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MAC Women's Basketball Roundup: Thursday, January 30th

Bowling Green and Central Michigan each trailed by double-digits but recovered to win handily. Meanwhile, Akron continued to impress by steamrolling Toledo on the road, and Buffalo squeaked by Miami for their fifth straight win.

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(Click links for box-scores.)


Learning how to win is often the biggest hurdle young, talented teams must overcome, and so it is for the 2014 Ohio Bobcats. For the second consecutive game, Ohio held a lead late in the second half at home and could not hold it.  Ohio led by ten in the first half and as much as seven with under ten minutes left in the game but ultimately lost by 16 in Athens on Thursday night.

The Bowling Green Falcons got off to a very hot start in the first half.  They sank three of their first four shots and got three shots from the free throw line on offense during the first three minutes while their defense forced three early turnovers.  A three by Miriam Justinger at the 3:01 mark gave BGSU a 10-0 lead.  Ohio finally got on the scoreboard on the next possession, at the 3:23 mark, thanks to a three by Kiyanna Black.  The Bobcats would sink two more threes over the next few minutes, but they still trailed 19-9 with 11:42 left in the half.

Ohio began to turn the game around after the second media timeout.  After both teams failed to score on a pair of possessions, Destini Cooper made Ohio's fourth three-pointer of the half.  That score cut BGSU's lead to 19-12, and the lead remained seven until an offensive rebound led to a Quiera Lampkins layup with 7:02 left in the half.  Lampkins was fouled on the play and sank the free throw, and that began a 19-2 run by the Bobcats.  Lampkins scored the first six points in the run, and Hannah Boesinger sank two threes.  When it was over, Ohio had their biggest lead of the game, 35-25, with under three minutes remaining in the period.

Bowling Green made only one field goal during the final eight minutes of the half, but their defense finally clamped down in the final three minutes.  Alexis Rogers was able to get to the free throw line three times, and she was successful on each of her six attempts.  Those free throws cut the Ohio lead to 35-31 at halftime.

Both teams shot well in the first half.  Ohio made 48.3% (14/29) while BGSU sank 52.6% (10/19) of theirs.  The Bobcats made six three-pointers to just two by the Falcons, but Bowling Green led 9-1 in made free throws.  The difference in the half was turnovers and offensive rebounds. Ohio forced nine turnovers and gave up just four, and they pulled down three offensive rebounds to just one by BGSU.  The Bobcats ended the half with a 16-5 edge in points resulting from those turnovers and rebounds.

Boesinger nailed another three within the first minute of the second half to give Ohio a seven-point lead.  The two teams would play even for the following ten minutes, and an old-fashioned three-point play by Lampkins with 9:20 left gave Ohio a 58-51 lead.  That's where the fun ended for the Bobcats.

BGSU began a run with free throws from Rogers and Jill Stein, and they tied the game at 58 on a three by Deborah Hoekstra.  Stein's layup with 7:21 remaining made it a 9-0 run and gave BGSU its first lead since 23-21 in the first half.  Lexie Baldwin briefly tied the game at 60 with 7:04 left, but her layup would be Ohio's last field goal of the contest.

On the next possession, Rogers connected on a three to give BGSU the lead for good.  The shot started a 12-0 run by the Falcons that put the game away.  Seven of the 12 points were scored at the free throw line, and all 12 points came from Rogers, Hoekstra and Jillian Halfhill.

Kiyanna Black got to the charity stripe and made both free throws to cut the BGSU lead to 72-62 with 3:50 left, but Ohio would not score again.  BGSU controlled the clock and scored six more points in the final minutes for a 78-62 victory.  The Bobcats missed their final eight shot attempts.

While the two teams were similarly accurate in the first half, they were not in the second.  Bowling Green made 14 of their 24 shots (58.3%), including five of their eight three-pointers.  They also connected on 14 of their 16 free throw attempts.  Ohio, on the other hand, was just 10-for-29 (34.5%) from the floor and made only two of their 13 attempts from long range.  For the game, both teams were essentially even in points from the floor; the difference was at the free throw line.  BGSU was 23-for-25, while Ohio was just 6-for-9.  The Falcons also ultimately dominated on the glass and finished with a 37-20 edge in rebounds.  Ohio had four defensive rebounds in the entire second half.

