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MAC Women's Basketball Roundup: Saturday, January 25th

Central Michigan unleashed every bit of their offensive firepower in a rout of Western Michigan, while Kent State lost by double-digits for the seventh time in seven conference games.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

(Click links for box-scores.)

Central Michigan 113, WESTERN MICHIGAN 87

Every facet of Central Michigan's offense was on full display today as the Chippewas tied a school record with 68 first-half points on the way to a 113-87 rout of the Western Michigan Broncos in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Saturday afternoon.

The clinic by CMU was frighteningly good.  Their five starters combined for 99 points, with none scoring fewer than 12 and three scoring more than 20.  Each attempted at least 11 shots and each converted at least six.  The lowest percentage among the five was 45.8% by Crystal Bradford; the other four starters were better than 50%.

How do you possibly stop that?  And is there any question left as to why no MAC team has beaten the Chippewas this season?

The frantic pace of the first half was set immediately when WMU's A.J. Johnson attempted a three just seven seconds into the game.  Only eight seconds later, Niki DiGuilio sank a three for the game's first points.  Central Michigan maintained a lead for the first four minutes of the game as the teams traded blows.  They combined for 12 baskets in those first four minutes as CMU built a 13-12 lead.  When the Broncos' Marquisha Harris sank a jumper to take a 14-13 lead at the 4:07 mark, it was the first of an amazing ten lead changes that would take place over a crazy four-minute span that took the teams to the second media timeout.  Eleven more shots were made during that time, including threes by CMU's DiGuilio and Kerby Tamm.  With 11:53 left in the half, the score was already 25-24 in favor of the Chippewas.

Central Michigan took over the contest at that point.  Starting with a Bradford layup that gave CMU the 25-24 lead, the Chippewas went on a 16-5 run.  Bradford's tip-in with 6:46 left in the half gave CMU their first double-digit lead at 39-29.  The teams traded points for the next two minutes, and with 5:00 remaining, the score was 44-35 in CMU's favor.  DiGuilio and Jas'Mine Bracey then led another Chippewa run, as CMU outscored the Broncos 24-8 during the final five minutes of the half.  DiGuilio scored ten points during the run, including two three-pointers.  She was fouled on a third and converted all three free throws.

When the teams went to the locker rooms, the Chippewas held a 68-43 lead.  The 68 points tied a school record for points in a half, and that record was 30 years old.  DiGuilio sank five shots from long range and scored 21 points.

There was no drama in the second half, outside of the question of whether or not CMU would break their school record for points in a game.  They did not, as they scored (only) 45 points in the second half by slowing down their pace (a little).  The Chippewas led by as much as 34 and never less than 20, and they won by 26.

Central Michigan put up 90 shots during the game, while Western Michigan had just 63.  How did CMU managed nearly 50% more shots than WMU?  That's the story of the game.  The Chippewas earned 20 offensive rebounds and 47 total, while the Broncos pulled down just 10 on offense and 35 overall.  CMU also forced 16 turnovers while losing just nine.  This led to a 35-7 advantage for CMU in second-chance points and a 18-11 edge in points off turnovers.  In total, that's a difference of 35 points (53-18) -- nine more than CMU's victory margin.

CMU made exactly 50% of their shots, while WMU did slightly better (50.8%).  The Chippewas made 11 more three-pointers (13-2) but that was canceled out when the Broncos made 11 more free throws (21-10).  Again, the difference in the game was the turnovers and offensive rebounds.

DiGuilio played all 40 minutes and finished with 27 points and four rebounds.  She made eight of her 15 shots and six of her 12 attempts from three-point land.  Tamm also made six three-pointers and was 7-for-11 from the floor as she scored 20 points.  Bradford added 23 points and 13 rebounds on 11-for-24 shooting, while Bracey had 17 points and 11 rebounds.  Jessica Green was the low scorer for CMU's starters but she has 12 points and five assists.  For Western Michigan, Miracle Woods scored 36 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.  She made 12 of her 19 shots and was 12-for-16 from the free throw line.  Jessica Jessing added 12 points off the Broncos' bench.

CMU improves to 7-0 in MAC play and 11-8 overall.  WMU drops to 4-3 in MAC games and 8-9 overall.

MIAMI 72, Kent State 62

In a battle of teams that had combined to win just one of their first 12 conference games, the Miami RedHawks.successfully defended their home turf with a ten-point victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Ohio.  Miami improved their overall record to 6-12, and they are now 2-4 in MAC play.  Kent State's loss drops their record to 3-15 overall and 0-7 in the MAC.

The Golden Flashes scored the first points of the game on a jumper by Janae Peterson during the opening minute, but both teams struggled on offense early.  Miami missed their first six shots and had four turnovers during the first 6:20, while Kent State missed their nine shots after the opening basket and committed three turnovers during the first 7:20.  A three by Miami's Hannah Robertson and a layup by KSU's Ashley Evans ended the futility, and the teams traded the lead back and forth for the next several minutes.  The game was tied five times and featured three lead changes, but Jillian Spurlock converted a layup for Miami with 6:24 left in the half to give the RedHawks an 18-16 lead.  They would hold the lead for the rest of the game.  Starting with the Spurlock basket, Miami outscored 17-10 for the rest of the half and went to halftime with a 33-26 lead.

During the early part of the second half, Kent State cut the Miami lead to three, then survived a 10-3 Miami run to trim the deficit back to five (45-40) with 11:40 remaining in the game.  However, the RedHawks answered with a 16-1 run that lasted four minutes and gave them a 61-41 lead.  Jessica Rupright and Hannah McCue started the run with a pair of threes, and Kelsey Simon finished it with six straight points.  The Golden Flashes were able to cut the lead in half over the final seven minutes, but Miami's lead had grown too large to overcome.  Miami won by 10, 72-62.

Both teams finished the game with roughly similar shooting percentages, but Miami had several more opportunities at the free throw line.  They ended the game making 22 of 30 free throws compared to just 12 of 18 for Kent State.  Miami also outrebounded Kent State 44-31, and the RedHawks had 17 rebounds on offense, which led to a 16-3 edge in second-chance points.

Simon led Miami with 16 points, and she pulled down 12 rebounds.  Nicole Anderson added 14 points, while Jillian Spurlock contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists.  Three players from Kent State scored in double figures.  Rachel Mendelsohn led all scorers with 19 points.  Ashley Evans scored 12, and Amber Dunlap earned 11 points.

Both teams resume MAC play on the road.  Miami plays next at Buffalo on Thursday, while Kent State plays at Northern Illinois on Wednesday night.


Now, here's a look at the updated MAC standings...

Conference Conference Overall Overall
Eastern Division Won Lost Won Lost Next Game
Bowling Green 5 1 15 3 vs NIU (1/26)
Buffalo 3 3 10 7 at BSU (1/26)
Akron 3 3 9 8 at EMU (1/26)
Ohio 3 3 8 9 vs Toledo (1/26)
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)
Ball State
3 3 8 9 vs Buffalo (1/26)
3 3 8 9 at Ohio (1/26)
Northern Illinois
3 3 7 9 at BGSU (1/26)
Eastern Michigan
2 4 12 5 vs Akron (1/26)