Courtesy of MAC Athletic Communications Departments
Ball State 67, Northern Kentucky 63
Buffalo 78, Niagara 70
Eastern Michigan 69, Wagner 56
Northern Iowa 66, Northern Illinois 64
Ball State 67, Northern Kentucky 63
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. –Junior Shelbie Justice tied her career high 20 points in the Ball State women's basketball 67-63 victory at Northern Kentucky Saturday afternoon in The Bank of Kentucky Center.
With the win the Cardinals improve their overall record to 4-6, while the Norse falls to 4-7. Ball State shot 51.9 percent from the field while holding Northern Kentucky to 29.4 percent for the day.
Ball State would build its largest lead of the ball game (55-40) after senior guard Brandy Woody knocked down a three pointer with 7:08 left in the second half, but the Norse would continue to fight their way back and eventually go on a 23-9 run to close the Cardinals gap to 64-63 with just under a minute remaining.
The Cardinals would go back up by three (66-63) after a layup in the paint from Justice. A missed jumper from Kaylas Thacker was rebounded by freshman guard Jill Morrison. Morrison was fouled on the play; she would go 1-for-1 from the line to seal the victory for Ball State.
Back-to-back three pointers from Morrison and Woody gave the Cardinals a 10-point lead (32-22) to start the second half.
With the game tied at 4-4 with 15:29 remaining in the first half, the Cardinals managed to put together a 9-0 run over a span of six minutes to take a 13-4 advantage over the Norse.
Northern Kentucky quickly answered with a 12-1 run of their own to go ahead of Ball State 16-15 at the 5:16 mark. A layup from Bennett switched the momentum back to Ball State with 4:44 on the clock. Justice would follow with a three pointer and a fast break layup to help the Cardinals end the half up 26-22 over Northern Kentucky.
For the game Justice led all scorers while teammate sophomore forward Nathalie Fontaine earned a double-double off of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman center Renee Bennett had a personal best 12 points and Woody ended the day with 10.
The Ball State women's basketball team will end its 2013 regular season Dec. 29 at IPFW with a 4:30 p.m. tipoff.
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY - Thanks to a trio of double-doubles, a first for the team in the Division I era, the Buffalo women's basketball team came back from an early deficit to beat Big 4 rival Niagara (2-7) 78-70 at the Gallagher Center Saturday afternoon. Margeaux Gupilan had 13 points with 10 assists, Christa Baccas had 13 points with 13 rebounds, and Kristen Sharkey had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead UB (6-4).
The Purple Eagles came out of the gate hot, and set the offensive tone that both teams would abide by for the first half. Val McQuade would be the key all afternoon for the host, scoring 13 points in the first half before scoring all but 13 of the team's second half points en route to a 31-point day. The Eagles also had Gabby Baldasare go double digits in scoring, with 10 points at halftime, but she was held scoreless for the rest of the game.
For as much success as Niagara had offensively, the Bulls found an unlikely method to find its way to a 44-39 halftime lead. Coming into the game, the team was shooting just 21 percent from three point range for the season, but the bounces finally starting falling their way. Headlined by Gupilan's 2-3 performance and bolstered by a 3-4 half out of Mackenzie Loesing, Buffalo would shoot 7-12 from deep to turn a six point deficit at the 17:47 mark into a six point lead with 4:25 to go in the half. Gupilan did a little bit of everything in the half, with eight points, five assists and two rebounds. Loesing would lead UB in scoring, hitting for 13 with a pair of steals.
After combining for 83 points in the first half, the two teams became mired in foul trouble and turnover issues in the final 20 minutes, and neither would shoot for better than 35 percent from the field. The defensive pressure was ramped up by UB, leading to 14 second half turnovers committed by Niagara (eight coming off steals). McQuade was again the go-to option for Niagara, but a commitment to man-to-man defense by the Bulls would limit her to a strong 10 minutes to start the second half before she would be held without a field goal for the final seven minutes of the game.
The inside duo of Baccas and Sharkey would dictate the play of the second half, combining for 16 points and 15 rebounds. It would be Baccas' first double-double of the season, while Sharkey heated up in time to notch her second double-double in as many games and the third overall this season. Gupilan would finish her day with 13 points and 10 assists, along with five steals. It was the first time a UB player would reach double figures for assists since Feb. 16, 2011, when current assistant Ashley Zuber had 11 against Ohio.
