BATTLE IN EAST OPENS WEEK IN MAC :
Bowling Green, which is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in MAC play, will put its four-game winning streak on the line Monday when it travels to Kent State to battle the Golden Flashes. KSU had its seven-game unbeaten streak come to an end on Saturday when it lost a one-point decision (61-60) to Toledo. The Falcons have been idle since a 63-58 win over the Rockets on Jan. 13.
Ball State at 6-0, meanwhile, is the other MAC school with an unblemished league record. The Cardinals have won nine straight games overall, which is tied for the second-longest current win streak in the country with Delaware, Purdue, Florida International and Fairfield. Notre Dame has the longest win streak at 18 straight games. BSU continues its three-game road trip this week with games Wednesday at Akron and Saturday at Eastern Michigan.
UPCOMING COACHES TELECONFERENCE:
The Mid-American Conference will be hosting two womens basketball conference calls, one to highlight MAC Women In Sport Week, which begins on MAC campuses February 3 and nationally February 6 with National Girls and Women In Sports Day, and the other leading up to the 2001 Kraft MAC Womens Basketball Tournament.
The first date for the conference call will be on Thursday, January 25 and will start at 10 a.m. (ET). The second conference call will be on Thursday, March 1 and will also begin at 10 a.m. (ET) and will serve as a preview to the 20th MAC Womens Basketball Championship. Media members may listen to the teleconference by calling (913) 981-5545.
HOME STREAK KEEPS GOING FOR KSU:
Kent State extended its school- and MAC-record for consecutive home wins with a 71-69 victory over Miami on Wednesday. The Golden Flashes 38-game home winning streak is the nations second-longest current streak, trailing Texas Techs 39-game home winning streak.
Along with the current 38-game home winning streak, the Golden Flashes have also won 47 consecutive home contests versus MAC schools. Kent State will attempt to extend the nations second-longest streak on Monday when it hosts Bowling Green.
YOUTH PREVAILS FOR HUSKIES:
Northern Illinois has one of the youngest teams in the MAC and it shows in the statistics. The Huskies leaders in scoring, rebounding, steals and assists are all either freshmen or sophomores, and are one of seven teams in Division I that can make that distinction -- NIU, Fresno State, Charleston Southern, Dayton, Minnesota, New Mexico State and Sacred Heart. Sophomore Kristan Knake leads NIU in scoring (11.5) and assists (2.9), while freshman Jennifer Youngblood tops the chart in rebounds (7.1) and fellow rookie Lindsay Secrest is first in steals (2.4). NIU Associate SID Robert Hester conducted the survey, with help from the MAC office.
MAC TV PACKAGE KICKS OFF NEXT WEEK:
The MACs 11-game womens basketball package kicks off Saturday, Feb. 3 with three games televised on Fox Sports Net. Bowling Green hosts Kent State on Fox Sports Net Ohio, while the Buffalo-Marshall game will be on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and Empire Sports. Also, the Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois game is slated to be on Fox Sports Net Chicago.
HURRLE TIES MAC TREY RECORD:
Just two days after Western Michigan freshman teammate Emily Samuelson set the program record for 3-point percentage in a game with an .857 mark at Eastern Michigan, senior Sarah Hurrle set a new standard and also tied a league record. Hurrle canned 6-of-6 three-point attempts against Akron Saturday, finishing with a game-high 22 points. Hurrle is making a strong run at the record for treys in a single season. She is on pace for 70 through the Broncos first 15 games. Kelly DeLong holds the top mark with 77 treys during the 1998-99 season.
SIMPSON NABS 300TH WIN OF CAREER:
Marshall head coach Juliene Simpson picked up the 300th for her career last Tuesday with a 80-75 win in overtime over the Chippewas. Simpson has a career record of 300-323 in 23 years of coaching, which includes stops at Amarillo Junior College, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Whitworth, Bucknell and Marshall.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT:
Ohios Ronita Whitfield tallied a career-high 30 points against Ball State in a mini-homecoming sorts for the Indianapolis, Ind, native hitting 14 of 22 field-goal attempts. Both totals are highs by any Bobcat this season. For the week, Whitfield averaged 19 points and six rebounds in two contests for the Bobcats, in addition to connecting on 59 percent of her shots from the field.
