A Page -- March 3, 2012

The Road to Cleveland Starts Today


2012 FirstEnergy MAC Women's Basketball Tournament Central

No. 9 Kent State at No. 8 Ohio, 12 p.m. 

Kent State Notes | Ohio Notes | Live Stats | Watch live via mac-sports.com

Following the best regular season in four years, Ohio Women’s Basketball looks to punch its ticket to Cleveland on Saturday by hosting the Kent State Golden Flashes in 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament first-round action. Ohio and Kent State will tip off at noon in the Convocation Center. Kent State comes to Athens the owner of a 6-20 record which includes a 5-11 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Golden Flashes ended their regular season by dropping eight of their last nine contests, including a most recent 91-48 defeat at the hands of Bowling Green on the last day of the season. The Golden Flashes have three scorers in double figures each game, as Trisha Krewson, Diamon Beckford and Tamzin Bar­roilhet can be counted upon for 11.5, 10.3 and 10.2 points per game, respectively.  In their last game out, the Bobcats lost a close contest at rival Miami on Tuesday night. With the game tied up at 49 apiece, Miami senior Rachael Hencke hit a mid-range floater with five seconds remaining to give the RedHawks the win. Shavon Robinson (Canton, Ohio) led the way for the Bobcats in this game, scoring 14 points and collecting six rebounds. Tuesday’s game marked the 17th time this season that the sophomore scored ten points or more. Ohio forced the RedHawks into 18 turnovers on Tuesday while only committing a season-low seven of its own. Ohio’s 2011-12 season has been one of the best defensive years in program history. With at least one game remaining to play, the Bobcats have collected 301 steals, a mark which ranks third all-time in Ohio Women’s Basketball history. The top mark (350) was set during the 2004-05 season. The Bobcats have connected on 129 three-point field goals during the 2011-12 season. If Ohio is to make three more three-pointers during the rest of the year, this season would crack the top ten most three-pointers made in program history.


No. 12 Ball State at No. 5 Central Michigan, 2 p.m.

Ball State Notes | Central Michigan Notes | Live Stats | Watch live via mac-sports.com

The fifth seeded Central Michigan women's basketball team will host the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Saturday against No. 12 Ball State. The Cardinals enter the 2012 First Energy Mid-American Conference Tournament as the No. 12 seed.  Ball State enters the tournament with an overall record of 9-20 while finishing the MAC regular season with a 4-12 conference mark.  The Cardinals three out of their four league wins came against the MAC West Division.  Ball State is slated to play at No. 5 Central Michigan Saturday in the first round of the MAC Tournament in McGuirk Arena at 2 p.m.  The Cardinals and the Chippewas split its league series this season both winning at their respective home venues.  Freshman guard Brittany Carter and sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens lead the Cardinals in scoring with 8.8 points per game while senior forward Suzanne Grossnickle is averaging 7.4 points per contest and 5.2 rebounds. The Chippewas finished their regular season on a three-game winning streak, stunning divisional leader Eastern Michigan, 61-46. CMU is currently the conference's second best offense averaging 70.4 points per game. It is also second in steals per game, averaging 11.4. The Chippewas have increased their turnover margin to 3.12, moving them to third best in the MAC. They remain one of the top rebounding teams in the conference averaging 16.6 offensive rebounds (first) and 26.5 defensive rebounds (fourth) per game. As a team CMU is also second in three-pointers made per game at 6.7.  Crystal Bradford has 47 total blocks on the season placing her third on the CMU single-season block list. Niki DiGuilio currently has 119 three-pointers placing her fifth on the CMU career list. Brandie Baker currently has 319 total assists during her CMU tenure, placing her sixth.  The Maroon and Gold only committed 15 turnovers in their last outing, making it the 10th straight game that CMU has managed fewer than 20 turnovers. They were also able to force EMU into 27 turnovers; the second most forced this season. 



No. 11 Buffalo at No. 6 Akron, 2 p.m. 

