Big Dog Muscles Zips Past Eagles

Cleveland, OH- The number one seed and heavily favored Akron Zips marched into Cleveland expecting a big win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles. However, Eastern Michigan showed that they meant business and would not be trounced on.

Eastern Michigan would get the first points of the day with an easy layup underneath from James Thompson. Akron would quickly follow with a three from senior forward Reggie McAdams and the frantic pace of MAC Tournament basketball was quickly underway.

The Zips offense seemingly could not get anything going, forcing them to be stuck at just three points heading into the first media timeout, trailing 9-3 with fifteen minutes to go in the first half.

The Eagles continued to control the pace throughout the mid-point of the first half, however the Zips would pick up some much needed momentum following a monster block from Isaiah Johnson, the MAC’s sixth man of the year recipient, on Tim Bond’s driving layup.

The Zips would struggle to find the mark from downtown, something new to the Zips who had the third most three-point field goal attempts in the NCAA during the year. The Zips, only going 2-12 from the field at the eight-minute mark, were well short of their 39.4 percent mark in the regular season.

Akron point guard Noah Robotham would help boost that stat, nailing a triple to cut the Eagles lead to just one at 18-17.

The Zips would grab the lead once again for the first time since the very start of the game following a Johnson finish underneath, giving the Zips a 24-23 lead.

Akron senior forward Jake Kretzer would go down with an apparent chest injury with one minute to go in the half, but would bounce back up and be ok. Kretzer has struggled with a heart condition during his time with the Zips.

Towards the end of the half, Eastern Michigan’s Raven Lee caught Akron guard Josh Williams with an elbow to the face, rendering a flagrant one foul against him. The Zips entered the half leading 35-32, shooting just 36% from the floor and 27% from downtown.

Eagle’s guard Willie Mangum was finally able to get things going and went on his own little 5-0 run to start the half, giving the Eagles a 37-35 edge.

The Eagles would continue to haunt the Zips with their zone defense, forcing Akron to take deep contested threes and make poor post entry passes. An outraged Keith Dambrot, Akron’s head coach, was forced to call a timeout with thirteen minutes to go to halt the 15-3 run.

Isaiah Johnson got the Zips back on track, finishing nicely over two defenders on back to back possessions, cutting into the Eagles lead.

An electric 9-0 run from the Zips, capped off by a Reggie McAdams triple cut the lead to three and had the Akron faithful on their feet and loud for the first time all game.

A huge three from Robotham finally gave the Zips the advantage at 62-61 with fifty seconds to play. A pair of free throws from the Eagles and a Johnson layup for Akron gave the Zips a one-point advantage with just sixteen seconds to play.

A missed driving layup from Raven Lee led to a fast break for the Zips and a missed layup from Josh Williams. However, after getting the rebound, Tim Bond of the Eagles called a timeout. The Eagles had no timeouts remaining, resulting in a technical foul.

Robotham sunk his free throw, and a half court heave from Willie Mangum sailed wide, giving the Zips a 65-63 win.

“Basically the whole game I challenged their adversity,” coach Dambrot said. “We don’t want to shoot any shot not on the break without Big Dog (Isaiah Johnson) touching it.”

“We’ve been in those games before,” Reggie McAdams said. “it shows tremendous character by our teammates.”

Leading the way for the Zips were McAdams with 20 points, along with Johnson who poured in 19. Raven Lee and James Thompson led the way for the Eagles with 23 and 15 points respectively.

The Zips will advance to the semifinals, where they were eliminated last year, and play the winner of Central Michigan and Bowling Green on Friday.

Eagles Cruise by Third Seeded Ball State

Cleveland, OH- The matinee game at The Q pit the number 6-seeded Eastern Michigan Eagles against the number 3-seeded Ball State Cardinals.


Ball State opened up the game with a 10-2 run that put the Eagles of Eastern Michigan on their heals from the get-go. Eastern Michigan battled back mid-way through the first quarter getting the deficit down to one, making it 16-15. The defenses of both teams tightened up towards the end of the quarter, at the end of the 1st Ball State lead 18-17.


The game heated up in intensity as the physicality of play increased. Players from both teams spent time on the floor early in the second quarter, but the referees kept their whistles in check as only one foul was called on either team through the first 3 and a half minutes of the quarter. Cha Sweeney of Eastern Michigan put back a teammates errant shot in mid air to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 21-20. The Eagles went on a 13-4 run primarily led by Sweeney that gave them a 32-24 lead going into halftime. Sweeney led all scorers at the half with 19.


Ball State fought to cut down Eastern Michigan’s lead in the third. Going on 11-4 run to reduce the deficit to one mid way through the third. Cha Sweeney took it upon herself to stop the bleeding for the Eagles extending the lead to 7 with 4 minutes left to play in the third. Stingy defense and shoddy shooting by Ball State allowed the Eagles to take an 8-point lead going into to the 4th with the score 45-37.


The fourth quarter started off similar to the third quarter, Ball State battled back to reduce the gap, but Eastern Michigan kept their foot on the gas. The combination of Cha Sweeney and Chanise Baldwin allowed the Eagles to combat comeback attempts by the Cardinals. Eastern Michigan obtained it’s first double digit lead with a little over 5 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, leading 55-45. Ball State tried to erase the Eagle’s lead by shooting a barrage of threes, but that strategy was largely ineffective. The Cardinals shot a measly 20% from behind the arc. In the end, Eastern Michigan had the best player on the floor, Cha Sweeney dominated the entire game and ended with 29 points.

Eastern Michigan emerged victorious 67-53 and will play Central Michigan on Friday in the semifinals.


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.