CHARLES IS TROUBLE FOR OPPONENTS:
Eastern Michigan forward/center Shani Charles has
returned from a knee injury that sidelined her the entire 1999-2000 season and is again a major factor for the Eagles. She has been in the starting lineup in each of the Eagles 16 contests, averaging team-highs of 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. In conference play only, Charles leads the MAC in rebounding at 10.3 rebounds per game and is averaging 12.8 points in those five contests.
BOWLES NEARS SCHOOL SCORING MARK:
Entering Wednesdays game with Ball State, Akron senior Cheryl Bowles is nine points shy of becoming the schools all-time leading scorer. Bowles has 1,536 points in 102 career games with the Zips, which also ranks 22nd all-time in league history. The center is also 64 points short of becoming only the 19th player in MAC history to register 1,600 career points.
CARDS DOMINATE IN LAST NINE GAMES:
During Ball States current nine-game winning streak, the Cardinals are defeating opponents by an average of 23.9 points. BSU is averaging 86.4 points per game, while limiting its opponents to just 62.6 points per contest. In addition, paced by Tamara Bowies 18.0 points per game, four Cardinals are averaging 11-or-more points through the last nine games.
BIG START FOR FALCONS:
The Falcons are 4-0 in MAC play for the first time in three years. The last team to win the first four conference games was the 1997-98 squad, and that team burst out to a 5-0 league start en route to a final MAC mark of 15-3. This years team is averaging 9.75 three-point field goals and shooting .450 (109-of-242) overall, .448 (39-of-87) from long range and .794 (54-of-68) from the free-throw line over the first four MAC contests.
BELL READY TO MOVE UP LADDER:
With a game-high 17 points against Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Buffalo senior Tiffany Bell moved closer to the second spot all-time on UBs career scoring chart. Bell has 1,381 career points, just two away from tying Lynette Bubel for second place, and she is just 322 points away from the top spot (Brenna Doty, 1,703 career points). Bells game-high 17 points against EMU followed a six-point performance against Ohio which ended her 27-game double figure scoring streak.
A LOOK AT THE RPI:
In this latest installment of the College Basketball News Womens RPI Report and the WBCA Summerville RPI rankings (through games of Jan. 21), the Mid-American Conference was ranked No. 17 and No. 15, respectively among 31 conferences in both listings. The MAC has five schools in the top-150 -- four in the WBCA -- and nine in the top-200.
School -- CBN/WBCA
Toledo -- 91/93
Ball State -- 119/124
Kent State -- 122/123
Eastern Michigan -- 124/127
Buffalo -- 149/152
Northern Illinois -- 159/162
Bowling Green -- 167/171
Western Michigan -- 169/166
Miami -- 193/195
SCORING ATTACK IGNITES BOBCATS:
Ohio shot a season-high 64.8 percent from the field Saturday, hitting 35 of 54 attempts in a 99-78 win at Central Michigan. The league leaders in field-goal percentage most of the year, the Bobcats have hit 53.0 percent over the last four games, including a pair of season highs.
Ohio scored a season-high 99 points against the Chippewas with five players topping double figures. Cathy Szall tallied 20 of her team-high 23 points in the first half, while Beckie Fischer (19) and Latreece Bagley (12) added career highs.
3-POINT STREAKS AROUND THE MAC:
Toledo has currently made at least one three-point field goal in each of its last 155 contests, dating back to Jan. 24, 1996. While the Rockets current streak trails Western Michigans 167 consecutive games, Toledo has hit a three-pointer in 358 of its last 359 games. Below is a look at each of the teams present streak of consecutive games with a made three-point field goal.
Consecutive Games With A 3-Point Field Goal Made (Start of streak):
Western Michigan -- 167 (1/18/95)
Toledo -- 155 (1/24/96)
Eastern Michigan -- 118 (12/22/96)
Central Michigan -- 96 (11/29/97)
Bowling Green -- 71 (3/13/98)
Miami -- 70 (11/14/98)
Marshall -- 34 (12/29/99)
Kent State -- 33 (1/15/00)
Ball State -- 26 (2/25/00)
Buffalo -- 19 (2/25/00)
Akron -- 9 (12/8/00)
Ohio -- 6 (1/3/01)
Northern Illinois -- 3 (1/13/01)
THE NON-CONFERENCE LOOK:
The Mid-American Conference finished the regular season with a 67-76 record in non-conference action (.468), including a 2-9 slate versus nationally-ranked opponents. The MAC completed the 1999-00 season with a 62-77 non-conference record, which translated into a .446 winning percentage. That mark also included a 1-9 record against nationally-ranked opponents. In 1998-99, the MACs record in non-conference play was 59-66 (.472).