Buffalo Notes | Akron Notes | Live Stats | Watch live via mac-sports.com

Buffalo and Akron meet at Rhodes Arena for the second time in five days this afternoon in the first round of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament.  The Bulls enter the tournament as the 11th seed following a 78-69 loss to the Zips, who are the sixth seed in the tournament.  The winner of today’s game will play the winner of Northern Illinois-Western Michigan on Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland. Despite falling to Akron on Tuesday, UB had four players in double figures.  Senior Brittany Hedderson led the way with 16 points, while junior Nicki Hopkins added 14, including 4-for-7 from three point range.  Redshirt sophomore Nytor Longar added 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while freshman Christa Baccas added 12 points in 15 minutes. UA turned up the defense and limited Buffalo to just five points in the final 7:52 of Tuesday's 79-68 win. Ti'eshia Stubbs 18-point, 11-rebound double-double led Akron against Buffalo on Tuesday. Stubbs tied her career-high for points and set a new career-best for rebounds with the performance. Taylor Ruper and Hanna Luburgh scored 17 points each in the win. UA has outrebounded its opponents by a margin of 7.4 boards per game in its last six games. The Zips have won the rebounding battle in all but one of those games, including a +14 effort on the glass on Tuesday night against Buffalo. Akron is looking to win its fourth straight in the series with Buffalo. UA has won six of the last eight against UB. Taylor Ruper is averaging 18.5 points in the two games against Buffalo this season. Hanna Luburgh has hit for 16.0 points in the two meetings. UA is looking for its third straight opening round win in the MAC Tournament. The Zips have never won two or more games in the conference tournament. Four Akron seniors will be playing in their final home game on Saturday. Denver McLean, Jasmine Mushington, Ti'eshia Stubbs, and Natasha Williams are tied for the most wins by a senior class in program history. The class has won 56 games, matching the total of the class of 1983. Junior Taylor Ruper continues to be one of the top 3-point shooters in the nation. Ruper ranks 19th nationally in 3-pointers made per game (2.8),



No. 10 Western Michigan at No. 7 Northern Illinois, 3:05 p.m. (CT) 

Western Michigan Notes | Northern Illinois Notes | Live Stats | Watch live via mac-sports.com

Both teams' seasons are on the line in the first round of the 2012 FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament. The winner of the 12-team, single-elimination tournament will earn an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. With both NIU and WMU finishing seventh and 10th, respectively, in the MAC overall standings, both teams will need to win the MAC Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament. The winner of this game will move on to Cleveland, Ohio, to face the winner of No. 6 Akron-No. 11 Buffalo at Quicken Loans Arena on March 7 at 1:30 PM CT in the second round. The teams just played each other on Tuesday, and WMU won in overtime 66-64 to create a rubbermatch in the season series with the ultimate prize at stake -- ending the other team's season. NIU won at WMU on Jan. 19 in a 53-41 decision. WMU returned the favor at NIU on Tuesday. NIU and WMU have never met in the MAC Tournament. WMU enters the game off of a 66-64 overtime win at the NIU Convocation Center Tuesday. Since winning back-to-back games on Jan 5 & 8, the Broncos have lost 11 of their last 14 games. The Broncos average 62.7 points per game and give up 71.6. They are shooting 38.0 percent from the field and allow opponents to shoot 42.0 percent. WMU features one scorer that average double figures in Maria Iaquaniello (13.0 PPG). NIU will be looking for its first win in the MAC Tournament since March 6, 2007. That day, NIU topped Kent State 72-68 in the quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NIU is 6-14 all-time in the MAC Tournament and 25-27 overall in postseason play. Satavia Taylor had her best scoring game of the season on Tuesday against the Broncos. She scored a career-high 20 points and was a season-best 8-for-13 from the field. Only five other times this season has a Huskie scored 20 or more points. In the six games prior, Taylor had scored 20 total points.Over the last seven games, Courtney Shelton has 48 assists and only 24 turnovers. She leads the team with 103 assists, which are a new single season high for her. Shelton's 1.1 assist-to-turnover ratio is fifth in the MAC and her 3.8 assists per game are good for sixth as of Feb. 28.

Mount Union Baseball Preview

Youth will have to be served as the Mount Union baseball team looks to take another step up the Ohio Athletic Conference standings to contend in 2012.

A year ago, the Purple Raiders won five of their final seven OAC games to get back into the four-team OAC Tournament for the first time since 2008.  If Mount Union is looking for a return trip this year they will need contributions from some new players as only seven letterwinners return on the roster.

Headlining the returners and the youth are sophomores Jimmy Dobran (Poland/Poland Seminary) and Zach Carlino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic). The duo each earned All-OAC honorable mention honors as freshman a year ago.  Dobran will move to center field this year and is top returning hitter as he hit .341 with a team-best 14 stolen bases.  Carlino hit .325 with a team-high 32 runs batted in and also made six starts on the mound with 19 strikeouts in 28 innings.

In fact all of the returning starters from a year ago are sophomores as also back are outfielder Connor Mathis(Akron/Firestone), catcher C.J. Stotler (Pittsburgh, Pa./Plum) and shortstop Lee Grosscup (Green/Green).  Mathis hit .298 in 32 games, Stotler hit .265 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 30 starts while Grosscup started all 37 games at shortstop and hit .259 and drove in 17 runs.

