Four teams from our beloved conference made an appearance in this season’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which hosts 64 teams. Three of the four advanced past the first round, but only Ohio was able to make it to the “Sweet Sixteen”. Here is a brief rundown of the tournament so far.
Miami played host to Western Kentucky. The RedHawks fired out to an early lead, only to go cold in the second half. Miami rallied late, only to fall 67-63. Lauren Dickerson finished with 25.
The prognosis for next season is very good for coach Megan Duffy’s squad. A brutal conference schedule wore out the RedHawks, yet they showed heart through out. I expect big things from Miami next season.
Kent State Golden Flashes
After finding themselves down 13 in the third, Kent State rallied to knock off host Green Bay in their first round game. Seniors and underclassmen alike contributed to the rally, with junior Megan Carter leading the team with 21 points while Merissa Barber-Smith finished with 15 boards.
A cold shooting Kent team was routed in their second round game by Butler.
Kent State should be optimistic about the future. The first round win was Kent’s first postseason win since 1996. Key contributors Megan Carter, Lindsey Thall and Asiah Dingle should all return next season. Thall will be a redshirt sophomore, while Dingle will be a sophomore.
Tricia Cullop became the Rocket’s all time winningest coach with their first round win against Seton Hall. They were led by seniors Kaayla McIntyre and Mikaela Boyd. However, many younger players also contributed.
A common theme, the Rockets went cold in their second game loss to Northwestern.
Rockets fans should be sad the great careers of McIntyre and Boyd have come to an end, but there is still plenty of things to be happy about in Toledo. With an all-time great coach, and a solid core of players to work with, I expect Toledo to be in the thick of things next season, as well.
The Bobcats won their first round game against High Point thanks to a gutty 4th quarter. In their second round contest, they also went cold, but again were able to gut out a win.
Like their MAC sisters, they also went cold in the second game, but were able to gut out a win against Middle Tennessee. They face Western Kentucky in the third round.
Ohio might have the biggest upside going into next season of any of these teams, or any team in the conference. However, after such a fantastic season for the conference, and so many great players returning, there is no reason to think the good times wont keep rolling in 2020.