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MAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

February 17, 2013
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



MAC PRESS RELEASE

Saturday's Women's Basketball Results
Akron 64, Ball State 52
Bowling Green 60, Northern Illinois 49
Western Michigan 62, Ohio 53
Buffalo 79, Eastern Michigan 63
Toledo 82, Kent State 45
Central Michigan 72, Miami 60
 
 
Courtesy of Home MAC Sports Information Departments
 
Akron 64, Ball State 52
AKRON, Ohio – Akron overcame a flat first half to secure its fifth consecutive victory, putting away Ball State 64-52 Saturday evening at James A. Rhodes Arena.
 
The five-game winning streak is the longest of the season for UA (17-7, 8-3 MAC), and keeps the Zips safely at the top of the MAC East Division standings and third in the league overall with five regular season games left to play.
 
Rachel Tecca led both teams with 22 points, including a 10-of-11 showing at the free throw line, and eight rebounds.
 
Sina King was one rebound short of her 10th double-double, finishing with 14 points fueled by two 3-pointers. Taylor Ruper added 11 points, and Kacie Cassell dished out nine assists giving her 402 for her career.
 
MAC West Co-Player of the Week Nathalie Fontaine paced Ball State (11-13, 8-3 MAC) with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
 
UA fell victim to a flat first half, shooting just 23.3 percent from the field. The Zips did not find their first points of the night until a full six minutes into the contest when Luburgh finally broke the lid off the basket with a 3-pointer, making the score 7-3 in Ball State's favor.
 
Akron picked up the lead for the first time in the game with 8:14 left in the first half, courtesy of a pair of King free throws to bring the score to 14-12. Luburgh was forced to the bench with two fouls after 10 minutes, but despite playing without their second leading scorer for much of the opening period the Zips clung to a 23-20 halftime lead.
 
The Zips returned to the court and demanded control of their home floor, turning their defense into offense and never relinquishing their lead. After going 1-for-15 from behind the arc in the first half, Akron turned it around to shoot 58.3 percent (7-for-12) from long range in the second.
 
Three consecutive 3-pointers from Ruper and King gave Akron its first double-digit lead at 46-36 with 10:25 left on the clock. UA maintained the cushion through the final minutes, icing it with another Ruper triple on its final possession of the game.
 
Akron will make its way back through the East Division opponents to close out the regular season, beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 20 with a trip to Bowling Green. The Zips will look to sweep the Falcons (16-8, 7-4 MAC) for the first time in school history. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET at the Stroh Center.
 
 
Bowling Green 60, Northern Illinois 49
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team suffered a 60-49 setback to hot-shooting Bowling Green at the Convocation Center Saturday afternoon.
 
The Falcons (16-8, 7-4) outshot the Huskies (7-17, 2-9) 42.6-36.7 percent for the game, hitting 23-of-54 shots, including 10-of-23 from three-point territory. Bowling Green was particularly effective from long distance in the first half, hitting 8-of-15 shots from three-point land.
 
"We got beat in the first half by the three-point line," NIU head coach Kathi Bennett said. "We gave up eight threes with our hands down, one at one second [on the shot clock] with our hands down. We needed to come out and compete with Bowling Green and make a statement that this is our home court and have energy, especially on the defensive end and that's something that we did not do."
 
Chrissy Steffen led the way for the Falcons with a game-high 14 points, hitting 5-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point territory. Danielle Havel matched her teammate with 14 points, going 4-of-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line.
 
Amanda Corral led the way for Northern Illinois with a team-high 12 points. Ashley Sneed continues her impressive play finishing with eight points and six rebounds. The Huskies outrebounded Bowling Green 34-30 with Alicia Johnson leading the way with a game-high eight rebounds.
 
With the score 24-13 with 8:37 left to play in the first half, the Falcons put together a 12-2 run to take a 21-point lead, their largest of the game.
 
The Huskies came out strong in the second half, going on a 7-3 run to putt within 13, 39-26, with 17:33 left to play. However, Bowling Green responded with an 8-3 stretch to extend its lead to 19, 47-28, with 12:55 left in the game.
 
Northern Illinois improved its shooting from the field, hitting 41.7 percent of its shots in the second half. Unfortunately for NIU, the first half deficit was too great to overcome.
 
"There's no excuse for how we came out," Bennett said. "I have a hard time with that. I feel we're making the same mistakes over and over. I feel it's more about us and less about the opponent."
 
The Huskies return to the floor Wednesday, Feb. 20 when NIU travels to Toledo. Tip off is set for 10 a.m. CT. Fans can follow all the action live on Huskie All-Acces with Andy Garcia on the call. The game will be re-aired at 7 p.m. that night on 1360 AM/98.9 FM WLBK.
 
