Women's Basketball League Play Heats Up This Week

Updated 1/24/1996
WEST'S TOP TEAMS CLASH AGAIN:
There is no rest for the weary as the top two teams in the West Division will clash for the second time in one week. Ball State, which leads the division with a 9-1 mark, will travel to face Toledo, which is second with a 7-1 mark. The Rockets, who trail the Cardinals by percentage points, handed BSU its first loss in MAC play last Wednesday with an 82-72 win in Muncie. After Wednesday's contest, Ball State travels to Buffalo on Saturday before coming home for three of its final four regular season contests.

Toledo, however, will have a tough test on Monday as it hosts Eastern Michigan. The Eagles won a pair of road games last week over Akron and Northern Illinois, the teams first back-to-back road victories of the year, while the Rockets have won five straight overall and four straight at home.

MAC WOMEN IN SPORT WEEK KICKS OFF:
MAC Women in Sport Week, the conferences celebration of young girls involvement in sports, kicked off 12 days of activities surrounding National Girls and Women In Sports Day with its You Go Girl campaign, which began last Saturday and runs until Feb. 14.

The MAC has sponsored a poster contest which is presented by Kraft, the tournament sponsor of the womens basketball tournament. Each schools team will select a winner of the contest at a designated game and that winner will receive four all-session tickets to the 2001 Kraft MAC Womens Basketball tournament. In addition, the winner will also receive a gift basket courtesy of Kraft, will be recognized at halftime of the womens championship game and will have their poster displayed in Gund Arena during the tournament.

This weeks You Go Girl games include: Akron at Central Michigan (Feb. 6); Ball State at Toledo (Feb. 7); and Ball State at Buffalo, Northern Illinois at Ohio, Toledo at Western Michigan and Bowling Green at Akron (Feb. 10).

SWOOPES COMING TO BUFFALO:
As part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, four-time WNBA champion and 2000 WNBA Most Valuable Player Sheryl Swoopes will make a special appearance at the Bulls game against Western Michigan on Wednesday, February 7. The Texas Tech alum will be the keynote speaker at a function on campus, the 11th year that UB has had a function to honor its female athletes. The first 1,000 fans attending the game will receive an autographed photo of Swoopes.

FANS ARE FLOCKING TO CARDS GAMES:
A school-record 1,979 fans attended last Wednesdays game between Ball State and Toledo. Four of the top seven home crowds in school history have happened this season. In addition to the 1,979 fans vs. Toledo Jan. 31, 1,554 fans attended Saturday's game with Miami and 1,427 fans attended BSUs game with Northern Illinois Jan. 13. Ball State is one of four teams in the league to average 1,000-plus fans at home games. In nine games, BSU is averaging 1,003 fans at Worthen Arena.

MASKA JOINS ELITE GROUP:
Eastern Michigan senior Kristy Maska led the Eagles to a pair of wins this week on the road, leading the team in scoring twice and reaching a milestone in the process. Maska tallied a team-high 19 points in the win at Akron, then followed it up with 18 points in the key road win at Northern Illinois. With 13:20 to play in the game at NIU, Maska hit a three-pointer that made her just the sixth player in the history of the league to hit 200 three-pointers in her career and enters the week with 201.

STUDER RANKS AMONG SCHOOL LEADERS:
Kent State's Julie Studer has slowly moved up the career charts this season. Studer is now in the top-10 in six categories. With 70 more attempts she will become the all-time leader in field goal percentage. She currently is shooting 57.2 percent (532-for-930). Studer also ranks third in free-throw percentage (78.4 percent), eighth in free throws made (268) and 10th in free throws attempted (342). Her 532 made field goals is 10th all-time while her scoring average (13.7) is ninth and her blocked shots (52) is tied for eighth all-time.

PLAYING THE NUMBERS GAME:
Entering the week, Miami was averaging only 71.6 ppg. However, Miami scored 88 and 83 points (85.5 ppg) in its two games against the leagues top two teams. The 57 second-half points that Miami allowed against BSU tied a season high given up by the RedHawks. For the first time this season, Miami lost while scoring at least 80 points. Previous to this game, the RedHawks were a perfect 6-0. Senior Hollie Nelsen has hit 29 of her last 33 free throws while Heather Cusick has registered at least one steal in 28 consecutive games.

STREAKING THE WRONG WAY:
Bowling Green dropped its fifth straight MAC contest on Saturday, an 80-64 decision to Kent State. The five consecutive league defeats is a first in school history. Prior to the streak, the Falcons had won eight-straight regular season contests against MAC foes. Senior Jackie Adlington has led the Falcons in rebounding in each of the last six games and is averaging 7.7 boards per game during that span. She is also averaging 7.7 points per contest.

MAC TV PACKAGE CONTINUES:
The MAC's 11-game womens basketball package, which began last Saturday with three games, will continue with two more this Saturday. The Ball State-Buffalo can will be on Empire Sports, while the Toledo at Western Michigan contest will be on Fox Sports Net Ohio. Central Michigans game with Kent State on Saturday will also be broadcasted locally on CMUs PBS station.

MCCLURE HITS 1,000 POINT MARK:
Senior Mari McClure became just the 12th player of all-time in Buffalo women's basketball history to score 1,000 or more points in her career when she hit a three-pointer with 12:40 remaining in the first half of the Bulls 63-55 loss to Northern Illinois on Wednesday, Jan. 31. McClure now has 1,023 career points, putting her in 11th place all-time on UB's career scoring chart. McClure already has 319 points this year, surpassing the 265 points she had in 29 games all of last season The senior is also 76 points from hitting the 1,000 point plateau since the Bulls began MAC play.