Buffalo dominated the glass for a 48-34 advantage, recording more offensive rebounds (25) than Niagara had defensive (23). With the win, the Bulls finish the Big 4 season with a 2-1 record and now have won nine straight against Niagara.
After enjoying the Christmas break, the team will finally return home for its first home game in nearly a month when it hosts Roberts Wesleyan on New Year's Day. First tip is scheduled for 1 pm.
STONY BROOK, N.Y. (EMUEagles.com) -- The Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team secured a 69-56 victory over Wagner College in the first game of the Seawolves Holiday Classic Presented by Hilton Garden Inn, Saturday, Dec. 21. The victory boosted the Green and White to 8-1 on the year, while the Seahawks fall to 1-8. Just nine games into the season, the Eagles have already matched their entire win total from the 2012-13 campaign, as the squad has made a significant turnaround coming off a 8-22 record.
The Eagles were led by freshman Cha Sweeney (Toledo, Ohio-Rogers), who had a team-best 18 points, four steals, and two assists. The rookie guard went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the victory. Senior Desyree Thomas (Waterford, Mich.-Mott) notched 17 points while also recourding a four steals and a duo of dimes. Redshirt-junior Olivia Fouty (Toledo, Ohio-Sylvania Northview) pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.
As a team, the Eagles shot 23-of-73 from the field for a 31.5 percent clip. However, they sunk a season-best 81.8 percent of their free throws after going 18-of-22 from behind the charity stripe. The Green and White also nabbed 19 steals while forcing an additional 12 turnovers from Wagner, while only having the ball snatched from its hands four times. Though the Seahawks boasted a higher shooting clip at 39.6 percentage, the Eagles only allowed Wagner to score 19 field goals throughout the entire contest.
After Wagner's Jordyn Peck dropped in the first pair of points for the Seahawks, a pair of free throws from Janay Morton (Brooklyn Park, Minn.-Osseo) tied up the contest. Aggressive defense and rebounding gave the Green and White ample scoring opportunities, but the squad was unable to convert in its first handful of attempts.
Wagner took a slight lead after a three-point play from Tessa Wade before Haley Moore (Milford, Neb.-Milford) stepped up to ignite the offense with a long three. Natachia Watkins (South Euclid, Ohio-Brush) helped extend the lead to 9-5 by nabbing a steal under the Wagner hoop and found Thomas down-court for a fastbreak play to Thomas for an uncontested layup.
EMU was able to keep Wagner scoreless for over five minutes before Jasmine Nwajei sank a pair of free throws and a layup to bring the Seahawks within two points of the Eagles. Eastern would answer back with an 11-0 run thanks in large part to forced turnovers and finding open players in the low post. The Seahawks hit a patch of smooth sailing in their offense as they were able to break through to the basket for an additional four points, yet still trailed 24-13 with 7:32 remaining in the opening half.
The Eagles continued to score with an apparent ease, as Watkins led the way with eight points during the remainder of the first half. Wagner was able to more than double its score, notiching 14 points in the final four and a half minutes. However, only six points were earned through field goals, as the remaining eight points were tallied by way of shots from behind the charity stripe. Despite the sudden point-making effort from the Seahawks, the Green and White retained the lead, 39-27, at the close of the first half.
Eastern struggled somewhat in the first half compared to its usual 42.0 shooting percentage, going 14-for-43 for a 32.6 percent rate. The Eagles were able to make up for the defecit from behind the free throw line as they were nearly perfect, going 9-of-10 on free throw attempts. Watkins led all players, dropping in 12 points for the Green and White. Jamaica Bucknor (New Haven, Conn.-Weaver (ASA College)) grabbed a team-high five rebounds, while Thomas picked the Seahawsk' pockets three times. Overall, the Eagles had six steals and forced an additional 10 turnovers while only allowing Wagner to go 8-of-23 for a 34.8 percent clip.
Both teams came out with intensity to score as the Eagles and Seahawks traded blows in the opening minutes of the second half. Sweeney nailed a triple to open up scoring for the Eagles, followed by back-to-back layups by Thomas. Meanwhile, Wagner found the way to the basket for three field goals. The Eagles were able to put a stop to their drives as Sweeney capped off the 12-6 run with another triple to force a Wagner timeout at 51-33.
