(Click links for box-scores.)
Bowling Green 66, TOLEDO 59
The Falcons struggled offensively at times on Sunday at Savage Arena, but 16 free throws in the game's final seven minutes helped them overcome a halftime deficit and defeat the Rockets by seven. Alexis Rogers scored 22 and secured 12 rebounds in the victory, while Andola Dortch and Inma Zanoguera each had 13 points and five rebounds for Toledo. BGSU is now 8-1 in the MAC, while Toledo is just 4-5.
Read our complete recap of the game HERE.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 80, Ohio 63
The Chippewas led for all but one and a half minutes and continued their unbeaten march through the MAC with a 17-point victory over the Bobcats. CMU featured five players who scored in double figures, and that group was led by Jas'Mine Bracey, who scored 18 and added 12 rebounds. Crystal Bradford was held to an uncharacteristic 10 points, but she also contributed eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal. Kiyanna Black made five 3-pointers to lead Ohio with 17 points. CMU remains perfect in MAC play at 9-0. The loss drops Ohio's MAC record to 3-6.
Read all about the CMU victory right HERE.
AKRON 101, Buffalo 92
The Zips and Bulls entered their contest in Akron, Ohio on Sunday with a combined nine-game winning streak following a 1-6 start to MAC competition. Sole possession of second place in the MAC East and the MAC's third-best record was on the line, and both teams played as if the game meant everything. Akron outlasted Buffalo 101-92.
The first half was fast-paced and intense. The teams combined to send off 66 shots and commit 16 turnovers as Akron built a 51-42 lead at the break. The Bulls tried to be physical, but their aggression led to a very lopsided foul situation. Akron was called for just four fouls in the first 20 minutes, with none coming from their five starters. On the other hand, Buffalo was whistled for 13. Four of their five starters and six players overall went to halftime with two fouls each.
Ultimately, this meant that Akron got 20 free throw attempts (and made 16), while Buffalo had none. Rachel Tecca benefited the most from this, as she was 11-of-13 from the line and had 17 points by halftime.
Akron was also better from the outside in the first half, as they made 5-of-8 3-pointers compared to just 4-of-14 by Buffalo, and this helped Hanna Luburgh and Hannah Plybon reach halftime with 12 points apiece. Fortunately for Buffalo, the Bulls played well on the inside and outscored Akron 22-12 in the paint. Kristen Sharkey led the Bulls with 12 points at the half.
The teams traded threes to start the game, but a Sharkey jumper gave Buffalo a 5-3 lead. They would keep the lead for almost the entire half and built it to 12 (34-22) on a Margeaux Gupilan three with 8:55 left in the half. The Bulls then went four minutes without a field goal, and that helped the Zips go on a 27-4 run. That flipped the score to 49-38 for an 11-point Akron lead, and the Zips wouldn't trail again. They led at halftime 51-42.
In the second half, everything went well for Buffalo on the offensive end. The Bulls shot 51.6 percent, earned eight offensive rebounds, got to the free throw line for 18 attempts, and turned the ball over three times. Unfortunately, Akron did nearly as well, and that doomed the Bulls' comeback. Akron shot 56.7 percent, also committed just three turnovers, and had 12 free throw chances of their own. Sharkey and Mackenzie Loesing combined for 39 second-half points for the Bulls, but it was not enough.
Early in the final period, Buffalo went on a 6-0 run to cut the Akron lead to 62-58, but the Zips responded with a 12-2 burst of their own. Up by 14 (74-60) with 10:57 left, the Zips controlled the rest of the second half. The Bulls were able to use another 6-0 run to get within four again (90-86) with 2:11 left, but Luburgh sank a three on the next possession to seal the win for Akron.
Both teams shot well all game, with each side making over 50 percent in both halves. The difference was behind the arc and at the free throw line. Akron made 12 of 20 3-pointers (60%) and earned 25 free throws, while Buffalo was just 9-of-28 (32.1%) from long range and made only 13 free throws.
Luburgh led the Zips with 34 points. Tecca added 28 points and a game-best 15 rebounds, and she dished out six assists. Plybon also scored 15. Sharkey and Loesing paced the Bulls' effort with 30 points each. Sharkey contributed 11 rebounds and four assists.