CUSICK NETS BIG NUMBERS FOR MIAMI:
Last year as a freshman, Miamis Heather Cusick paced the team in scoring (11.9) and assists per game (4.8) and earned a spot on the leagues all-freshman team. This year, Cusicks numbers have grown to 13.4 points and 5.2 assists per contest, with both numbers ranking in the top 15 in the league. In addition, the sophomore is also averaging 1.9 steals per contest -- 12th in the MAC -- and has recorded at least one steal in 25 straight games.
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE FOR TOLEDO:
Toledo freshman Mary Blessing was inserted into the starting lineup for the Rockets against Northern Illinois, and in 30 minutes of action had four assists, four points, four steals and a pair of rebounds. Against Kent State, Blessing was again in the starting five and dished out nine assists in 33 minutes in addition to scoring five points. In 63 total minutes, Blessing had 13 assists and committed only two turnovers.
PETRIE IS DISHING IT OUT FOR CMU:
In both of Central Michigans games last week freshman Tara Petrie passed out seven assists for the Chippewas against Marshall and Ohio. Prior to last weeks contests, Petrie had 22 assists in 12 games. In the overtime loss to the Thundering Herd, Petrie also contributed a career-best 16 points including four three-pointers.
COMPARING NUMBERS TO A YEAR AGO:
On MAC school has already surpassed last years win total with more than half of the league schedule remaining, while another has equaled its mark. After winning six games total a year ago, Northern Illinois picked up its seventh win on Saturday, a 63-50 triumph over Miami. Marshall, meanwhile, has notched eight wins to date, the same number it won last season.
BSU FEATURED IN DIARY ON ESPN.COM:
The Ball State womens basketball team, under the direction of second-year head coach Brenda Oldfield,
will receive national attention for the remainder of the
basketball season on ESPN.com. Sophomores Amy Zercher and Tamara Bowie will provide an inside look to BSU womens basketball every week by submitting a diary which will be posted on the front page of the womens college basketball site on ESPN.com. The first diary appeared on Jan. 15.
FARMER DELIVERS FOR THE FALCONS:
Bowling Green senior Angie Farmer helped the Falcons to the teams first win over Toledo in nearly three years with 15 points off the bench on last Saturday. Farmer was the only member of the team -- player or coach -- who was on the Falcons squad the last time BGSU defeated its arch rival on Jan. 31, 1998, a 67-63 Falcon victory. Since returning from injury, Farmer has recorded 61 points in only 76 minutes and has hit her last 21 free throw attempts.
UBS RICHTOVA FILLING IN FOR ORTEGA:
In the absence of Buffalo senior Sonia Ortega who was serving a one-game suspension, junior Jana Richtrova earned her first career start against Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Richtrova opened the scoring with a 10-foot jumper and finished with five points, a team and career-high five rebounds, one assist and two steals. For the season, Richtrova is averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.
KENT STATE RECEIVING CHARITY:
The charity stripe has been kind to Kent State throughout the season and of late. They currently rank third in the MAC hitting 73 percent (276-of-378) of the freebies. In six conference contests, the Golden Flashes have hit 91-of-119 (76.5 percent) which also ranks third. In the last two games, Kent State is 43-of-50 (86 percent) from the free-throw line.
MAC TOURNEY MOVES TO GUND:
The 2001 Mid-American Conference Womens Basketball Tournament returns to Cleveland for a second consecutive year but will have a new location and a title sponsor. The MAC Womens Basketball Tournament will be held at Gund Arena, Tuesday, March 6 and Friday-Saturday, March 9-10. The league office announced in October at its media day that Kraft has signed a two-year agreement and will serve as the title sponsor of the tournament.
Five first-round games are slated for Saturday, March 3, with the two division winners and the team with the next best overall MAC record and winning percentage receiving a bye to the quarterfinals. Eight teams will convene in the Rock N Roll city for quarterfinal action on Tuesday, March 6. Two semifinal contests are set for Friday, March 9, while the championship game is slated for Saturday, March 10.
Individual game tickets for action at Gund Arena will go on sale Monday, Jan. 29. General admission tickets for adults will be $10, while student general admission seating is $5.