MAC Women’s Basketball Review

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MAC East

Akron (7-7, 1-2)

Continuing with their 12-game home win streak, the Zips hosted Ball State on Jan. 4 and took an 87-78 victory to kick off their Mid-American Conference play. For the second time this season, Akron had five scorers with double-digit point totals, with Rachel Tecca leading the way at 20. The Zips hit the court against Central Michigan on Jan. 9 with a 109-83 loss, which ended their win-streak. Akron was within reach of the Chippewas after the first half at a 52-43 edge given to Central Michigan, but once the it hit mid-second half, the Chips ran away with a 20-point lead to seal the victory. The Zips dropped to 1-2 in the MAC after another loss to Bowling Green on Jan. 12. Tecca continued her scoring streak by contributing 20 points to Akron’s total, but it wasn’t enough as the Zips fell 81-65.

Buffalo (7-7, 0-3)

The Bulls started off their MAC play after a dominating 93-58 win against Robert Wesleyan. On Jan. 4, Buffalo traveled to Bowling Green, where the blue and white started off hot with a 7-0 run before two minutes were off the clock. This run stalled from injuries and resulted in Bowling Green coming back to win 62-50. The Bulls continued their road trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., for another matchup. With a close contest extending to the 17:25 minute of the second half, the Bulls tied it at 32, but the Broncos answered with an 8-0 run that put Buffalo out of contention and sealed an 82-72 loss. Buffalo returned home on Jan. 12, trying to regroup, but were unable to get their act together as they fell 82-68 to defending MAC champions Central Michigan. The Bulls were led by Kristen Starkey and Christa Baccas, who earned double-doubles for Buffalo, but that wasn’t enough as they moved to 0-3 in the MAC after the loss.  

Ohio (7-6, 2-1)

The Bobcats returned to the hardwood on Jan. 4 after a record-setting 84-36 win against UMBC in the JMU Invitational. The green and white visited Northern Illinois’ Convocation Center, where the Bobcats were within three points with 11 minutes in the game, but Northern Illinois got down to business and outscored Ohio 31-12 in the final stretch. The Bobcats returned to Athens for the “Battle of the Bricks” on Jan. 9 against Miami, for their first conference win at 97-79. Quiera Lampkins scored a career-high 24 points, along with Mariah Byard adding to the Bobcat totals and reaching the 500-point career mark. This achievement also made Byard the MAC East Player of the Week. The ‘Cats continued their home winning campaign to 4-0 on Jan. 12, with another 70-53 victory against MAC West leaders Central Michigan. Lampkins had another strong showing of 19 points, and the third straight game in double digits, earning her MAC East Player of the Week. Accompanying Lampkins was Kiyanna Black, who took control of the court with 29 points that night.

Kent State (3-11, 0-3)

Kent State began their MAC play after a difficult non-conference schedule that left them 3-8, but they had a chance to regroup and prove competitive against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Golden Flashes had 27 turnovers, which ended up being a major contributor to their 88-70 loss. Next on the docket for Kent State was Bowling Green, and the blue and yellow were in a manageable position just seven points behind Bowling Green at the half. The Falcons managed 16 points in the paint, compared to Kent State’s six, which contributed to a Bowling Green victory of 58-39. After a rough start to conference play, the Flashes traveled to Muncie, Ind., on Jan. 12 for a matchup that ended 55-31 Ball State. Neither team shot over 25% during the first half, but the Cardinals woke up after halftime, whereas the Flashes stayed dormant, committing a season-high of 32 turnovers. The loss against the Cardinals put Kent at 0-3 and last place in the MAC East.

Miami (Ohio) (4-10, 0-3)

After a record-high point total against Cleveland State on Dec. 29, the RedHawks were ready start MAC play against the Western Michigan Broncos with a game of  catch up. Miami came from behind to make up a 15-point deficit to, but the red and white were sidelined as the Broncos continued to roll on and take the win 88-78. Next was a rivalry matchup with Ohio in the “Battle of the Bricks”, which lived up to its hype with 57 fouls. The RedHawks slow start wasn’t helped by Ohio’s ability to convert turnovers to points paired along with their ability to hit the three-pointer. All made a difference in the 97-79 loss for Miami. Up next was Toledo on Jan. 12 and poor shooting marred this 68-52 loss, as the RedHawks only shot 30.4% the duration of the game. The loss continued their losing streak and tied them with Kent State at the bottom of the MAC East.

Bowling Green (13-2, 3-0)

The Falcons looked to continue their solid nonconference play as they entered the Stroh Center on Jan. 4 at Bowling Green, which proved successful as they defeated Buffalo 62-50. A point-high in the past few years was reached as Alexis Rogers posted 22 points, along with 17 rebounds. This performance also earned Rogers the MAC Player of the Week. Next up for Bowling Green was Kent State, who the Falcons managed to keep control of and not allowing any players to reach the double-double mark. Bowling Green was only able to make 4-of-20 3-point shots, but shot 90% from the free-throw line, securing a 58-39 victory. The Falcons extended their 26-game win streak against Akron on Jan. 12, as they came out on top 81-65. Five brown and orange players managed double-doubles, with Jillian Halfhill leading at 18 points. Even with the win, 65 points was the highest ever allowed by Bowling Green in the Stroh Center against a MAC opponent.