 
Western Michigan 62, Ohio 53
ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University Women’s Basketball Team got off to a strong start on Saturday against the Western Michigan Broncos, but ultimately fell by a final score of 62-53 in the Convocation Center. The Bobcats held a lead early in the second half but weren’t able to overcome a final 20 minutes which saw WMU outscore them by a 35-21 margin.
 
Ohio shot 44.4 percent (12-27) in the first half en route to taking a 32-27 lead into the halftime break, but a cold-shooting second half which saw the Green and White go 6-32 (18.8 percent) from the field proved to be too much to overcome in the loss. The Broncos stepped up their shooting in the second frame, hitting 12-23 (52.2 percent) of their field-goal attempts and ended the game shooting 22-48 (45.8 percent).
 
Marquisha Harris led all players in the game, scoring 23 points and pulling down 15 rebounds for the Broncos (9-15, 5-6 Mid-American Conference). She was joined in double figures by Corie Buchanan (15 points) and Alex Morton (11). Ohio (5-18, 0-11 MAC) had two players score in double figures, as Shavon Robinson (Canton, Ohio) and Mariah Byard (Mannington, W.Va.) each had strong offensive days, putting up 16 and 13 points, respectively.
 
Ohio’s bench played an important role in Saturday’s game, scoring 33 of the team’s 62 points.
 
Western Michigan got off to a fast start, beginning the game on an 8-0 run. The Bobcats were able to battle back and eventually tied things up at 17 apiece with 9:21 remaining in the first half. Facing a 17-9 deficit, Byard and Ashley Fowler (Cincinnati, Ohio) keyed the Bobcats to an 8-0 run of their own to force the first tie of the contest.
 
The Broncos were able to stretch their lead back to six points just a minute later, going ahead 23-17 at the 8:14 mark. Over the final 7:28 of the first frame, the ‘Cats ended the half on a 15-4 run to take a five-point lead into the halftime break.
 
Ohio began the second half in a solid manner, hitting three field goals in the first 3:23 to hold onto a two-point lead. At this point, the Bobcats endured a significant field-goal drought, not hitting a shot for the next 14:28. The ‘Cats weren’t held scoreless during this entire time, as they sank five free throws during the stretch. 
 
Ohio will next be in action on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Kent State. The Bobcats and Golden Flashes will tip off from Kent, Ohio, at 7 p.m.
 
 
Buffalo 79, Eastern Michigan 63
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team was unsuccessful at defending home court in 79-63 loss to Mid-American Conference East Division opponent the University at Buffalo Saturday, Feb. 16, at the EMU Convocation Center.
 
A first half run by the Bulls (8-16; 6-5 MAC) and early foul trouble for playmaker Desyree Thomas (Waterford, Mich. –Mott) were too much for the Eagles (6-18; 4-7 MAC) to overcome despite a 13 point, 13 rebound performance from senior center India Hairston (Flint, Mich.-Hamady).
 
The Eagles shot 23-of-71 for 32.4 percent, their three triples all coming from Bianca Cage (Memphis, Tenn.-Southwind) who scored nine for the game.  Buffalo shot 28-of-56 for 50 percent. The visiting Bulls were led by the play of their speedy point guard Margeaux Gupilan, 13 points and nine assists, and the scoring of Detroit native Cherridy Thorton, who led all scorers with 16.
 
Both teams came out swinging at the game's start, each scoring in their opening possessions. The Bulls struck first with a short jumper from Christa Baccas, but the Eagles answered quickly when Thomas completed a mirror jumper at the other end of the court.  
 
Five minutes into the first stanza, UB went on a 15-0 run assisted by three consecutive EMU turnovers. Taylor Bird (Lawrence, Kan. -Lawrence) broke-up the Bulls' run by cleaning up her own miss and finishing with a crafty reverse layup.
 
The Green and White were able to tighten up their defense mid-way through the first half and began to eliminate the Bulls' easy buckets.   Thomas carried the offense for the Eagles over a four minute stretch, finding success penetrating and pulling up for six sequential points. At the six minute mark, Cage converted on a three from the corner to cut the Bulls' lead to 10.
 
An audibly fired up Bulls squad closed the first half on an 8-3 run facilitated by aggressive rebounding on the offensive glass and good perimeter shooting.  Eastern's final three points of the half came from a Hairston free throw and an Iesha Collins (Chicago, Ill. –Bogan) mid-range jumper.
 
The first half ended with Buffalo leading the Eagles 42-26.  EMU shot 11-of-26 for 42.3 percent in the first half, compared to 17-of-29 for 58.6 percent by the Bulls.  UB's first half offense was led by Thornton's 12 points. The Eagles were plagued by turnovers in the first half committing 11, leading to 15 points for Buffalo.
 