Five players scored in double figures for BGSU.  Alexis Rogers led all scorers with 20 points, and she added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.  Jillian Halfhill added 16, and Jill Stein scored 12 while contributing 18 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.  Kiyanna Black led Ohio with 12 points.  Quiera Lampkins and Kat Yelle scored ten each.

Bowling Green improves to 17-3 overall and 7-1 in the MAC with the victory.  Their next contest will be on Sunday at Toledo.  The "Battle of I-75" will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel.  Ohio drops to 8-11 and 3-5 in the MAC.  Life gets no easier for the Bobcats on Sunday, as they must travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. for a game with Central Michigan.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 82, Eastern Michigan 67

For a few minutes on Thursday night, the Eastern Michigan Eagles dominated the Central Michigan Chippewas.  Then, midnight struck, and the reality of CMU's dominance set in.  The Chippewas ultimately walked away from the battle with a 15-point victory and their best start in Mid-American Conference play in 30 years.

CMU took a 3-1 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game, but the following 5:30 was a nightmare.  The Eagles went on a 15-0 run, which was propelled by their freshman stars Janay Morton and Cha Sweeney.  Morton scored the first eight points and Sweeney the final four in the burst, and those points were sandwiched around a three by Olivia Fouty.  Sweeney's jumper at the 6:39 mark gave EMU a 16-3 lead.

The Chippewas quickly responded like champions.  Three-pointers by Niki DiGuilio and Taylor Johnson within a 60-second span cut the lead to 16-9 and started a 16-0 run for CMU.  Johnson sank two more triples for the Chippewas during the run, and they held the Eagles without a field goal for over seven minutes.  Sweeney ended a streak of 14 straight missed shots by EMU by sinking a three to tie the game at 19 with 5:51 remaining in the half. The teams traded blows to get to 23-23, but during the final 3:30 of the half, Eastern Michigan missed their final six shots while DiGuilio and Crystal Bradford nailed threes for Central Michigan.  CMU went to the half with a 29-23 lead.

The frantic first half featured 79 shots from the field, including 37 from three-point range.  Both teams shot under 30 percent, but EMU in particular had a difficult time.  The Eagles made only nine of their 43 attempts (20.9%).  The half featured 63 rebounds -- more than in the entire BGSU-Ohio game -- and 17 on offense.  CMU held the edge on the glass, 35-28.  However, the half was relatively clean.  The teams combined for only eight turnovers and nine shots from the free throw line.  EMU had only one turnover in the entire half.

Eastern Michigan tried to rally early in the second half, and Morton tied the game at 31 with a three-pointer at the 1:54 mark.  CMU again responded, this time with a 17-3 run.  The burst was keyed by Bradford and Kerby Tamm, who both hit a pair of threes.  Taylor Johnson also scored four during that time, and her two free throws with 12:43 left in the game gave the Chippewas a 48-34 edge.

Eastern Michigan finally got their first basket in nearly four minutes on a Morton layup with 12:31 left, and they were able to cut their deficit to nine at the midpoint of the second half.  After a quick 5-0 spurt by the Chippewas, the Eagles cut the lead to seven with 6:00 left.  However, CMU went on one final run to put the game away.  This 13-4 run was fueled by five points each from Jessica Green and Jas'Mine Bracey, and five of the 13 points were created at the free throw line.  With 2:51 left, CMU led 75-59, and they would end the game with an 82-67 victory.

Both teams shot the ball much better in the second half, and their point totals in the final 20 minutes nearly doubled their output in the first.  For the game, CMU was 29-for-78 (37.2%) overall and 11-for-35 (31.4%) from three.  EMU shot 26-for-82 (31.7%) overall and 7-for-24 (29.2%) from long range.  The teams combined for just 21 turnovers, including just eight by the Eagles.  On the boards, CMU held a 64-48 advantage and secured 22 on the offensive end.  They led 23-9 in second-chance points.

Bracey finished the game with 25 points and 16 rebounds, including nine on offense.  Bradford led all players with 17 rebounds.  She added 16 points and five assists.  Johnson came off the bench to contribute a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.  EMU's freshmen stars Sweeney and Morton scored 52 of the team's 67 points, and each poured in 26.  Natachia Watkins led the Eagles with 15 rebounds, and she also scored seven points.

