MAC Women's Basketball Notes

Updated 2/7/2000
REDHAWKS MAKING SOME NOISE:
Miami made some big strides last week towards the MAC Tournament, which begins later this month. The RedHawks, who are on a four-game winning streak, held onto their spot in second place in the East Division with wins over a pair of divisional foes -- Kent and Akron. The win over Kent ended the Golden Flashes streak of 18 consecutive regular season conference wins, and also stopped their 12-game winning streak. The victories also allowed Miami to surpass last year's win overall (11) and league (7) win totals.

MAC TV GAME OF THE WEEK:
Ohio travels to Marshall on Saturday for the league's television game of the week. Bill Needle (play-by-play) and former Ohio head coach Amy Prichard (analyst) will call the action from the Cam Henderson Center for the 4 p.m. game, which can be seen live on Fox Sports Net Ohio.

THAT'S THE TICKET:
Tickets for the 2000 Mid-American Conference Women's Basketball Tournament March 2-4 at Public Hall are now on sale and can be purchased by contacting Ticketmaster at (216) 241-5555. Prices for an all-session ticket (good for all seven games) are $30 for adults and $20 for students 18 and under and for seniors 55 and older for reserved seats, while general admission seats are $25 for adults and $15 for students/seniors. Single session tickets begin at $5 for general admission and $6 for reserved seats. To purchase tickets for a specific school section, please contact that institution's ticket office.

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).

A LOOK AT THE RPI:
In the weekly installment of the College Basketball News Women's RPI Report (through games of Feb. 6), 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 four schools in the top-125 -- Kent (No. 40), Western Michigan (No. 92), Buffalo (No. 96) and Miami (No. 125) -- and eight of the 13 schools in the top 200 of the RPI Report.

BULLISH ON THE ROAD:
One of the league's surprise teams this year, Buffalo, has produced wins the hard way, on the road. The Bulls on Saturday became the first MAC school to record five league wins on the road. Buffalo, which is 5-2 in MAC play away from home, are 10-2 overall on the road. Buffalo finishes the regular season with four of its last five games at home, where the Bulls are 6-2. Its lone remaining road game is a date at Kent on Feb. 23.

NEARING THE 1,000 POINT LEVEL:
So far this season, two MAC players have reached the 1,000 point plateau for their career -- Akron's Cheryl Bowles and Central Michigan's Shelly Woods -- to go with Western Michigan's Shelsea Erving and Kent's Dawn Zerman, who topped the barrier last year. Entering play this week, four players are within 45 points of the exclusive club. Miami's Jamie Stewart is four points shy of becoming the 12th player in RedHawk history to accomplish the feat, while Akron's Abby Hoy is 12 short, Buffalo's Tiffany Bell is 28 away and Western Michigan's Danielle Mueller is 44 short.

MARSHALL NETS FIRST MAC WIN:
Last Wednesday, Marshall won its first league game of the season, defeating Bowling Green 69-59. The win for the Thundering Herd snapped a 17-game conference losing streak. Toni Patillo led all scorers with 16 points and added eight rebounds, while Yashico Stevens had 12 points and 10 boards.

LET'S WAIT TO THE END TO LEAD:
Western Michigan led Eastern Michigan for just one second in its 74-72 victory over the Eagles on Thursday, but it was at the best possible time. Sophomore Brianne Gallert's running jumper as time expired gave WMU the last-second win over its cross-state rival and capped off a rally that saw the Broncos erase a 15-point EMU advantage.

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 (1,524), 400 career assists (422) and 250 career steals (290). 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.

MASKA IS BACK FOR EMU:
After going through a up-and-down season, Eastern Michigan junior guard Kristy Maska has helped spark the Eagles late in the season. In the last four games, Maska has averaged 18.8 points and hit on 45.8 percent of her shots from the floor and 39.5 percent from the three-point arc. She posted a season-high 25 points at Central Michigan and has been in double digits in each of the last four games.

SCHOOLS JOCKEY FOR POSITION:
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, there will be plenty of schools that will be jockeying for position for the league tournament, which begins with first-round games on campus sites on Feb. 28. Two games currently separate five teams for spots three through seven, should the season have ended with games over the weekend.

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 games this past weekend.


