Chippewas Chomp Down on Broncos in Second Half

Cleveland, OH- Following a gutsy overtime win by the Akron Zips, fans at Quicken Loans Arena would be treated to another fantastic contest between the second seeded Central Michigan Chippewas and the seventh seeded Western Michigan Broncos.

The Broncos jumped out to a quick 14-2 lead before Central Michigan was able to calm the storm a little bit. Junior guard Meredith Shipman led the Broncos early and often, dropping 14 points, 12 of those coming from three-point land, in the first quarter. This bolstered the Broncos to a 25-15 lead after one.

Halfway through the second quarter, the Chippewas were still struggling to find answers. The Broncos hammered away on offense, finding Shipman for yet another three along with a couple fast break layups from other contributors, and all of a sudden the Western lead was 34-19. The Chippewas offense, which averaged 74.7 points a game during the season, could not find their wheels.

The Chippewas came storming back, however, using an impressive 11-2 run capped off by an easy finish from sophomore forward Tinara Moore to cut into the lead, 36-30. The difference in the first half was certainly three pointers, with Western outdueling Central in that category six to one.

The second half started with a Steph Curry like three ball from well over 30 feet from the Broncos’ Morton, however not much else would go their way at the start. Central Michigan erupted for a 9-2 start afterwards that put them right back in the ballgame.

More back and forth action ensued to close out the third, as the Broncos and the Chippewas entered the final frame with a score of 52-50 in favor of Western Michigan.

The 4th quarter opened with a huge three from Central Michigan sophomore guard Cassie Breen to finally give them their first lead of the game, 53-52.

Central would extend the lead to 59-54, seemingly having Western on the ropes, before a big three from Deborah Meeks cut the lead to two. This would cause a Central timeout with just under five minutes to play.

With 1:30 to go, Breen delivered from long range once again, giving the Chips a 64-60 lead. A forced three from Shipman, who had cooled off in the second half, sealed Western Michigan’s fate. Shipman chirped all the way back down the floor for a foul call but to no avail as the Broncos would have to fall and come up short, 66-62.

The Broncos put four players in double figures in the scoring column, including Meredith Shipman who finished with 17. For the Chippewas, it was Tinara Moore and Presley Hudson leading the way with 18 points each, along with a 16 point effort from Jewel Cotton who only averaged just under eight points per game in the regular season.

The Chippewas will advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2014, where they will take on the winner of Ball State and Eastern Michigan.

 

 

 

Anita Brown’s 37 sparked a Zips win

Cleveland, OH- The Akron women’s basketball team enters the MAC championship as the number 5 seed, with Toledo standing at the number 4 seed. This quarterfinals game took place at the Q in Cleveland. The game had a lot of hype because Akron took the first game with a score of 81-71 midseason.

 

The game started off very quickly with Akron’s DiAndra Gibson hitting a 3, and having 5 points in the beginning of the quarter along with Anita Browns’ 5. Toledo was giving a solid effort but could not keep up with Akron’s 22 in the first quarter. Anita Brown was ripping through the lane, and put up 11 points in the first quarter. Toledo had a collective team effort with 5 players on the board in the first but Akron held the lead with the score being 22-17.

 

In the beginning of the of the 2nd quarter Akron’s Hanna Plybon came of off a mean screen and hit a quick three, and Toledo’s Janice Monakana responded with a three of her own. Toledo’s senior Brenae Harris put in 10 points of her own by the middle of the second quarter, and was an impact player while it was still a tight game. Anita Brown made it very difficult for Toledo as the 2nd quarter went on, but they hung in there.

 

DiAndra Gibson hit a deep three in the Q with two minutes remaining in the first half, and continued scoring. Gibson ended the first half with 8 points and a rebound along with Anita Brown’s 21 and 4 rebounds. Toledo’s leading scorers were Janice Monakana with 11 points and 5 rebounds, and Brenae Harris’s 10 points and a rebound. The end score of a hard fought game at the half was 40-36 with Akron leading.

 

The third quarter started off with a very fast pace, and a added a quick layup for Anita Browns 23rd point of the day. Janice Monakana went out early in the 3rd with a knee tweak, and that put a damper on scoring. Things got a little scrappy midway through the third quarter while Akron had a comfortable lead of 10.

 

After 3 quarters the Akron Zips led the game 50-44, and the leading scorer for Akron had 25 while Toledo’s leading scorer had 15. Megan Barilla ended the quarter with 6 points, and 9 rebounds, and really made a huge impact.

 

In the 4th quarter the star player for the Rockets returned, and continued to make an impact while starting the 4th quarter with 11 points, and 7 rebounds. With 8 minutes remaining in the 4th, the forward for Toledo, Ana Capototso hit a 3 pointer to tie the game up at 50-50.

 

Going down the stretch of the 4th, Akrons Anita Brown hit a difficult contested shot to put the lead up by 2. DiAndra Gibson received her 5th foul with 3 minutes left in the game and really put a hole in the Akron Zips offense. Toledo’s Brenae Harris put in a solid 19 with 2 minutes left, but Anita Brown kept it tight with a fast break layup.

 

With an exciting ending, Akrons Greta Burry hit a layup that tied the game with 10 seconds left with a score of 60-60. Akron regained possession with 2.6 seconds left, and used a quick timeout to bring have a chance at a game winning shot. Anita Brown was very close to hitting a game winning shot but slightly missed off of the backboard, and brought it to OT, with a score of 60-60.

