The Wednesday of the MAC basketball tournament is my favorite. It’s a day where the women’s game is featured. In a conference this loaded with talent, there are always plenty of exciting games to watch. Here is a brief rundown of the action.
Central Michigan Chippewas, 88, Eastern Michigan Eagles, 80 (OT)
I may sound like a broken record, but lost in this stratospheric rise of the conference is the rebirth of the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Eagles took an early lead in this game, and took the best shots of the Chippewas and were leading late. However, as she has done many times, Presley Hudson hit a dagger of a three to send it to overtime. The experienced and determined Chippewas then closed out the game against a tired Eagles squad. Hudson finished with 28 points, while her teammate and MAC PotY Reyna Frost also finished with 28 and had 13 rebounds to go with. Four Eastern Michigan Eagles scored in double figures, with Jenna Annecchiarico with 21. Kiara Johnson was the only Eagles starter not in double figures but did have 8 points and 10 rebounds. There are no moral victories, though this Eagles performance was close.
Cierra Dillard and company overwhelmed the Golden Flashes, setting up a pivotal match up against Central Michigan in the third round. Megan Carter paced the Golden Flashes with 19 and added 7 rebounds, while Dillard led the Bulls with 22.
Ohio Bobcats 72, Northern Illinois Huskies 56
The future is so bright, Bob Boldon has to wear shades. The Bobcats mostly dominated the game, though the Huskies did make a late run. Sophomore Gabby Burris led the Bobcats with 19, while MAC Freshman of the Year Erica Johnson added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore CeCe Hooks added 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, while just turning it over once. Junior Amani Burke also scored in double figures. The Huskies were led by Gabby Nikitinaite. The sophomore from Orpington, UK, had 23 points and 12 rebounds. Mikayla Voigt added 14. Hopefully this was not this brilliant senior’s last game and the Huskies play in the post season.
Miami RedHawks 72, Toledo Rockets 54.
Savannah Kluesner had a monster first half with 16 points and 5 rebounds, while Miami teammate Leah Purvis wasn’t far behind, adding 11 points. The duo helped Miami build a 35 to 24 lead over the Rockets.
Miami continued to impress in the second half, showing the NCAA selection committee they are deserving of a bid. Even though they struggle to score, any women’s college basketball fan knows that Toledo is a tough out.
As Toledo fell to 20-11 on the season, they showed what they have shown all season. They can play great basketball, except putting the ball through the hoop. That is the sign of a well coached team, and there is plenty of reason for them to be optimistic for next season.