CMU's victory improves their record to 8-0 in the MAC and 12-8 overall.  This is their first 8-0 start in conference play since the 1983-84 season, and their eight-game winning streak is the team's longest under head coach Sue Guevara.  The Chippewas will take the floor at home again on Sunday against Ohio.  EMU's loss drops the team to 2-6 in the conference and 12-7 overall.  The Eagles host Miami on Sunday.

Akron 82, TOLEDO 62

The Akron Zips continued to show the rest of the MAC that they are not to be taken lightly, as they thoroughly dismantled the Toledo Rockets in an 82-62 victory on Thursday night in Toledo, Ohio.  The win is the fourth consecutive for the Zips and moves them into a tie for the third-best record in the Mid-American Conference.

Akron blitzed Toledo from the very start.  The Zips scored the first five points of the game and led 10-2 after just 2:42 had elapsed.  The score stood at 15-5 three minutes later when Akron went on a 10-0 run to put the game away.  Four different players scored during the two-minute burst, and the Zips led by an astounding 25-5 margin with over 11 minutes left in the first half.  Toledo was just 2-for-15 from the floor with four turnovers while the Zips were building their 20 point lead.

It appeared as if Toledo would recover when the Rockets went on a 7-0 run and held Akron without a field goal for nearly three minutes just past the mid-point of the first half.  A layup by Janice Monakana with 7:29 left in the half made the score 29-16, but Kacie Cassell sank a three for Akron on the next possession.  The Rockets would not get closer than 15 points for the rest of the game.  Cassell's three started an 11-4 spurt by Akron that upped their lead back to 20, and they ended the half with a 48-26 edge.

Toledo briefly renewed their faint hopes by scoring the first five points of the second half, but when Rachel Tecca made an "and-one" layup with 18:07 left, Akron reclaimed a 20-point (51-31) lead.  That seemed to permanently take the wind out of Toledo's sails, and they would get no closer.  In fact, that three-point play started a 12-0 run that gave Akron its biggest lead, 29 points (60-31).  From there, they cruised to their 82-62 victory.

Akron made 47 percent of their attempted shots during the game, while Toledo could only manage to connect on 31.5% of theirs.  From long range, the Zips made only eight of their 24 attempts, but that was far better than the Rockets did.  Toledo attempted 26 threes but sank just three (11.5%).  Toledo was also rather poor from the free throw line, with 13 makes in 21 attempts (61.9%).  Toledo did win the rebounding battle 47-45, including 19-9 on the offensive side, but they gave up 17 turnovers and allowed 24 points as a result.  When the game was still in doubt, Akron scored 18 points off nine Toledo giveaways in the first half.

Thirteen different players saw floor time for Akron, and four scored in double-figures.  Hanna Luburgh led the team with 23 points, while Rachel Tecca scored 16.  Tecca also pulled down 11 rebounds for another double-double, and she dished out a career-best six assists.  Carly Young scored 15 and Antia Brown added ten in a combined 49 minutes off the bench.  Inma Zanoguera led Toledo players with 13 points.  Three others scored in double figures, including Janice Monakana and Ana Capotosto, who each scored ten.  Monakana added nine rebounds, while Capotosto pulled down eight.

Akron is now 11-8 overall and 5-3 in MAC play due to this victory.  The Zips are now tied with Buffalo for the third-best record in the MAC, and they will host the Bulls on Sunday in what promises to be one of the better games of the MAC season.  Toledo drops to 9-10 overall and is 4-4 in MAC play.  They are now in a four-way tie at 4-4 in the MAC West.  The Rockets return to the floor on Sunday with a televised home game against Bowling Green.

BUFFALO 58, Miami 56

The Buffalo Bulls continued their recovery from an 0-3 start to the conference season with a 58-56 victory at home over the Miami RedHawks on Thursday night.  The win is the fifth consecutive for the Bulls, and for the second time during that streak, the win came on a last-second shot.

