ROAD TEAMS DOMINATE:
The league portion of the MAC schedule officially opened on Sunday, and the road teams took a dominating role. Of the first four league contests, three of them had the road school coming away with a victory. Kent, Ball State and Eastern Michigan each claimed wins on the road, while Ohio was the lone home school to pick up a win.
BUFFALO IS THE FIRST TO TEN:
Buffalo became the first MAC school to reach the 10-win plateau when the Bulls won a non-conference game at Canisius. UB is currently on a 10-game winning streak, and will attempt to make it 11 when it hosts Ohio in the league opener for the Bulls on Wednesday. The 10-game streak is the longest in school history.
THE NON-CONFERENCE LOOK:
After the first seven weeks of the season, the Mid-American Conference has posted a 59-73 non-conference record, which translates into a .447 winning percentage. That mark also includes an 0-8 record against nationally-ranked opponents.
A LOOK AT THE RPI:
In the weekly installment of the College Basketball News Women's RPI Report (through games of Jan. 2), the Mid-American Conference was ranked No. 17 among the 32 Division I conferences. The MAC had two schools in the top-100 -- Kent (No. 60), Buffalo (No. 100) -- and 10 of the 13 schools in the top 200.
TWO END ABOVE CENTURY MARK:
As the 20th century came to a close, two league schools eclipsed the 100 point barrier. Kent and Ohio each scored 103 points en route to home wins, one of which extended the Golden Flashes' home winning streak to 23 straight games. The Bobcats, who have an above .500 winning percentage for the first time since the 1997-98 season, eclipsed the century mark for the first time since they tallied 122 points versus Canisius during the 1995-96 campaign.
BOWLES REACHES A GRAND:
In the team's win versus Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 28, Akron junior center Cheryl Bowles became the seventh player in Zips history to top the 1,000 point plateau. In two games following a 30-point outburst on Dec. 28, Bowles has climbed to fifth all-time with 1,053.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO BSU:
Ball State entered the holiday break with an above .500 record for the first time in five years. After 12 games Ball State is 8-4, compared to last year when the Cardinals owned a 4-8 record.
WOODS CONTINUES TO SCORE:
Central Michigan senior Shelly Woods is inching closer to the 1,000 career point plateau. She enters the week with 908, which is fourth among active players in the conference. Woods leads CMU in scoring and ranks seventh among the MAC leaders with a 15.3 scoring average.
BG IS LOOKING FOR A LEAD:
Bowling Green, which has a 414-259 overall record in its 26th season of play, has an advantage in the all-time series with 11 of the 12 league schools, and the 12th school -- Buffalo -- is tied in the series at 1-1. The Falcons will look to avenge the team's worst loss in conference history, an 84-51 defeat in Buffalo last year. Saturday's game between the two schools will mark UB's first-ever appearance to Anderson Arena.
STUDER IS STUPENDOUS:
Kent's Julie Studer opened MAC play for the Golden Flashes by scoring a career-high 26 points versus Bowling Green. The junior center also added eight rebounds and connected on 79 percent of her shots from the floor (11-of-14). For the week, Studer averaged 21.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest in a little over 21 minutes of action per game.
A FIRST FOR THE BULLS:
In its sixth year of play in Division I and second in the MAC, Buffalo claimed its first-ever tournament title over the holidays. The Bulls won Florida Atlantic's New Year's tourney after they defeated Northeastern and the host school. Senior guard Sonia Ortega was named the MVP after averaging 16 points, eight rebounds, 3.5 assists and three steals per game.
DIALING "L" FOR LONG RANGE:
Eastern Michigan used the long ball to out gun visiting Illinois-Chicago, 63-54, on Dec. 30. The Eagles hit 12 three-pointers, compared to 10 from the Flames. EMU senior Jessica Henry connected on six treys and a game-high 21 points, while teammates Stephanie Smiley and Lauren Gedonius each had three.
MAC OPENERS TOUGH FOR HERD:
Marshall has had its share of troubles when opening up league play, and Sunday was no different for the Thundering Herd as they dropped a 66-57 decision to Eastern Michigan. The Herd's loss was their third straight MAC-opening defeat. Last year, Marshall fell to Central Michigan and the year prior the Herd lost to Toledo.