Coach Tory Verdi's halftime speech must have energized his frontcourt.  In the initial moments of the second half, Sara Stone (Plymouth, Mich.-Salem) began to make her presence felt, making back-to-back stops for the Eagles and then finishing from the low post on her earned possessions. Hairston also had a renewed vigor, pulling down five second half rebounds before the 5 minutes had elapsed.
 
Cage's long range fire power was back on display as she scored treys on her first two touches of the second half, the second once again cutting UB's lead to 10.
 
With 13:01 remaining on the clock, the Bulls went on a 6-2 run fueled largely by their ability to drive and draw fouls.  
 
By the 3:37 mark, Natachia Watkins (South Euclid, Ohio-Brush) had quietly put together a 10 point and 10 rebound game often scoring over a tandem of Buffalo defenders.  Watkins scored all of her points in the second half.  Her final make coming from a smooth step-back to finish above three Bulls.
 
The Eagles high energy finish to the game was not enough to erase their deficit as the Bulls went on the win 79-63.
 
The EMU women's cagers will be in action again 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Ball State University's Worthen Arena where they will look to avenge a 41-56 home loss earlier this season, Feb.3.
 
 
Toledo 82, Kent State 45
Toledo, Ohio – Kent State (3-21, 1-10) did all they could, but Toledo (22-2, 10-1) proved to be too much to handle as the Flashes went down 82-45 to the Rockets Saturday (Feb. 16) afternoon in front of a crowd of 5,712.
 
The Flashes shot 37% in the game, including 42.9% in the first half.  However, the Rockets dominated in the paint, scoring 42 points from there while grabbing 39 rebounds compared to Kent State's 25.  Toledo shot 54.1% from the field and made eight shots from three-point range.
 
Kent State started slow out of the gate, making their first basket two minutes in and then going without a point for seven and a half minutes.  The Golden Flashes did look stronger in the second half, going on a 12-4 run to close out the game.  But, the early damage was too much to overcome.
 
Tamzin Barroilhet led Kent State with ten points and four rebounds.  Rachel Mendelsohn scored eight, six of those in the second half.  She also had two assists.
 
Toledo showed their depth, with only two players scoring in double digits, yet 11 players put points on the board, including 43 off the bench.  Inma Zanoguera and Ana Capotosto each had ten points.  Brianna Jones had eight points and nine rebounds.
 
The Golden Flashes now return home for two games.  They host Ohio on Wednesday (Feb. 20) at 7:00 pm and then rival Akron at 2:00 pm on Saturday (Feb. 23).
 
 
Central Michigan 72, Miami 60
OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University women's basketball team fell to Central Michigan, 72-60, in a back-and-forth game Saturday afternoon at Millett Hall.
 
The RedHawks dropped to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in the Mid-American Conference, while the Chippewas improved to 15-9 overall and 9-2 in league play.
 
Courtney Osborn, who entered Saturday's contest 23 points shy of the RedHawks' all-time scoring record, had a game-high 19 points. The senior point guard is now four points away from breaking the record set by Amanda Jackson (2003-08), who has 1,979 career points.
 
Osborn, a native of Fishers, Ind., was 5-of-18 from the field Saturday and finished 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. She also tallied eight assists and four rebounds.
 
Miami, which trailed CMU 31-25 at halftime, came out hot after the break and took a 38-37 lead with 14:07 to go.
 
The RedHawks continued to hang around, as Erica Almady and Kirsten Olowinski stepped up their play in the second half. Olowinski tallied 15 points and eight rebounds, while Almady had 12 points and six boards.
 
Miami cut the Chippewas' lead to 54-52 after an Almady layup with 6:21 left. But that's as close as the RedHawks would get the rest of the way.
 
"We just came up a little short (down the stretch)," Miami head coach Maria Fantanarosa said. "We are now at a point where we've lost four of our last five and the reason is because of our defense."
 
Fantanarosa continued, "Today, we lost to a very good team. Our defense got better, but now we need to play better on both sides of the court. I'm much happier with the way we played today than I was a week ago."
 
Central Michigan finished the contest on an 18-8 run and was led by Crystal Bradford, who had a team-high 16 points. The sophomore guard also had 10 rebounds and two blocks.
 
"We were in foul trouble the whole game," Fantanarosa said. "Having my guards all in foul trouble, they were tentative and didn't want to foul out. I thought Hannah (Robertson) and Courtney did a good job of guarding (Bradford) when she was in."
 
The Chippewas shot 41.5 percent from the field, while the RedHawks were 37.3 percent. CMU also outrebounded Miami 50-36 and held an 18-1 advantage in bench points.
 
Next up, the RedHawks travel to play Buffalo Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. Miami then returns home to play Bowling Green for its "Think Pink" game Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

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