Akron improves to 12-8 overall and 6-3 in the MAC with the victory, while Buffalo falls to 12-8 and 5-4 in the MAC. The Zips' next game is at Northern Illinois on Wednesday, while the Bulls suit up next at home against Ohio on Thursday.
Miami 71, EASTERN MICHIGAN 65
The RedHawks overcame an early deficit to pick up a much-needed road victory over the Eagles in Ypsilanti, Mich. on Sunday afternoon. The victory gives Miami an edge over EMU at the midway point of the conference season and helps them in their quest to earn a home game in next month's MAC tournament.
The first half was back-and-forth, as it featured two ties and eight lead changes. Miami made only 34.5 percent (10-of-29) of their shots, and they turned the ball over 10 times. However, the Eagles were even worse (10-of-34) from the floor, and they were unable to take advantage of those Miami errors. The 10 turnovers led to just five points by EMU. The Eagles also failed to make points out of second chances. Both teams pulled down six offensive rebounds, but Miami led 7-0 in second-chance points during the first period.
The score margin was three points or fewer for almost the entire first half. Miami led 5-0 early, but the Eagles fought to a 21-15 edge after a Janay Morton three with 5:17 left in the half. That would be EMU's biggest lead and the only time they would lead by more than one possession. Haley Robertson answered for Miami with a three, and that started a 12-0 run for the RedHawks. Hannah McCue capped the run with two more 3-pointers, first to give Miami the lead and then to give them a six-point edge, their biggest of the half. Sara Stone connected for EMU to end the run, and the score would remain 27-23 for Miami at halftime.
Eastern Michigan forced 11 Miami turnovers in the second half in their comeback effort, but Miami's excellent shooting in the final period was able to overcome the turnovers. The RedHawks made more than half of their shots and were 6-of-11 (54.5%) from behind the arc. EMU improved their shooting, but at just 40.5 percent, they could not reclaim the lead.
The Eagles were able to get within one possession of the RedHawks on several occasions in the second half, and after a media timeout with 7:37 left, Cha Sweeney sank a free throw to cut Miami's lead to just 51-50. However, she missed the second free throw that would have tied the game, and Courtney Larson nailed a 3-pointer for Miami on the ensuing possession. That seemed to take the wind out of EMU's sails, and they failed to get within one possession for the remainder of the game.
Miami committed 21 turnovers to just nine by Eastern Michigan during the game, but they were able to limit EMU to only 17 points off those 21 turnovers. They were also able to overcome those turnovers with a 43-35 percent shooting advantage and by winning the rebounding battle 51-36.
Four players scored in double figures for the RedHawks. Jillian Spurlock poured in 20 points and earned seven rebounds, while Kelsey Simon added 13 points and eight rebounds. McCue posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Larson contributed nine assists to go with her seven points. EMU freshmen sensation Cha Sweeney led the Eagles with 24 points, but Miami limited fellow Eagle freshman Janay Morton to only six points.
The victory helps Miami improve to 7-13 overall and 3-6 in MAC competition. Eastern Michigan falls to 12-8 overall and only 2-7 against MAC foes. Miami's next game is at home on Thursday against Toledo. EMU also plays at home on Thursday, as they host Kent State.
KENT STATE 60, Ball State 57
It took until the midpoint of the season, but the futility streak for the Golden Flashes is over. Kent State earned their first MAC victory of the season on Sunday afternoon in Kent, Ohio with a 60-57 victory over the Cardinals.
The lead see-sawed back-and-forth for the first five minutes, as the teams went through one tie and five lead changes. Kent State finally gained control of the game with a three from Rachel Mendelsohn, which gave the Flashes an early 12-8 edge. Later in the half, they went on an 8-0 run to transform a 23-18 advantage to a 13-point lead (31-18). However, Ball State punched right back with a 13-0 run of their own. They held Kent State without a field goal for over five minutes and were able to tie the game at 31. However, Amber Dunlap sank a jumper with one second left in the half to give KSU a 33-31 halftime edge.