HOME STREAK KEEPS GOING FOR KSU:
Kent State extended its school- and MAC-record for consecutive home wins with an 84-51 win over Western Michigan on Jan. 24. The Golden Flashes 40-game home winning streak is the nations second-longest current streak, trailing Texas Techs 41-game streak. It is also tied for the 21st longest streak in NCAA Division I history. Along with the current 40-game home winning streak, the Golden Flashes have also won 49 consecutive home contests versus MAC schools. Kent States next home game will be Feb. 8 against Northern Illinois.

BSU TIES SCHOOL RECORD FOR WINS:
Ball States 17 wins matches the 1974-75 team and the 1989-90 for the most wins in school history. The 33 wins to date for second-year head coach Brenda Oldfield are also the most wins in back-to-back seasons in school annals. In addition, the Cardinals are off to their best start in MAC play in BSU history at 9-1. The nine victories are tied for the second-most in one year in school history -- the school record for MAC wins is 11, set in the 1996-97 season.

BALANCED ATTACK KEY TO SUCCESS:
Why did NIU see its four-game winning streak end Saturday with a 57-50 loss to Eastern Michigan? Only two Huskies scored in double figures -- Jennifer Youngblood with 14 and Michelle Johnson with 11. Northern Illinois is 3-0 this season when four players reach twin digits and 7-2 when three players score ten or more. The only exceptions to that run of success came versus Michigan and at Evansville. But the Huskies are 0-10 when that balance isnt present -- 0-3 with only one double-digit scorer and 0-7 with a pair.

LATE RUN KEYS BOBCATS VICTORY:
For the first time this season, Ohio rallied for a victory after trailing with five minutes to play on Saturday. Akron was ahead 53-49 when the clock went under five minutes, but Ohio scored the next five points. Entering the contest, the Bobcats were 0-13 when trailing with five minutes left. The win for the Bobcats was their second straight and fifth in their last seven.

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 Feb. 4), 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 and nine in the top-200.

School - CBN/WBCA
Toledo - 82/80
Ball State - 108/112
Kent State - 120/120
Eastern Michigan - 126/125
Buffalo - 140/142
Northern Illinois - 154/152
Miami - 169/171
Western Michigan - 176/177
Bowling Green - 198/200

BOWLES BACK ON THE SCORING TRACK:
Akron's Cheryl Bowles has been on a scoring binge of late for the Zips. Bowles, who became the schools all-time leading scorer on Jan. 24, became the 19th player in MAC history to reach the 1,600 point mark with her final point in last Saturday's game at Ohio. The senior had a season-high 25 points and added 10 rebounds against the Bobcats. Bowles has either led or tied for the team high in points in three of Akrons last four contests. For the week, Bowles averaged 17.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game, while connecting on 72 percent of her shots from the floor (13-of-18).

KINDEL SHINES FOR CHIPPEWAS:
While Central Michigan is in the midst of a nine-game losing skid, which is tied for the longest streak in CMU history, freshman Beth Kindel has been a positive note for the Chippewas. Kindel paces CMU in scoring at 11.8 points per game, while also leading the squad in rebounds (7.5 rpg). Kindel has notched double digits in points in six straight contests and eight of her last 10. The rookie is attempting to become the first CMU freshman to lead the team in scoring since Sue Nissen did it in the 1987-88 season.

TRIO SPARKS UT TO WIN AT BSU:
The trio of Kahli Carter, Courtney Risinger and Tia Davis were the major firing power in the Rockets 82-72 win over Ball State, which ended the Cardinals 11-game winning streak. Carter led all scorers with 20 points despite fouling out, while Risinger added 18 points. Davis, meanwhile, did perhaps the most damage to BSU, as she contributed 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Toledo, which shot 73 percent in the first half, ended the game hitting 60 percent of its shots.

3-POINT STREAKS AROUND THE MAC:
Toledo has currently made at least one three-point field goal in each of its last 158 contests, dating back to Jan. 24, 1996. While the Rockets current streak trails Western Michigans 171 consecutive games, Toledo has hit a three-pointer in 361 of its last 362 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 -- 171 (1/18/95)
Toledo -- 158 (1/24/96)
Eastern Michigan -- 122 (12/22/96)
Central Michigan -- 100 (11/29/97)
Bowling Green -- 76 (3/13/98)
Miami -- 73 (11/14/98)
Marshall -- 38 (12/29/99)
Kent State -- 37 (1/15/00)
Ball State -- 30 (2/25/00)
Buffalo -- 23 (2/25/00)
Akron -- 13 (12/8/00)
Ohio -- 10 (1/3/01)
Northern Illinois -- 7 (1/13/01)

PULLING DOWN THE BOARDS:
The Marshall tandem of Au'Yana Ferguson and Catie Knable have emerged into rebounding machines for the Thundering Herd. Ferguson is fourth in the MAC in boards per game (7.8), while Knable is ninth (7.2). Knable pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds against Ohio last Wednesday, then had a team-best nine versus Buffalo.

STEWART NABS 50TH WIN AT WMU:
Western Michigan's Ron Stewart picked up his 50th win as head coach of the Bronco program with a 77-58 victory over Central Michigan. Sarah Hurrle led three WMU players in double figures with 23 points, including five three-pointers. MAC West Division Player of the Week Karen Deurloo added 21 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, while freshman Emily Samuelson chipped in 14 points.

BOMBS AWAY IN MAC PLAY:
Over the last two seasons in MAC play, Bowling Green has been hitting three-pointers in droves. In their last 14 games, the Falcons are averaging 10.3 treys per contest and are hitting 43 percent of three-point shots (144-of-338). BGSU did nail six treys against Kent State on Saturday, the teams lowest output during that time span.

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).

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.

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 Women's 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 went on sale Monday, Jan. 29. General admission tickets for adults will be $10, while student general admission seating is $5.