The first men's or women's game to take place in Cleveland will be the Central Michigan Chippewas (13-17) facing in-state rival Western Michigan (19-11) in a women's match up tomorrow at noon.
Both teams won on Monday, and Central's 49-44 upset victory over eighth-seeded Northern Illinois gave them a birth to Cleveland. CMU comes in as the best rebounding team in the conference, averaging nearly 42 boards per game, and they showed that throughout the season. The ninth-seeded Chips got performances out of several players versus Northern Illinois, including Lorreal James who hauled in a career high 15 rebounds to go with eight points.
Central had coasted to a large first half lead, but NIU worked away at the lead until they got it down it down to just three on a basket by Jenna Thorp with 1:38 left to play. But good defense by Central, including a three pointer blocked by Aleah Swary with 13 seconds left made sure the Huskies didn't score again and the Chips added two free throws to win 49-44.
Western, on the other hand, had no trouble coasting past 12th-seeded Bowling Green en' route to a 65-42 victory. Western's win was clinched by their defense, which forced Bowling Green into shooting just 12-of-44 from the field and 3-of-15 from behind the arc. The Broncos were able to use several players in the rout, with no WMU player on the court for more than 23 minutes.
WMU is lead in scoring by Miracle Woods who is averaging 14.9 points per game coming into Wednesday's game. CMU is led by Crystal Bradford who is putting up 18.9 ppg, but she did not play versus Northern on Monday.
In two previous meetings this season, the home team won each game. Woods had 27 in Western Michigan's 69-64 victory on Feb. 7. Two weeks later Central won by 12 on their home floor.
The game starts at noon ET, and kicks off Cleveland's portion of the MAC men's and women's tournament.