Ball State scored the first five points of the second half, and a three by Brandy Woody gave the Cardinals a 36-33 lead. They were able to maintain the advantage for the first ten minutes of the half and built it to as much as seven (44-37). Undaunted, KSU went on a 10-0 run and stole the lead back on an "and-one" layup by Dunlap with 8:40 left in the game. The Cardinals briefly tied the game back at 47 on a three by Shelbie Justice, but the Flashes took the lead for good when Mendelsohn sank another three. Kent State went 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the final 2:09 to seal the victory.
The resounding difference in the game, as evidenced in the final two minutes, was at the free throw line. Kent State made 20 of their 22 free throw attempts, while Ball State was successful on only 10 of their 26 tries (38.5%). The Flashes' Ashley Evans led all scorers with 19 points. CiCi Shannon added 10 rebounds (and nine points) for Kent State, while Montia Johnson provided a team-best 13 rebounds off the bench. Justice led the Cardinals' effort with 16 points, and Nathalie Fontaine posted a double-double with 14 points and a game-best 14 rebounds.
Kent State's victory is their fourth in 20 games this season, and they are now 1-8 in MAC play. Ball State drops to 9-11 overall and 4-5 in the MAC with the loss. Both teams play their next game on Thursday. Kent State will play at Eastern Michigan, while Ball State hosts MAC unbeaten Central Michigan.
WESTERN MICHIGAN 56, Northern Illinois 43 (Saturday)
The Brooncos helped break a four-way tie in the MAC West by comfortably defeating the Huskies by 13 points in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Saturday afternoon. The victory puts WMU in a favorable seeding position for the MAC tournament at the midpoint of the conference season.
The game was never much in doubt for Western Michigan. The Broncos leaped out to a 7-0 lead after just 2:20 had elapsed. Northern Illinois did close the gap to 11-10, but WMU went on a 19-2 run over a nine-minute span to take a 31-12 lead with 3:53 left in the half. The Broncos were not challenged again.
NIU was hampered by poor offense all afternoon. They only 30.6 percent for the game and were just 9-of-32 (28.1%) from the field in the second half. The Huskies made only four of their 17 shots from beyond the arc. Further compounding this problem was an inability to get to the free throw line. WMU was called for only 13 fouls during the game, and NIU attempted only four free throws, all in the second half. Of those, they made only one.
Western Michigan got to the line only once (1-of-1) in the first half, but their 58.3 shooting percentage helped build their lead. In the second half, the Broncos attempted only 17 field goals and made only six, but they frequently got to the free throw line (10-of-15).
The Broncos lost 17 turnovers and caused only seven, but those losses were recouped with their good shooting and excellent rebounding. WMU won the rebounding battle 41-27 and allowed only seven second-chance points despite NIU's 12 offensive rebounds.
Miracle Woods played just 19 minutes off the bench for the Broncos, but she scored a game-high 20 points and added six rebounds. A.J. Johnson led the Bronco starters with 14 points. Danny Pulliam led the Huskies' effort with 11 points, while Ally Lehman was held scoreless.
Western Michigan is now in a tie with Buffalo for the fourth-best record in the MAC at 5-4. They are also 9-11 overall. The distinction between fourth and fifth in the MAC is particularly important, as the fourth-place team would earn an automatic trip to Cleveland for the MAC Tournament. Northern Illinois drops to 4-5 in the MAC and 8-11 overall. They're in a three-way tie for sixth-place in the MAC. The Broncos travel to Bowling Green for a Wednesday night game, while the Huskies' next opponent is Akron. They host the Zips on Wednesday night.
Now, here's a look at the updated MAC standings...
|Eastern Division||Won||Lost||Won||Lost||Next Game|
|Bowling Green||8||1||18||3||vs WMU (2/5)|
|Akron||6||3||12||8||at NIU (2/5)|
|Buffalo||5||4||12||8||vs Ohio (2/6)|
|Ohio||3||6||8||12||at Buffalo (2/6)|
|Miami||3||6||7||13||vs Toledo (2/6)|
|Kent State||1||8||4||16||at EMU (2/6)
|Central Michigan||9||0||13||8||at BSU (2/6)|
||5||4||9||11||at BGSU (2/5)
||4||5||9||11||at Miami (2/6)
||4||5||9||11||vs CMU (2/6)
||4||5||8||11||vs Akron (2/5)
||2||7||12||8||vs KSU (2/6)|