 

Akron started off hot in OT, and Anita Brown got a quick bucket to stretch the lead 64-61. Hannah Plybon hit a very clutch 3 for Akron with time running down to give Akron a 67-63 lead, and really broke the game open for Akron. The action was non-stop as Brenae Harris hit a pair of free throws to bring the game within 2.

 

In the final moments of the game, Anita Brown hit a pair of free throws to end the game. Akron Zips won a nail biter, 73-71 and advanced to the semi-finals to face Buffalo.

Upset Alert in The Q

 

Cleveland, OH- Women’s basketball kicked off the MAC basketball tournament today. The number 8-seeded Buffalo Bulls against the number 1-seeded Ohio bobcats.

 

It was a rough start for both teams offensively, possibly suffering from the opening round jitters, as it took a full two minutes to put any points on the board. Brittany Morrison for Buffalo hit one of two free throws to get the first points on the ledger.

 

The first quarter was scrappily played and points were tough to come by. Buffalo broke out the full court press with 7 minutes left to play in the first.

 

The highlight of the first half was without a doubt OU’s Kiyanna Black, hitting a cross over step back three that was Steph Curry esc, and it gave the Bobcats a 16-14 second quarter lead.

 

Ohio U maintained a tight 29-28 lead going into the half. Quiera Lampkins lead the Bobcats with 15 first half points and Joanna Smith had 10 points for the Bulls.

 

The Bobcats had looked to reverse their fortunes against Buffalo heading into this game as the Bulls had beaten the Bobcats in their previous two match ups.

 

The halftime shoot around paid dividends for both teams as scoring ramped up in the third quarter. Buffalo went on a momentum shifting 9-0 run that saw Buffalo’s Joanna Smith take over the Bulls’ offense, scoring 6 of the points during the run and give Buffalo a 50-45 lead.

 

Buffalo seemed to be pulling away and drawing ever closer to a first round upset over the 1st seeded Bobcats. The Bulls’ Joanna Smith and Stephanie Reid dominated the fourth quarter, Smith handled the offense early in the fourth and Reid capped off the fourth with an And-1 that seemed to dissolve any hope the Bobcats had at making a comeback.

 

Buffalo finished the first round upset of Ohio U, beating the Bobcats 72-60 and advancing onto the semi-finals. Buffalo will face the winner of Akron and Toledo on March 11th.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets Season Preview 2015-2016

By Jacob Allen

Hopes are high in the state capital this year, and not just for the Buckeyes. Last season, coming off only their second playoff year, the Blue Jackets fell nine points short of the postseason. They did, however, finish the season by winning twelve out of their last thirteen games, and they hope to ride that momentum into this season.

Adding a boost to those hopes is the addition of left wing Brandon Saad, who was acquired in a trade over the offseason from the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Saad, only 22, has already won two championships with the Blackhawks. The team also signed rugged center Gregory Campbell, who won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011. These two are expected to provide some much needed playoff experience for a team that has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs.

Last season Saad, a native of Pittsburgh, scored 23 goals and added 29 assists while playing with all-star talent in Chicago. But don’t expect a large drop-off, as he is expected to play with 2015 All-Stars Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno. Each player had career years last year while playing with each other for the majority of the season. Johansen collected 26 goals with a career high 71 points, while Foligno, who was named team captain over the summer, had a career high in goals with 31 and points with 73. Columbus hopes that adding Saad to an already great line could make it one of the best in the league.

Let’s not forget the rest of the team, however. Two wingers that each scored over twenty goals last year in Scott Hartnell and Cam Atkinson could flank solid two-way center Brandon Dubinsky on the team’s second line. The Jackets also have some good young talent among the bottom-six forwards, with 22-year-old Swedish center Alexander Wennberg, 22-year-old power forward Boone Jenner, and gritty 25-year-old Matt Calvert all capable of scoring at any time. Veteran forwards Jared Boll, Rene Bourque, David Clarkson, and Campbell will round out the forward group and should make an impact physically while providing occasional offense.

Defense is considered to be the weak spot of the team, but still has the pieces to contend provided they stay healthy. Ryan Murray, the former second overall pick, played in only twelve games for the team last year, and he may be their best defenseman. David Savard and Jack Johnson look to provide some offense to the blue line again this year. Savard scored 11 goals while adding 25 assists while Johnson had 8 goals and 40 points last season, and both scored 3 times while on the power play. 32-year-old Fedor Tyutin is the elder and leader of the defense, and he is vital on the penalty kill. The group will be rounded out by three 25-year-olds, in Kevin Connauton, Cody Goloubef, and Dalton Prout.

Finally, you can’t talk about the Columbus Blue Jackets without mentioning Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky, entering his fourth year with the team, has been instrumental in turning around a franchise that was mediocre for the first decade of its existence. Last season he went 30-17-3 while recording two shutouts. He has won thirty games in each of the past two seasons, and won 21 in 2013 in only 38 games. He has constantly been at the top of the leader boards in goals-against average as well as save percentage since joining the team, and may be their most valuable player. Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney went 12-14-2 last season, and can provide solid help when needed, but he can’t replace Bobrovsky.

This season this very young Blue Jackets squad needs many things to go their way. Mostly they need to stay healthy, as they led the league in man games lost last season with 502, which was a team record. They can’t afford this again, especially to crucial players like Bobrovsky, Murray, Jenner, and Dubinsky, each of whom missed significant time last season. They need the defense to play above themselves and secondary scoring from the third and fourth lines. If they could do these things you can expect to see the Columbus Blue Jackets have their best season of all-time.