Central Michigan Caps Magical Season with MAC Title

 

For the first time since 2013, the Central Michigan Chippewas women’s basketball team will be going to the NCAA Tournament.

Both the Chippewas and the Bulls expected themselves to be in this game after going 17-1 and 16-2 in conference play respectively.

Presley Hudson lit the Chippewas offensive spark early and often, pouring in 11 points going 3-3 from downtown. The Chippewas turned things up defensively as well, as they were able to frustrate Buffalo point guard Stephanie Reid who was 0-2 after the first quarter.

The game would turn on its head in the second quarter, however, as all good MAC Tournament Championship Games seem to. Down 34-23, Buffalo forward Mariah Suchan nearly dove out of bounds to save a loose ball to Reid, who found sharpshooter Cierra Dillard open for 3. This sparked a 17-5 run that put Buffalo up 40-39 via another Dillard 3 ball. Central would calm the storm a bit as Presley Hudson and gang would retake a 43-40 lead heading into halftime.

The second half absolutely belonged to Chippewa senior Tinara Moore. After a scoreless first half (with only 2 touches according to coach Sue Guevara in the post-game presser), Moore established a dominant presence down low. Hudson and Moore dissected the Bulls defense with the high pick and roll as Moore cruised to a 17-point second half performance and finished with 14 rebounds.

Central would extend the lead to as much as 14 before Buffalo made another run to cut it to 4. The Chippewas were able to make enough of their free throws in the closing seconds, however, as Central Michigan punched their ticket with a 96-91 victory.

As mentioned, Tinara Moore’s rebounding down low was too much for Buffalo as double teams failed to slow her down even the slightest. Guards Micaela Kelly and Presley Hudson poured in 26 points each as they frustrated Buffalo’s perimeter defense all day. All starters for Central Michigan finished in double digit scoring.

All-MAC Tournament honors from Central Michigan went to Tinara Moore, Micaela Kelly, and MAC Tournament MVP Reyna Frost who had 10 points and 11 boards in the championship win. Frost scored 14 in the quarterfinal win over Eastern Michigan and 18 in the semifinal win over Miami Ohio. “Thank my teammates and thank my coaches for giving me this award”, tournament MVP Frost said, “preparing me for these games”.

For Buffalo, Cierra Dillard was not her usual self from the field as she really struggled to be efficient. Dillard would finish with 26 points on 6-20 from the field and 5-15 from 3. Stephanie Reid, one of the leaders of this Buffalo team, suffered 2 injuries in the game, the latter of which ending her day.
In inadvertent elbow to her right wrist late in the 3rd forced the trainer to wrap it.

Reid would sit the beginning of the 4th and a sprained ankle at the 5-minute mark would end her day. She would finish with 15 points. A technical foul on Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack with 8 minutes left for disagreeing with a call would prove crucial down the stretch.

Despite 17 turnovers for Central compared to just 5 for Buffalo, the Chippewas overcame this with their persistence on the glass (primarily because of Moore). Central outrebounded Buffalo 44-34 and those extra possessions down the stretch really took the life out of the Buffalo defense.

Buffalo, after a 27-5 regular season record, is still hoping to be a team to receive an at-large bid. “I don’t see how they can’t be”, said Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara. “They’re one of the top 64 teams in this country”. Coach Guevara also pointed out the MAC Conference was 7th overall in RPI which should work in Buffalo’s favor.

Buffalo forward Summer Hemphill also believes that this Bulls team still has work to do. “The season’s definitely not over”, the freshman said. “We have a longer run to look forward to”.

 

 

 

 

 

Reid Lifts Buffalo over Central Michigan in Overtime 73-71 to Win the Women’s MAC Championship

Cleveland, Oh- After it was all said and done, and the confetti fell, Buffalo came out on top of the Women’s MAC Championship as Champs. Buffalo defeated Central Michigan in Overtime 73-71 with a game winning shot by Sophomore Stephanie Reid. To clinch Buffalo’s first Women’s MAC Championship.

After a back and forth game, that would go into overtime, Buffalo held on with one final play. Buffalo came into the tournament the 8 seed. On their way to the championship they beat the number 1 seeded Ohio Bobcats, then defeated Akron in the semifinals, then beat out Central Michigan.