The two teams combined for a very slow start.  They each missed their first four shots and committed a total of three turnovers during the game's first 2:30.  Finally, Nicole Anderson sank a three for Miami to give the RedHawks a 3-0 lead at the 2:39 mark.  Margeaux Gupilan answered with a three just 50 seconds later to erase Miami's only lead of the game.

Three-pointers were the only scoring for the first eight minutes of the game.  Kristen Sharkey hit one to give Buffalo a 6-3 lead, but Hannah McCue tied the game at six shortly after.  Gupilan nailed two more three-pointers for a 12-6 Bulls advantage, but Jessica Rupright answered with another Miami three.  With 12:55 left in the half, Buffalo led 12-9.

Miami's offense went ice-cold for the final 13 minutes of the half.  Buffalo went on a 7-0 run and held Miami without any field goals for over seven minutes to take a 19-9 lead.  A Nicole Anderson layup for Miami with 5:03 left in the half ended that streak, and that started a 7-0 run for Miami.  Maddie McCallie was fouled trying to shoot a three and sank all three free throws, and Courtney Larson made another two from the line to fuel that short run.

Buffalo responded with three more triples from Gupilan before halftime, including two within the final 30 seconds and one at the buzzer.  Despite allowing one more Miami field goal with 37 seconds remaining, the Bulls went to halftime with a 30-20 lead.  Miami shot just 5-for-29 (17.2%) in the first half and made seven of their 20 points from the free throw line.  Gupilan scored 18 of Buffalo's 30 points but connecting on six of her eight attempts from three-point range.

The RedHawks scored the first six points of the second half to cut Buffalo's lead to four.  The teams exchanged two 5-0 mini-runs, and Miami trailed just 36-32 with 12:45 left.  However, Buffalo worked the lead back up slowly and increased it to as much as 12.  They still led by 11, 54-43, with 3:38 remaining after a layup by Mackenzie Loesing.  Miami then went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 56 with 13 seconds left.  During that time, Buffalo committed six turnovers and made just one of four shots.  The Bulls also helped by sending Miami to the line for six free throws, and the RedHawks converted all six attempts.  Miami also got a three from Nicole Anderson during the run.

Buffalo's Karin Moss took the ball inbounds with 13 seconds left and, with four seconds left, got to the basket for the lay-in and a 58-56 lead.  Miami was not able to get a shot off during the final few seconds, and the Bulls were able to celebrate another win.

Miami made just 16 of 63 shots (25.4%) and only 19 of 26 free throws (73.1%).  They did have a 53-43 edge in rebounding, including 22-13 on offense, but those 22 offensive rebounds led to just 14 second-chance points.  Buffalo's 35.5% shooting an inability to get to the free throw line (11 total attempts) allowed Miami to stay in the game, but the RedHawks' poor shooting prevented them from winning it.

Gupilan finished the game with a team-high 20 points for Buffalo.  Loesing added 19, and Christa Baccas led the team with 12 rebounds.  Jillian Spurlock had 13 points and six rebounds for Miami.  Hannah Robertson added ten points, and Nicole Anderson fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

Buffalo improves to 12-7 and 5-3 in MAC play with the victory.  They travel to Akron for a very important game on Sunday with the Zips.  The Bulls' five game winning streak is just one shy of their all-time best in conference games.  Miami's loss drops their record to 6-13 and 2-6 in the MAC.  Their next action is on Sunday at Eastern Michigan.


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

Conference Conference Overall Overall
Eastern Division Won Lost Won Lost Next Game
Bowling Green 7 1 17 3 at Toledo (2/2)
Buffalo 5 3 12 7 at Akron (2/2)
Akron 5 3 11 8 vs Buffalo (2/2)
Ohio 3 5 8 11 at CMU (2/2)
Miami 2 6 6 13 at EMU (2/2)
Kent State 0 8 3 16 vs BSU (2/2)
Western Division Won Lost Won Lost
Central Michigan 8 0 12 8 vs Ohio (2/2)
4 4 9 10 vs BGSU (2/2)
Ball State
4 4 9 10 at KSU (2/2)
Northern Illinois
4 4 8 10 at WMU (2/1)
Western Michigan
4 4 8 11 vs NIU (2/1)
Eastern Michigan
2 6 12 7 vs Miami (2/2)