PAIR GRAB POSTSEASON GAMES:
The two MAC divisional champions -- Kent and Western Michigan -- each nabbed postseason honors, with the Golden Flashes going to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in school history, while the Broncos are in the WNIT for the second consecutive season.
Kent, which is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998, received a No. 9 seed in the Mideast Region and will play No. 8 Arizona (24-6) in Knoxville, Tenn., at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. WMU hosts a WNIT game for the second straight season, entertaining DePaul (17-11) Wednesday at 7 p.m.
ARIZONA IS FAMILIAR MAC FOE:
Kent's first round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, Arizona, will be facing its third MAC team this season on Saturday. The Wildcats, the 21st-ranked team in Associated Press final regular season poll, played Marshall and Northern Illinois in two different tournaments in the month of December. Arizona won both contests by an average of 31 points.
FLASHES' SLATE HAS NCAA TIES:
Six of the Golden Flashes' 30 games this season involved teams that are in this year's NCAA Tournament, and four of the team's five losses came against tourney-bound teams. Kent picked up victories against Dartmouth and Virginia -- the league's only win over a nationally-ranked opponent -- and lost games to Auburn, Boston College, Vermont and Youngstown State. Kent is also 2-0 versus schools in the WNIT, with wins coming over Pittsburgh and Western Michigan.
FOUR NAB ALL-DISTRICT HONORS:
Last Friday, Mar. 10, four MAC players garnered Kodak All-District honors, three of which were honored earlier in the week as first-team all-MAC selections. Kent's Dawn Zerman, Western Michigan's Shelsea Erving, Akron's Cheryl Bowles and Buffalo's Tiffany Bell, a second team all-MAC choice, grabbed four of the six slots for District 4, and are among 48 finalists for Kodak All-America honors. That 10-member team will be announced Mar. 30 at the Women's Final Four in Philadelphia. Last year, Zerman was named to the Kodak All-America honorable mention team.
THE NON-CONFERENCE LOOK:
The Mid-American Conference completed the regular season with a 62-75 non-conference record, which translates into a .453 winning percentage. That mark also includes a 1-8 record against nationally-ranked opponents. Last year, the MAC's record in non-conference play was 59-66 (.472).
THE DRIVE FOR FIVE:
The Kent Golden Flashes made their fifth consecutive appearance in the MAC Tournament championship game on March 4, defeating Toledo, 71-60, for the school's second tournament title in school history. Incidentally, all of those games have been played against Toledo. In fact, Kent advanced to the final game of the MAC Tournament six times during the 1990s (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999).
SEARCHING FOR A 'W':
The Mid-American Conference is winless in its last five NCAA Tournament games, which doesn't include Marshall's appearance in 1997 when it was a member of the Southern Conference. The last victories came in 1996, when Kent and Toledo each picked up first round wins over Texas A&M and Mississippi, respectively. The MAC has a 7-26 (.212) all-time mark in NCAA Tournament games, while Kent is 1-3 (.250).
The league is also winless in its last four WNIT games, and has an 8-9 all-time mark. Toledo, in 1998, was the last team to post a WNIT victory, a 76-62 win over Cincinnati.
A LOOK AT THE RPI:
In the weekly installment of the College Basketball News Women's RPI Report (through games of Mar. 11), the Mid-American Conference was ranked No. 17 among the 31 Division I conferences and is also ranked No. 16 according to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. The MAC had six schools in the top-150 of the Women's RPI Report and five in the WBCA report.
School CBN WBCA
Kent 28 30
W Michigan 94 97
Buffalo 125 126
Toledo 141 144
Miami 147 153
E Michigan 148 150
THE FEVER HITS KENT, WMU:
The MAC's two representatives in postseason play, coincidentally are the league's two hottest teams. Kent enters its game with Arizona on a 10-game winning streak, the eighth longest current win streak in Division I, and have won 22 of its last 23 games. The lone blemish for the Golden Flashes was a 74-72 loss at Miami on Feb. 2. Kent's 25 wins this season are the most in school history, bettering the old mark of 24, which was set in the 1980-81 and 1995-96 campaigns.
Western Michigan ended the season winners of eight of its last 10 and 16 of its last 20 games. The Broncos 18 victories in 1999-2000 are the seventh most in school annals, while the 37 wins over the past two seasons are the most in back-to-back campaigns in WMU history.
STUDER'S ROAD TO THE MVP:
Despite playing with a stress fracture in her left foot that limited her playing time, Kent junior center Julie Studer was chosen the 2000 MAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Studer, who also garnered second-team all-MAC accolades for the second straight year, averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in three Golden Flashes' games. She also hit on 60 percent of her shots from the floor and was successful on all 11 attempts from the charity stripe. Entering the tournament, Studer is 43 points shy of the 1,000 career point plateau.
