament.

WMU got off to a slow start and trailed the Eagles 4-2 after three and a half minutes.  However, a 3-pointer by Michelle O'Brien woke up the offense, and the Broncos went on a 20-4 run that lasted seven minutes.  EMU went ice-cold from the floor and made just two of 16 shots during the Broncos' run.  Meanwhile, the Broncos made half of their 14 shots, and O'Brien capped the run with another trey for a 22-8 lead.

The Eagles would not let the game get away from them, and they went on a run of their own.  Two tip-ins by Olivia Fouty got the momentum started, and Cha Sweeney's 3-pointer finished the 18-6 burst.  With 4:26 left in the first half, EMU trailed just 28-26.

The teams each sank just one field goal for the rest of the half and none in the final 2:47.  A pair of Phillis Webb free throws inside the final minute tied the game at 30 for EMU, and that's how the game went to halftime.

EMU scored the first points of the second half on a tip-in by Natachia Watkins, and that gave the Eagles a brief 32-30 lead.  However, the Broncos followed with an 18-6 run of their own to wrestle control of the game back in their favor.  EMU quickly cut the lead back to four, but a 7-0 mini-run by the Broncos pushed their advantage back to 11 (57-46) with 8:16 left.

The Broncos would not lead by fewer than six for the remainder of the game and ultimately cruised to an 81-72 win.

The Eagles turned the ball over just seven times, but they were out-rebounded 54-36 and were out-shot 47.5-36.3 percent.

Three players dominated the game for the Broncos.  Marquisha Harris led the team with 28 points and pulled down eight rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench.  O'Brien and Miracle Woods both earned double-doubles.  O'Brien finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Woods added 22 points and 13 rebounds.  EMU's Cha Sweeney led all players with 33 points.

Western Michigan is now 12-14 overall and 8-7 against the MAC.  They host Ball State on Saturday afternoon.  Eastern Michigan drops to 5-10 in the MAC and 15-11 overall.  Their next game is on Sunday when they host Northern Illinois.  That game may ultimately determine the final home team in the first round of the MAC tournament.

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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 14 1 24 3 vs Ohio (3/2)
Akron 12 3 18 8 at KSU (3/2)
Buffalo 8 7 15 11 at Miami (3/1)
Ohio 4 11 9 17 at BGSU (3/2)
Miami 3 12 7 19 vs Buffalo (3/1)
Kent State 3 12 6 20 vs Akron (3/2)
Western Division Won Lost Won Lost Next Game
Central Michigan 14 1 18 9 at Toledo (32/)
Toledo
8 7 13 13 vs CMU (3/2)
Western Michigan
8 7 12 14 vs BSU (3/1)
Ball State
6 9 11 15 at WMU (3/1)
Eastern Michigan
5 10 15 11 vs NIU (3/2)
Northern Illinois
5 10 9 16 at EMU (3/2)

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Here's how the MAC Tournament bracket would appear if the festivities began today:

ROUND SEED TEAM VS. SEED TEAM
1st 5 Buffalo vs. 12 Kent State
1st 8 Northern Illinois vs. 9 Eastern Michigan
1st 7 Ball State
vs. 10 Ohio
1st 6 Toledo vs. 11 Miami
ROUND SEED TEAM VS. SEED TEAM
2nd Buffalo or KSU vs. NIU or EMU
2nd BSU or Ohio vs. Toledo or Miami
ROUND SEED TEAM VS. SEED TEAM
QF 4 Western Michigan
vs. 5, 8, 9 or 12
QF 3 Akron vs. 6, 7, 10 or 11
ROUND SEED TEAM VS. SEED TEAM
SF 1 CMU or BGSU
vs. 4, 5, 8, 9, or 12
SF 2 CMU or BGSU
vs. 3, 6, 7, 10 or 11
ROUND SEED TEAM VS. SEED TEAM
Champ. SF #1 winner vs. SF #2 winner
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