WHEN THEY'RE ON, THEY'RE ON:
Through its six wins this season, Miami has dominated the opposition, boasting an average margin of victory of 19.5 points per game. Miami has shot a solid 47 percent from the field during those six contests, while averaging 78.7 points per game. The defense has been stingy during those wins, allowing less than 60 points per game
BUT WHEN THEY'RE OFF ... :
While the six wins outweigh the team's five losses to date, Miami's defeats have been in large numbers. The RedHawks average margin of loss this year is 31.2 points per game, and only one of those losses has been under 30 points -- a 77-65 loss to Ball State. During those defeats, the RedHawks have averaged 49.4 points per game while shooting only 32 percent from the floor. Defensively, Miami has allowed 80.6 points per game.
HALLER LIGHTS IT UP FOR NIU:
Northern Illinois senior Charbea Haller tallied a career-best 19 points in the Huskies' two point loss to Detroit on Dec. 30. Haller, who also added four rebounds and four assists, hit four treys to lift her career total to 73, which places her for fourth in school history. She needs 11 to pass Cindy Conner for third-place.
RISING TO THE OCCASION:
Toledo sophomore Courtney Risinger has started to emerge as an outside shooting threat for the Rockets. The Terre Haute, Ind., native has scored in double figures in each of her last three games, including a career-high 19 versus Youngstown State last Tuesday. In her last three contests, Risinger is averaging 14.7 points and is connecting on nearly 54 percent of her shots from the field (15-of-28). In addition, she is hitting 59 percent (10-of-17) from three-point range.
PUTTING IN SOME EXTRA TIME:
Western Michigan has gone to overtime twice in 10 games this season. That total equals the number of overtime games in the Broncos' last 286 games. WMU lost to Eastern Michigan in overtime last season. Prior to that game, WMU had not needed a bonus session to decide a contest since the 1988-89 campaign. The last time the Broncos played two overtime contests in one year was the 1981-82 season.
CARDS IN PURSUIT OF WIN TOTAL:
With eight wins, Ball State is just one win away from matching the 1998-99 team total of nine wins. In addition, in the last 10 years, a BSU team has posted double figure wins on just three occasions -- 17 in 1989-90, 13 in 1996-97 and 10 in 1997-98.
BOMBS AWAY FOR THE CHIPPEWAS:
Central Michigan set a school record by making 12 three-pointers in the loss Sunday at Ohio. Molli Munz hit half of them with six and Jodi Culbertson had three. The team also attempted a school-record 24 shots from beyond the arc. Munz and Culbertson have combined to tally 56 three-pointers and are also hitting 42 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
ONE-TWO PUNCH IGNITES WMU:
Western Michigan freshman Kristin Koetsier and senior Shelsea Eving almost single-handedly gave the Broncos an 84-68 victory against Campbell in the consolation game of Georgia Tech's tournament. Koetsier, who leads the MAC in scoring (21.6), established a new WMU freshman record with 31 points, while Erving finished with 30 points -- her third career 30-point game. Twenty-six of Erving's points came in the second half.
SEVEN AND COUNTING:
Kent head coach Bob Lindsay needs just seven more victories to reach 200 wins for his career. If he reaches that mark, Lindsay will become the first women's basketball coach, and the fourth basketball coach overall, to reach 200 wins in MAC history.
BALANCED SCORING ATTACK:
Ohio has placed four-or-more players in double figures in scoring in four of the last five games, and are 4-1 in those contests. The only exception was when it lost to Michigan State and only placed three in double digits. In that game, however, Cathy Szall (25 points) and Jacquie Negrelli (24) each recorded career-highs in points. In Szall's next game versus Oakland, she established a new career best with 28 points.
STEVENS STEPPING IT UP:
Marshall's Yashico Stevens has been on a scoring rampage of late for the Thundering Herd. In her last six games, Stevens has established a career high in four of them, including a 21-point performance versus Eastern Michigan. The junior, who has averaged 18.7 points in her past six contests, improved her scoring average to 14.2, which leads Marshall and is 11th in the MAC.
EMU IS SPREADING THE WEALTH:
Eastern Michigan is starting to get leadership from a variety of people on the floor. Through the first 12 games, eight different players have led the Eagles in game scoring, while seven players have also led or tied for the game high in rebounds. Eight Eagles are averaging 5.4 points a game or better.
WAPPES KEEPS GOING AND GOING ...:
Jaymee Wappes has turned in some lengthy performances for Bowling Green this season. The senior, who logs an average of 33.4 minutes per game, has played in 155 of the Falcons' last 160 minutes. Wappes tied a career high last week against Hampton with 11 assists, and she averaged 7.7 assists per game in her three contests last week and, compared to only three turnovers a game.