More sophomores in Ricky Olasz (West Mifflin, Pa./West Mifflin) and Evan Knott (Canton/GlenOak) along with junior Mitch Saunders (Olmsted Falls/Olmsted Falls) are also returners that look to contribute as well. 

Senior Beau Smith (Frederick, Md./Frederick) leads the pitching staff as he hurled a team-high 57.2 innings with nine starts and four complete games a year ago with four wins and 36 strikeouts.  

Sophomore Matt Murzynski (Mentor/Lake Catholic) came on strong as a freshman a year ago and in 53.1 innings pitched had a team-best 3.38 earned run average and two saves as he went 4-2 in seven starts with 33 strikeouts.

The rest of the returning pitchers include senior Cory Douglass (Independence/Garfield Heights), who returns after an injury shortened season a year ago, fellow senior Joe Bowers (Akron/Walsh Jesuit) and sophomoresTom Bekelsky (Akron/Firestone) and Mike Horning (Avon/Avon).  

Paul Hesse enters his 16th season as head coach and again has put together another competitive schedule for the Raiders that include a season-opening week of games in Winter Haven, Florida, to go along with the competitive slate of OAC games.  The home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13 at 1 pm against Allegheny at the 23rd Street Field in Alliance.




University School wins battle of Som Center Road, State’s Rights

KENT – In another classic battle of Som Center Road, University School advanced to the state’s frozen four with a 4-2 win over Gilmour on Friday.


US struck gold first, taking a 1-0 lead at 7:37 of the first period on an Evan Krueger goal that was assisted by Kevin DeGulis and Conner Judson.


The Lancers would have none of it, tying it at 8:59 on an Alex-to-Alec play, Alex Rupp scoring the goal and AlecHopper assisting.



However, the Preppers would have the lead by the end of the first period as Matt Wipper scored at 12:08.

The Preppers would hold on to the lead for the final two periods.

Four different S/A's scored goals for the Preppers.

                                     1          2          3          F

Gilmour:                                1          0          1          2

University School:                 2          1          1          4                     


Gilmour:                    Goals: Alex Rupp, Ryan Hall

Assists: Alec Hooper, Benny Clark

University School:     Goals: Evan Krueger, Matt Wipper, Brad Marshall, Sam Strang

 Assists: Kevin DeGulis, Conner Judson, Andrew Musser, Kyle Keane, Luke Turben 


Gilmour:                    Oliver Flesher – (18) Saves, (22) Shots

University School:     Sam Althans – (19) Saves, (21) Shots

Westlake's LaMattina's 16 points leads sixth-ranked Mount Union in NCAA tourney

ALLIANCE, Ohio — Junior Rosa LaMattina (Westlake/Westlake) scored 16 points, including five in an eight-second stretch, to lead the No. 6-ranked Mount Union women's basketball team to a 73-63 victory over La Roche (Pa.) in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday night.

The Purple Raiders (27-1) saw a double-digit lead in the second half trimmed to three, 65-62, with just over two minutes remaining. LaMattina scored on a driving layup with 2:09 to go, then stole the inbounds pass and hit a 12-foot jump shot to put 

Mount Union comfortably ahead, 69-62, with 2:01 left.

"She's unbelievable," said Mount Union coach Suzy Venet of LaMattina, who also had seven assists. "She has an incredible will to win."

La Roche (22-6), champion of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, fell behind 13-2 at the start of the game, but rallied to lead by as many as five points, 23-18, before the Purple Raiders closed the first half with a 12-2 run to lead 30-25 at the intermission.

Mount Union led several times by 10 or more points in the second period, but the Redhawks always had an answer. They did so behind Ariel Green and Jessica Pitts, who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, and a full-court defense that forced the Purple Raiders into 15 turnovers for the game.

"They're a quick team, we knew that," said Venet. "It was going to come down to who took care of the ball."

Despite the pressure, Mount Union shot 55.6 percent from the field in the second half (15 of 27).

"Survive and move on," said Venet. "That's the name of the game. We came out in the second half with a little momentum and were ready to go. We executed much better offensively."

Senior Kori Wiedt (North Olmsted/North Olmsted) led the Purple Raiders with 20 points, including a jumper that beat the first-half buzzer to give Mount Union the halftime momentum.

Junior Tierney Allen (Alliance) added 12. Senior Amanda Rose (Uniontown/Green) finished with nine points and eight rebounds for Mount Union, which advances to play Muhlenberg (Pa.) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the second round.