KENT TIES HOME MAC RECORD:
Kent tied a MAC record with its 31st consecutive home win on Feb. 23, defeating Buffalo 71-58. The victory for the Golden Flashes equaled Toledo's streak of 31, which spanned the 1990-1993 seasons. Kent owns the second-longest winning streak in Division I, trailing Grambling's 66 straight.
ZERMAN'S A CHARITY MACHINE:
Kent senior Dawn Zerman is third all-time in MAC history in free throws made with 565, and has this season to thank for her vault into the record books. In her first three years combined, Zerman made 377 free throws, compared to 188 made just this year. To put things into perspective, Zerman made more charity tosses than any player in the league had attempted all season.
KOETSIER'S ROOKIE RUN:
Western Michigan freshman center Kristin Koetsier is having a rookie campaign most people only dream of. Koetsier is second in the league in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (9.5), third in blocked shots (1.28), fourth in free throw percentage (.801) and fifth in field goal percentage (.525).
In addition, she also leads the MAC in double-doubles (13) and defensive rebounds (6.93), and has been named the offensive player of the week twice and the defensive player of the week three times.
She is also vying to become the first-ever freshman to lead the league in scoring. Koetsier, who was tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year by the MAC News Media Association, established a new league mark for points scored by a freshman (544).
FALCONS SET TREY RECORD:
Bowling Green ended the regular season with a last second win at Buffalo on Friday, Feb. 25 and also set a new league record for three-pointers made in a season with 259. BG broke the old mark of 234, which was set by Kent and Toledo in the 1993-94 campaign. It took the Falcons 26 games to set the record, compared to 28 from Kent and 34 from the Rockets. The Falcons, who are averaging 9.25 treys a game, lead the MAC and all of Division I. They are also chasing the national record, which is 9.19 set by South Carolina in the 1993-94 season.
In their last 10 games of the season, the Falcons hit 103 treys, an average of 10.3 per game. In MAC games, Bowling Green averaged 9.94 treys (159 in 16 games).
ERVING NEARS A STEP UP:
Western Michigan's Shelsea Erving, who is the MAC's active scoring leader with 1,723 points, is six points short of moving past former Kent standout Ann Forbes for 11th on the conference's all-time scoring list. Erving is also second in school annals, trailing Kina Brown, who amassed 1,814 points during her career as a Bronco.
SZALL SETS LONG RANGE MARK:
Ohio sophomore guard Cathy Szall set a MAC Tournament record with six three-pointers in the Bobcats' first-round loss at Bowling Green on Feb. 28. Szall broke the old tourney mark of five, which was set three times, last in 1992 by Toledo's Jane Roman.
OTHER MARKS SET AT TOURNEY:
Western Michigan set a single-game tournament record with 17 three-point field goals made in its win over Bowling Green on Mar. 2, breaking the old mark of 11 set four times, including three in this year's tournament. The Eagles then established a tournament mark with 27 treys made in three contests, bettering the old record of 234 set by Toledo in 1992.
PRESEASON POLL REVISITED:
Below is a comparison of the league's preseason poll, which was released back in October, in relation to where the teams stand following the conclusion of the regular season.
East Division Pick +/-
Kent 1st even
Miami 3rd +1
Bowling Green 4th +1
Buffalo 5th +1
Akron 2nd -2
Ohio 6th even
Marshall 7th even
West Division Pick +/-
W Michigan 2nd +1
Toledo 1st -1
Ball State 6th +3
E Michigan 3rd even
C Michigan 5th even
N Illinois 4th -2
ZERMAN IN SELECT COMPANY:
Senior Dawn Zerman collected her 1,500th career point in Kent's 74-72 loss at Miami Feb. 2. By reaching that milestone she became the first player in Kent history and the second MAC player ever to have 1,500 career points, 400 career assists and 250 career steals. The only other player to accomplish this feat was two-time MAC Player of the Year Kim Knuth (2,509 points, 484 assists and 368 steals) from Toledo.
OTHER MAC POSTSEASON AWARDS:
Dawn Zerman, Kent
Honorable Mention, Associated Press
Third Team, Women's Basketball News Service
Kodak All-District Team (District 4)
Dawn Zerman, Kent
Shelsea Erving, Western Michigan
Tiffany Bell, Buffalo
Cheryl Bowles, Akron
Kodak District Coach of the Year
Bob Lindsay, Kent
GTE/CoSIDA Academic All District IV Team
Karin Husbeck, Toledo -- 3.99 GPA
Jennifer Markwood, Toledo -- 3.91 GPA
Angie Farmer, Bowling Green -- 3.87 GPA
Conference Player of the Year
(Women's Basketball News Service)
Dawn Zerman, Kent
(Women's Basketball News Service)
Kristin Koetsier, Western Michigan
Tamara Bowie, Ball State
Laurie Kitts, Ball State