MAC West

Western Michigan (6-8, 2-1)

Western Michigan opened their MAC conference play against Miami on Jan. 4, as they stormed the nets, shooting 53.8 percent from the floor. The RedHawks started off the competition with a 7-0 run, and after Western Michigan took a lead, they whittled it back down to three points with just 5:57 left in the game. Double-doubles posted by Michelle O’Brien and Marquisha Harris led the black and gold to an 88-78 win. Harris was at it again with a career-high 33 points when Western Michigan took on Buffalo on Jan. 7, and this performance paired with a record low of 12 turnovers for the Broncos led to a 82-72 victory. The 3-game win streak was ousted by Ohio on Jan. 12 with their 70-53 loss. The ‘Cats diminished efforts by team leaders Harris and Miracle Woods, but it wasn’t only them as the whole team only shot 35.2%.

Toledo (7-7, 2-1)

Toledo attempted to bounce back from a small rut before MAC play, but was downed by Central Michigan in an 84-71 loss on Jan. 4. The Rockets held a 49-43 lead with 16:21 left in regulation play, but the Chippewas wanted to extend their home win streak and did so by an offensive burst led by Niki DiGuilio with 13 points. Next was a nail biter against Northern Illinois that was decided by a last-minute 3-pointer by Andola Dortch. The second half was full of catch up for Northern Illinois, which set up the drama of the last minute, but was squelched by Dortch. Next up for Toledo was Miami, who they handled in a 68-52 matchup. The Rockets’ defense forced 20 turnovers for the RedHawks and only allowed a 30.4 percent shooting percentage, resulting in the second-best defensive effort this season. This victory put them at second in the MAC West, tied with Ball State.

Eastern Michigan (11-3, 1-2)

Eastern Michigan looked to continued their 4-game win streak on Jan. 4 against Kent State with an 88-70 victory. Both teams boasted similar shooting percentages, but the Eagles kept Kent State’s attempts at only 53. The Flashes went on a 7-2 run at the end of the game, but still ended up 18 points behind. Ball State was the next target for Eastern Michigan, where they found their win streak shut down with a 70-66 decision. Olivia Fouty soared during the matchup, earning her sixth double-double of the season, while both teams went back and fourth until the end. The loss seemed to be contagious as the offense stalled in their next game against a Northern Illinois, as they finished behind the Huskies 77-54. Only shooting 29.5 percent, the Eagles were down 16 with 8:43 remaining in regulation, but that was the closest EMU got to the lead.

Northern Illinois (6-7, 2-1)

Ohio was the first matchup on Northern Illinois’ MAC play schedule, as the Huskies hoped to snap a three-game losing streak. They targeted the ‘Cats offense, keeping them at 25% from the field. After a brief Ohio lead, a layup by Jazmine Harris put the Huskies on top and gave Northern Illinois leverage to stay there the duration of the contest, finishing 74-51. The win was quickly counteracted by a 73-71 loss against Toledo after a 21-10 run by the Rockets put them back in contention, and a game-tying layup by Danny Pullam danced around the rim but never made it in. It was Amanda Corral’s turn to shine in Northern Illinois’ next matchup against Eastern Michigan as she walked away with a career high of 30 points, and a 77-54 victory for her team. Not only was the Huskie offense on fire, but also the defense limited scoring to only 19 in the first half, setting the rest of the victory up. 

Central Michigan (7-7, 3-0)

After losing their last three games, Central Michigan entered MAC play on Jan. 4 against Toledo for a come-from-behind win. After developing a first half deficit in what proved to be a close matchup, the Chippewas managed to pull ahead with 16:21 left in regulation. CMU sunk 14 3-pointers, amounting to 49 points total in the second half, taking the lead for a resulting final 84-71. Crystal Bradford led the Chippewas in their next 109-83 win against Akron but carried on her stellar performance to Buffalo matchup on Jan. 12, where she became the first MAC player to record a triple-double this season, earning her MAC Player of the Week. Central Michigan kept the Bulls’ offense under control, coming away with an 82-68 victory.

Ball State (7-7, 2-1)

The Ball State Cardinals started conference play mid-road trip as they visited Akron on Jan. 4 to kick off the MAC competition, but fell 87-78. A 20-6 run at the end of the game let the Cardinals come within six of the Zips with 2:33 remaining, but couldn’t seal a win as Akron responded with back-to-back layups. Next was the “Battle of the Birds” as they traveled to the Eastern Michigan Eagles in a tight matchup that handed Eastern Michigan its second loss this season 70-66. The Cardinals finally got their chance to go back to Muncie, Ind., where they hosted Kent State for their MAC home opener. After a slow start, the Cardinal offense woke up with a 19-8 run right before the half and continued once they returned to the court, with a run of 15-4. The Flashes were kept to only five points until the 7:24 mark of the second half, but scored 26 more after they got started. Ball State moved to 2-1 after its dominating 55-31 win over Kent State.