2014 is upon us MAC fans, and with it brings some spine-tinglingly exciting MAC Women's Basketball. Teams such as Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green are off to flying starts (and they're both birds too!) and others such as battle-tested Central Michigan dig in as they fight for their MAC lives.
So who stood out in their first games of MAC play?
Mid-American Conference Eastern Division Player of the Week
Alexis Rogers, Bowling Green Falcons (Forward, Senior)
Highlighting a week of good performances in the first week of MAC play, Alexis Rogers led the way for the Falcons in a 62-50 win over Buffalo in the Stroh Center this past Saturday. The 6'1'' senior forward poured in 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in helping the Falcons outboard the Bulls by 16 (51-35). Those 17 rebounds were the most by a Bowling Green player since Lauren Prochaska had 17 in a March 22, 2009 victory over Syracuse in the NIT (Credit BGSU athletics for that stat). A reigning second team All-MAC selection, Rogers has started off the year strong in leading the team in points per game (13.4) while being second in rebounds (8.4).
Up next for the Falcons are the Kent State Golden Flashes who they will travel to play next Thursday. They also host Akron next Sunday.
Mid-American Conference Western Division Player of the Week
Crystal Bradford, Central Michigan Chippewas (Guard, Junior)
Crystal Bradford came into the 2013-2014 basketball season with plenty of hype surrounding her. After a season in which she put up 16.1 points a game, blocked nearly two shots a game, and plucked 9.9 rebounds per contest AND a summer at the World University games where she greatly impressed, Bradford has led a team that struggled immensely in non-conference play.
Central Michigan came into the week with a 4-7 record, having lost to several big-time programs like Duke and Kentucky, but now headed into conference play has brighter prospects looking forward. So maybe these tough match ups mean good things for CMU down the road. Bradford put together a gaudy stat line of 24 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks in an 89-102 loss to Dayton on Monday Dec. 30, after having beaten them at the start of the month on a Bradford buzzer-beater. Then, in the Chippewas first MAC contest on Saturday, Bradford led her team to an 84-71 victory over the visiting Toledo Rockets. She scored 24 points once more, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out five assists. Expect her to win this award many more times in the 2013-2014 season.
The Chippewas look to put together a win streak as they go to Akron on Thursday, and then go to Buffalo for a Sunday afternoon contest.
Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Week
Cha Sweeney, Eastern Michigan Eagles (Guard, Freshman)
In what was an easy selection (though not at all indicative of play in the MAC) Eastern Michigan's Cha Sweeney takes home freshman of the week honors. The 5'2'' frosh guard out of Toledo scored 21 and 19 points respectively in games against Lawrence Tech and Kent State. In the Lawrence Tech performance on Tuesday, Sweeney showcased her athletic arsenal, hitting three 3's, while going 7-for-11 from the floor, and had six rebounds. Yes the 5'2 guard did this.
She mixed it up among the post players all game, hitting several shots in the lane and around the basket to compliment her perimeter game. In the Kent State game on Saturday, Sweeney added five assists and three steals go with that point total. She hit another pair of 3-point buckets, in what was a solid performance in her team's first MAC game - and win.
Eastern Michigan is set up for a good MAC start as they take on Ball State at home on Thursday and travel to Northern Illinois on Sunday to take on the Huskies.