The game started after a re-tip, then the action started when Buffalo got the opening tip and got a quick and 1 by Brittany Morrison. Putting them up 3-0 early. Central Michigan then got on the board with two free throws from Tinara Moore. This was then followed up with a small run by Buffalo, as they extended the lead to 16-9. This run was led by Joanna Smith as she put up 5 points in that run.

After the first quarter Buffalo held a 24-18 lead. Buffalo was led by Smith who finished the quarter with 8 points, and also got 5 assists from Stephanie Reid. Buffalo only missed one three in the quarter shooting 3 of 4. For Central Michigan Moore led the way with 9 points while Da’Jourie Turner added another 6 points.

Central Michigan went on a run at the start of the Second Quarter, tying the game at 29 with 5:43 left in the quarter. The run was led by Moore and Aleah Swary who had a few steals and rebounds as well as put back to tie the game for Central Michigan. After a quick 5-0 coming out of the timeout of Central Michigan, Buffalo came back to tie it after a Gabi Bade’s three and two free throws from Mirte Scheper to tie the game at 34.

Going into half time Buffalo led Central Michigan 37-36. As the time expired at the end of the quarter Courtney Wilkins hit a three to put Buffalo ahead going into half time. For Buffalo, Joanna Smith had 11 points, and the next highest scorer was Brittany Morrison with 5. Stephanie Reid had added 9 assists for the Bulls. Buffalo shot 44% in the first half, while making 6 of 12 three pointers. For Central Michigan, they are led by Tinara Moore, she had 14 points with 4 assists. Da’Jourie Turner added another 8 for Central Michigan. Central Michigan shot 41% percent in the first half, and had only hit 2 out of there 6 threes.

As the Third Quarter went along, it picked up pace. It started off slow but picked up with about three minutes remaining. When the quarter ended Central Michigan was leading 53-50. To end the quarter, Cassie Breen of Central Michigan hit a three. For Buffalo, Reid picked up her scoring, adding 6 points on 3 nifty drives to the basket.

From the start of the 4th quarter, it was back and forth. After three intense minutes of trading baskets and free throws, Central Michigan hit an And 1, then on the other end Buffalo returns the favor with a three from Smith. After a few more hectic minutes of play, the game was tied at 60 as the last media time out occurred.

With 2:42 remaining, after a near shot clock violation, Mirte Scheper makes a put back shot and that put Buffalo up 64-60. After the time out, Central Michigan came back with a quick 4 points to tie the game at 64.

After a missed lay-up by Reid, Central Michigan was able to get the rebound and call a time out before Buffalo could come in for the tie up. With 28 seconds remain, Central Michigan controlled the ball. Central Michigan could not get a good shot off on the final possession, making the game go into overtime to determine the winner of the Women MAC Championship.

Overtime started sloppy, neither team made a shot for the first minute and a half, the first score occurred when Central Michigan’s Jewel Cotton made 1 of 2 free throws to give Central Michigan a 65-64 lead with 3:52 remaining in the game. Then on the other end the first jump shot was made as Katherine Ups hit a three for Buffalo, then Presley Hudson hit a running layup for Central then Ups hit another three all in the span of thirty seconds to give Buffalo a 70-67 lead.

After a missed layup again by Reid, in traffic, Central Michigan got a big basket by Breen, as she hit a jumper with 10.4 seconds left to cut the lead to 70-69. The foul game began after a Buffalo timeout. With 8.6 seconds remaining, Cassie Oursler missed her first free throw, then hit her second, putting Buffalo ahead, 71-69. After a blocking foul on Reid, Hudson would go to the line for 2 free throws. She hit the first, and hit the second. Tying the game at 71. Buffalo with the timeout with 3.4 seconds left.

On the final play of the game, Reid hit a running layup to beat Central Michigan at the Buzzer 73-71. Buffalo wins the Girls MAC Championship and will go to Match Madness. This is Buffalo’s first Girls MAC Championship.

Reid finished the game with a double-double, she had 10 points and 12 assists. Smith added 23 points for Buffalo as well. Buffalo shot 40% for the game and hit 10 of 20 threes.

For Central Michigan, Moore finished with 18, Turner had 15 and Hudson and Breen each had 10 points. They shot 36.4% for the game, hitting only 4 of 16 threes.

After the Game Reid was awarded MVP of the Tournament and was an All-Tournament member as well.