Posted: 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
By Matt Daley
Just two games on the slate tonight. We had our expected demolition of Kent State by Central Michigan, but Miami and Western Michigan gave us an intriguing overtime affair.
(Click links for box-scores.)
As expected, a game featuring the only unbeaten and winless teams in Mid-American Conference play was a rout. The Central Michigan Chippewas improved to 6-0 in league play and 10-8 overall with a 34-point win over the Kent State Golden Flashes in Kent, Ohio. KSU dropped to 0-6 in the MAC and 3-14 overall.
Kent State actually stayed with Central Michigan, for the first five minutes at least. After Jas'Mine Bracey sank a jumper just ten seconds into the contest for a 2-0 CMU lead, the Flashes scored six in a row and actually held the Chippewas without a point for three and a half minutes. A three-pointer from (who else) Crystal Bradford ended that run, but Kent State still led 8-7 five minutes into the game. Then, the clock struck midnight. Another Bradford three with 14:57 left in the half game CMU a lead they would not relinquish.
Starting with Bradford's second three-pointer, Central Michigan went on a 32-5 run over a ten-minute span to stake a 39-13 lead. Bradford started the run with eight points, and Kerby Tamm capped it with a pair of threes. Amazingly, Kent State ripped off a 12-0 run of their own to cut CMU's lead to 14, but a Niki DiGuilio three in the final minute before halftime sent the Chippewas to the locker room with a 45-27 lead.
The second half went no better for the Golden Flashes. Central Michigan outscored Kent State 19-9 during the first eight minutes of the second half to push their lead to 28 points. Bradford, Tamm and Jessica Green scored all of the points during that span. A few minutes later, CMU went on a 16-2 run to increase their advantage to a game-high 40 points (84-44). KSU's Amber Dunlap scored five points in the game's final 3:39 to cut the final margin to 34.
Central Michigan made 48.4 percent of their shots (31/64) and held Kent State to just 37% (20/54). CMU was also 12-for-30 (40%) from three-point range, but they made just over half (13/26) of their free throws. Although the Chippewas held only a slim 41-36 rebounding edge, they dominated in the paint with a 36-22 scoring edge. However, it was turnovers that really hurt the Flashes. KSU turned it over 21 times and forced just nine, and they were outscored 31-11 in points off those turnovers.
Ten players scored for the Chippewas, and they were led by Bradford, who scored 21. Bradford also had five rebounds and five steals. Da'Jourie Turner scored ten points in just nine minutes, and she sank eight free throws during that time. Jewel Cotton added seven points and a game-best ten rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Kent State's Amber Dunlap led the Flashes with 22 points.
In stark contrast the game in Kent, the Western Michigan Broncos and Miami RedHawks played a thrilling overtime game in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Wednesday night. The Broncos led by as much as 17, but Miami stormed all the way back to force the extra frame before they eventually took the loss. Western Michigan has now swept their two games with Miami this season and is 4-2 in the MAC and 8-9 overall. Their next game is a rather important one: they host Central Michigan on Saturday. Miami drops to 1-5 in the MAC and 5-12 overall. The RedHawks will play at home on Saturday against Kent State.
The two teams traded blows in the first few minutes of the game. Miami's Haley Robertson got the scoring started with a jumper 1:16 into the game, but WMU's A.J. Johnson immediately followed with a three. Hannah Robertson's two free throws one minute later gave the lead back to Miami, but the Broncos re-claimed it shortly after with a tip-in by Jazmine Windham.
Miami went without a field goal for over five minutes early in the first half, as Western Michigan built an 11-5 lead. However, they were able to keep WMU's lead to no bigger than six for most of the half, and a Haley Robertson layup cut the Bronco lead to just 26-25 with 5:44 left in the half. Unfortunately for the RedHawks, WMU then erupted for a 15-3 run. Windham spurred the burst with a pair of three-pointers. During the five-minute run, Miami went just 1-for-7 from the floor and committed two turnovers. Two baskets by Miami in the final minute of the half cut the 41-28 lead to 41-32 at the break.
Western Michigan started the second half with an 11-3 run over the first 5:08 of the period. Nine of the points came from the free throw line, and they were all provided by Miracle Woods (8) and Marquisha Harris (3). Meanwhile, Miami went 1-for-11 with four turnovers, and WMU built a 17-point, 52-35 lead. Then, all of a sudden, everything changed. The RedHawks went on a 14-0 run over a four minute span and made six of their 12 shots with no turnovers. Jillian Spurlock scored eight points during the run, and her layup with 9:28 left made the score 52-49.
The RedHawks kept the WMU lead between two and seven points for the next several minutes, until Hannah Robertson's three with 2:44 left finally tied the game at 65. An old-fashioned three-point play by Harris gave the Broncos the lead back shortly after, but Miami stayed within one possession until the final seconds. With 3.8 seconds left, WMU's Alex Morton went to the line for two free throws with a 72-70 lead; it was a chance to put the game away. She made only one of the shots, and Miami was able to inbound from half court after a timeout.
Spurlock found Kindsay Brandt with the inbounds pass, and Brandt tossed the ball to Hannah Robertson in the right corner. Robertson put up a three as time expired -- and nailed it! The buzzer-beater sent the game to overtime tied at 73. That would be Miami's last successful field goal attempt of the night.
The RedHawks went 0-for-6 from the floor in overtime. In fact, their only scoring came on two Spurlock free throws with 3:27 left in the extra frame. With the help of Miami's futility, WMU was able to pull away for an 11-point victory.
Miami shot just 33 percent from the floor as WMU shot 45.3%, but they were able to stay in the game thanks to an incredible 25 offensive rebounds. They actually had more rebounds on offense than defense (20). This allowed Miami to have a 17-5 edge in second-chance points, and they also outscored WMU off turnovers 27-14. The RedHawk bench was also much better, as it outscored the Broncos' 43-9.
Woods led all scorers with 31 points, and she contributed 12 rebounds for WMU. She ended the game 15-for-16 from the free throw line. Harris and Johnson each added 15 for the Broncos, while Windham scored 10. Miami's freshman guard Jillian Spurlock scored a career-best 22 points off the bench. Hannah Robertson had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Kindsay Brandt also came off the bench to score 14 for Miami.
Now, here's a look at the updated MAC standings...
|Eastern Division||Won||Lost||Won||Lost||Next Game|
|Bowling Green||4||1||14||3||vs EMU (1/23)|
|Ohio||3||2||8||8||at Akron (1/23)|
|Buffalo||2||3||9||7||at NIU (1/23)|
|Akron||2||3||8||8||vs Ohio (1/23)|
|Miami||1||5||5||12||vs KSU (1/25)|
|Kent State||0||6||3||14||at Miami (1/25)|
|Central Michigan||6||0||10||8||at WMU (1/25)|
|Western Michigan||4||2||8||9||vs CMU (1/25)|
|Ball State||3||2||8||8||at Toledo (1/23)|
|Northern Illinois||3||2||7||8||vs Buffalo (1/23)|
|Eastern Michigan||2||3||12||4||at BGSU (1/23)|
|Toledo||2||3||7||9||vs BSU (1/23)|