East Division		Pick	+/-
Kent			1st	even
Miami			3rd	+1
Buffalo			5th	+2
Ohio			6th	+2
Bowling Green		4th	even
Akron			3rd	-1
Marshall		7th	even

West Division		Pick	+/-
Western Michigan	2nd	+1
Toledo			1st	-1
Ball State		6th	+3
Central Michigan	5th	+2
Eastern Michigan	3rd	-2
Northern Illinois	4th	-2

JONES IS DOUBLE TROUBLE:
Ball State sophomore Christy Jones recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Buffalo. That performance marked her fifth straight double-double , while her nine double-doubles ranks second in the league to Western Michigan's Kristin Koetsier.

OHIO DROPS HEARTBREAKER:
The one-point loss to Buffalo last Saturday was Ohio's second in the last minute this season. The Bobcats lost in the last minute to Cincinnati in its other close loss in early December. Buffalo's Sonia Ortega drove three-quarter court for a running layup with eight tenths of a second left in the game to give UB a 71-70 win.

LONG TIME COMING FOR NIU:
Northern Illinois broke a 13-year drought last Wednesday when the Huskies defeated Toledo, 61-60. The last NIU victory over the Rockets came on Jan. 21, 1987 (71-56). Charbea Haller led the Huskies with 25 points, while freshman Kristan Knake registered her first-ever double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

DIFFERENT ROLE, SAME OUTPUT:
Toledo junior Kahli Carter received her first start of the MAC campaign on Saturday against Ball State and tallied 14 points, despite playing just 16 minutes due to foul trouble. She is the Rockets' leading scorer in MAC games at 12.3 ppg despite playing just over 20 minutes per contest. Ironically, the starter Carter replaced, senior Karin Husbeck, responded with a season-high 20 points in the win over the Cardinals.

CMU DUO IN BATTLE FOR TOP SPOT:
Central Michigan has a pair of players that are in a race for two three-point titles this season. Jodi Culbertson set the CMU record for three-pointers in a season two weeks ago by hitting her 56th of the year, and is presently second in the league in treys made per game (2.67). Teammate Molli Munz is right behind, though, in a tie for third with 51. Munz leads the MAC in three-point percentage at .443 (51-for-115).

BENCH SUPPORT INGNITES UB:
The offensive production of Buffalo junior Tara Perrier off the bench of late is one of the reasons why the Bulls are 17-5, and off to their best start since they opened the 1996-97 campaign with an 18-5 mark. Perrier averaged 18.5 points last week despite averaging only 25 minutes per game. Her 22 points against Ohio helped the Bulls win their fourth straight league game on the road. Perrier's 37 points last week in two games are more than she totaled in each of her first two years combined (32).

NEON DIONNE:
Western Michigan senior Dionne Lassila stepped into the starting lineup in WMU's victories over EMU and CMU and made some key contributions. Lassila scored 10 points and played all 40 minutes in the triumph over Eastern Michigan Thursday. At Central Michigan on Saturday, Lassila scored a season-high 12 points, canning a personal-best four 3-point baskets. The senior has canned 18 3-pointers this season after totaling 20 in her first three collegiate seasons.

KENT DOING IT WITH DEFENSE:
One big reason for Kent's success this season is its fullcourt pressure defense. Kent is averaging 11.4 steals per game and is causing 25.0 opponent turnovers per contest this season. Kent's plus-5.19 turnover margin also tops the league standings. In addition, Kent is holding its opponents to an average of 68.4 points per game this season. When Kent's foe scores 69 or fewer points the Flashes are 12-0 this season.

THE FIRST OF FOUR AT HOME:
After playing five of its last seven on the road, Bowling Green is at home for its next four contests, beginning Monday against Northern Illinois. Of those four opponents, three of them have sub-.500 records, while Miami is the lone school to have a winning mark in MAC play.

HAMILTON NEARING TOP FIVE:
Miami senior AuBree Hamilton enters this week's action needing three blocked shots to enter the top five in league history. Hamilton, who swatted seven shots in two games last week, has 120 blocked shots in her career, which also ranks her second all-time in Miami history. Former Western Michigan player Melissa O'Mara presently sits fifth with 123, while Miami record holder Amy Franz is fourth with 131.

HOME STREAKS ARE ON THE LINE:
Kent and Toledo will both have its home streaks tested again this week. The Golden Flashes have a 28-game home winning streak entering their contest with Central Michigan on Thursday. Toledo's 19-game MAC homecourt winning streak will also be put to the test as the Rockets host Western Michigan on Wednesday.

CULBERTSON REMAINS PERFECT:
Central Michigan senior Jodi Culbertson remains a perfect 22-for-22 from the free throw line this season. She has hit 24 straight dating back to last season. Culbertson is 51-for-55 (.927) in her limited trips to the stripe during her career.