The Seahawks mustered a 10-2 run after regrouping and increased their defensive pressure and relied heavily on the until-recently dormant Ugo Nwaigwe, who scored six consecutive points for Wagner to bring them within 10 points, down 53-43 with just over ten minutes remaining.
The Eagles put an end to another Seahawk run of seven points after a Sara Stone (Plymouth, Mich.-Salem) free throw, after which Thomas found her way to the hoop for a layup to bring the count to 58-52. In her first game donning the Green and White, Shannise Heady (Hazel Crest, Ill.-Hillcrest (Seton Hall)) came away with a steal off a long pass and dished it out to Morton, who drew the foul off a layup and hit both her free throws to retain the lead as the Seahawks continued to close the scoring gap, 60-54.
A steal and layup by Sweeney slowed the momentum for the Seahawks, as Thomas drained a three to build the lead back up for the Eagles. Eastern ended the contest on a 9-0 run led by Sweeney with six points. After regaining control of the matchup, the Green and White closed out the first game of the Seawolves Holiday Classic Presented by Hilton Garden Inn with a 69-56 victory.
The Eagles will continue competition in the Seawolves Holiday Classic Presented by Hilton Garden Inn with a noon tilt, Dec. 22, at Stony Brook University. Live stats and video will be avaliable through GoSeawolves.org.
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois led or was tied with Northern Iowa for 39:46 of the game Saturday afternoon at the NIU Convocation Center but a backdoor layup by the Panthers' Brittni Donaldson with 2.7 seconds left on the clock secured UNI's victory, 66-64. The Huskies (4-5) made three more field goals than the Panthers (4-7) in the contest, 27-24, and outscored UNI in the paint, 42-22, while also out rebounding them, 36-28.
"I felt like we beat ourselves today," said Head Coach Kathi Bennett. "Our unforced turnovers down the stretch led to us fading out. It's disappointing. I thought we broke through that learning how to win barrier. We have to play incredibly hard and scrappy, and be able to defensively lockdown to win games."
Starting the first half with only six points, junior Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) scored 12 points in the second half to finish with 18 points for NIU. Corral was 6-for-11 from the field and 6-for-6 at the free throw line. She also added five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Freshman Jazmine Harris (West Allis, Wis./Heritage Christian), who entered the game with career-high of eight points, almost doubled that effort against the Panthers as she scored 15 points off the bench. Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The Huskies carried a 32-25 advantage at the half and only allowed the Panthers to shoot .345 from the field (10-29). Northern Illinois also out rebounded Northern Iowa in the frame 26-13. A layup by Harris with 2:24 remaining in the stanza gave NIU its largest lead of the game at 11 points. She led all scorers in first half with 10 points and did so in only nine minutes of action.
In the second period, the Panthers took advantage of their three-point shooting ability as they shot 7-of-13 (.538) from behind the arc in the half. UNI finished 10-of-26 (.384) in the game.
Corral commanded the floor for Northern Illinois in the second stanza as she worked around the Panthers defense, thanks to set screens by the NIU post players. She slashed her way to 12 points in the frame and helped the Huskies maintain a two-possession lead while UNI sank its three point shots to cut away at the Huskie lead.
Hannah Schonhardt was Northern Iowa's hero Saturday as she scored 16 points in the second half, shooting 6-for-7 from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. With 2:12 left on the clock, she hit a trey to tie the game, 62-62, to finish the game with 24 points. Two free throws by Stephanie Davidson gave UNI its first lead with 35 seconds remaining.
The Huskies worked quickly down the court and with Pulliam and Corral controlling the perimeter passing, it was Corral who rifled a pass through a narrow window of Panther Purple to Augusta's right hand that allowed NIU to tie it back up, 64-64, as Augusta painted the glass with a layup at the 24 second mark. Northern Iowa would let the clock wind down to four seconds before finding Donaldson, who went for the wraparound, right handed layup on the baseline to give UNI its final lead with 2.7 seconds left.
Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) finished with eight points and two blocks, giving her four blocks in the last two games this season.
The Huskies will take a holiday break and return to action Tuesday, December 31 for a matchup with UIC at the NIU Convocation Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.