Thursday's MAC Women's Results
Notre Dame 72, Central Michigan 63
Murray State 63, Ball St. 53
UMASS 65, Ohio 61
Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Notre Dame 72, Central Michigan 63
MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan gave No. 5 Notre Dame its toughest test of the season Thursday night, but ultimately 25 points from All-American Skylar Diggins helped the Fighting Irish escape with a 72-63 victory inside McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas (2-3), hosting their first top-five opponent in program history, were not fazed by the 2012 National Runner-Up, showing that they can compete with the nation's elite in front of a home crowd of 3,879. Hot shooting was the key for the Maroon and Gold as they knocked down 6-of-13 three-point attempts in a first half that saw 10 lead changes and the score tied five times.
Junior guard Kylie Welch knocked down a trey from the top of the key to give the Chippewas their first lead of the game, 5-4, and a free throw by senior Brandie Baker and layup by sophomore Jessica Green gave CMU its largest lead of the game at the 14:58 mark of the first half, 10-6.
After Green tied the game at 22-22 with 8:41 to play in the first half, Notre Dame went on an 8-1 run over 2:19 to claim a 30-23 lead. The Chippewas responded with a run of their own though, as senior guard Jalisa Olive sparked a 10-0 run with five-straight points that allowed CMU to take the lead, 33-30. A layup by sophomore Jas'Mine Bracey at the 3:41 mark gave CMU its last lead of the game, 35-34, as the Fighting Irish went into halftime with a 40-39 advantage.
The Irish extended their lead to eight twice in the first six minutes of the second half and led 49-41 before a layup by sophomore Crystal Bradford, a three from junior Niki DiGuilio and another layup, this time by junior Taylor Johnson, pulled the Chippewas back within one, 49-48.
ND continued to hold a slight advantage thanks in part to its size, scoring 12 of its next 14 points in the paint to extend its lead back to nine, 64-55. The Chippewas would not go away however, as Olive again scored five-straight points with a pair of free throws and a deep three from the right wing to pull within four, 64-60.
The four-point deficit would be as close as the Chippewas would get, as three-straight from Diggins and a layup by Natalie Achonwa pushed the lead to 69-60 with just over a minute to play.
Diggins knocked down 12-of-14 from the line en route to scoring a game-high 25 points, while Achonwa finished with a double-double, scoring 11 and pulling down 10 boards.
Green led the Chippewas with 19 points and five steals, while DiGuilio knocked down 4-of-5 from deep for 12 points. Olive gave CMU three players in double figures with 10, and Bradford tied her career high with five blocks in the game.
Turnovers were costly in the contest, as Notre Dame turned 23 CMU turnovers into 25 points. The Irish also held a major advantage in free throws, shooting 31 attempts to CMU's 12. CMU's bench was able to outplay the Irish, 34-19, marking the fifth time in as many games that the bench has outscored the opponent's.
The road doesn't get any easier for the Chippewas as they hit the road to take on No. 14 Purdue this Sunday in Mackey Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. and the game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.
Murray State 63, Ball St. 53
Murphy, Ky. - The Ball State women's basketball team (2-5) lost on the road to Murray State (4-3) by a score of 63-53 Thursday night in the CFSB Center.
Junior forward Katie Murphy led the Cardinals with her first double-double of the season after scoring a career high 20 points and tied her personal best rebounding performance with 14. Senior guard Shanee' Jackson tallied a season high nine points on the night.
Ball State was able to cut the Racers 18-point second half advantage to 10 (52-42) at around the seven minute mark with baskets from Murphy, sophomore guard Brittany Carter and junior guard Brandy Woody but the Racers large lead became too much for the Cardinals to overcome.
With 13:38 to play in the game, Murray State's Erika Sisk connected on a three point play after a layup and hitting her free throw to give the Racers one of their largest leads of the contest 48-29. The Racers had been on an 11-0 run before senior guard Shanee' Jackson snapped it with a three pointer at the 13:24 mark.
Murphy opened the game for the Cardinals with a jumper to give Ball State an early 2-0 edge over Murray State. The Racers then put together a 6-0 run to take a 6-2 advantage at the 16:48 mark.
Murray State led the remainder of the first half despite Ball State coming to within four (22-18) with 6:18 remaining on the clock. An 11-3 run by the Racers earned them the 33-22 halftime advantage over the Cardinals.
The Ball State women's basketball team will end its four game road swing at Austin Peay Saturday with a 6:15 (EST) tipoff. The Cardinals will then return home to Worthen Arena, Dec. 6 as they host Detroit Mercy at 7 p.m.
UMASS 65, Ohio 61
ATHENS, Ohio - Freshman Kiyanna Black led all scorers with 21 points, but Ohio Women's Basketball was edged 65-61 by the visiting UMass Minutewomen on Thursday afternoon in The Convocation Center.
Black more than tripled her previous career high of six points, shooting 9-of-20 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. The freshman played a complete game, adding five assists and four steals to her offensive performance, both of which are new career highs.
Shavon Robinson recorded a career high in rebounds, collecting 12 on Thursday. She finished the day with eight points on 4-of-13 shooting.
Rashida Timbilla led the way offensively for UMass, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. She was joined in double figures by Emily Mital, who scored 13 points and grabbed four boards.
Ohio (1-4) trailed for much of the game but stayed close with UMass (2-5) throughout the entire 40 minutes. The Bobcats matched up against a tall, tough defense which blocked 11 shots and held a 46-41 rebounding advantage.
The Bobcats shot 22-of-67 (32.8 percent) from the field, including a 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) mark from distance. Ohio experienced great success from the free-throw line, connecting on 14-of-15 attempts to shoot 93.3 percent.
UMass didn't experience significantly higher levels of success from the field, connecting on 24-of-62 attempts to end the day at 38.7 percent. Massachusetts did have a strong day from beyond the arc, however, shooting 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from long range.
The teams battled through a defensive first half, as each shot 36 percent or below. The UMass defense hounded Ohio in the early going, forcing the Bobcats into 10 turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Each team played well in the post, as both Ohio and UMass ended the first half with 16 points in the paint.
Black (Columbus, Ohio) had a strong first half for the Bobcats, achieving a career high in points just 17:39 into the opening period. The freshman would finish the first half with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting while also adding one assist and one steal. Robinson (Canton, Ohio) had a dominating first half on the glass, collecting seven rebounds in just the first 20 minutes of play. All seven of her rebounds came on the defensive end, limiting the second-chance opportunities afforded to the Minutewomen.
After taking a 31-27 advantage into the locker room, UMass opened the second half on a hot streak, scoring the first seven points of the frame to increase its advantage to 11. Ohio then came back with a quick 8-0 run of its own over the next 2:28 to pull within three at 38-35.
Black would eventually tie the game up at 42 apiece when she stole the ball from Emily Mital and drove the length of the court for a transition basket with 13:09 remaining in the game. Facing a three-point deficit with just under eight minutes to play, Ohio would endure a scoring drought of nearly five minutes, allowing UMass to stretch its lead to eight.
The `Cats got within one score (64-61) when Black hit a jumper with 24 seconds remaining, but the Minutewomen were able to see the game through to the finish from the free-throw line.
Ohio will next be in action on Sunday, Dec. 1 against Detroit. The Bobcats and Titans will tip off from The Convocation Center at 2 p.m. This will serve as the third contest of Ohio's five-game homestand which concludes on Dec. 9 against Morehead State.