|CMU tops UT women (03-16-13)|
|Written by Sentinel Sports Staff|
|Saturday, 16 March 2013 07:51|
CLEVELAND - Akron and Central Michigan won semifinal games Friday afternoon to advance to the Mid-American Conference women's basketball title game.
Tipoff is today at 1 p.m. in Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena
Central Michigan knocked off No. 1 seed Toledo 66-61, to advance to the title game for the second-straight season.
Akron advanced to its first-ever women's title game with a 70-61 win over No. 2 seed Ball State.
Toledo, which never led in the game and trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, cut the lead to one, 62-61, on an offensive rebound and put-back by senior Lecretia Smith with 34 seconds remaining.
The Rockets got the ball back right away when CMU was whistled for a foul on the ensuing in-bound play, but sophomore Inma Zanoguera's layup was blocked and a short jumper by senior Naama Shafir was off the mark.
CMU's Taylor Johnson then made two free throws and Shafir's three-point attempt with seven seconds left was blocked by Jessica Schroll, snapping Toledo's 15-game winning streak.
Schroll was then fouled and converted both free throws with two seconds left to seal the game for the Chippewas.
The Chippewas took control from the very beginning, hitting four straight 3-pointers to open the game to take a 12-4 lead. Central Michigan shot 36 percent from beyond the arc.
''Our kids gave everything they had to fight back ... We never felt it was out of reach. We never stopped playing until the buzzer sounded,'' UT head coach Tricia Cullop. ''They (CMU) are an incredibly tough team to guard; that's why they have put so many points on the board all season. There is a lot of talent on that team.''
Crystal Bradford led the Chippewas with 20 points. She played with four fouls over the last 8:56.
Toledo was led by Zanoguera who finished with 16 points, Shafir finished with 15 points and Yolanda Richardson had 13 points.
Central is 20-11 overall and Toledo is now 27-3.
In Friday's second game, the scored was tied at 59 with 3:19 to play.
Akron's Hanna Luburgh nailed a 3-pointer to give the Zips the lead for good. Akron closed out the game on an 11-2 run.
Luburgh finished with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Luburgh was 8-8 from the free throw line and played the entire 40 minutes of the game.
Taylor Ruper hit four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 12 points for the Zips.
Ball State turned the ball over 13 times, which led to 16 points for Akron. Despite 19 turnovers from the Zips, Ball State managed only 13 points off of turnovers.
Brittany Carter led the Cardinals with 18 points and four rebounds. Nathalie Fontaine chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds. Ball State had just one field goal over the last 3:19.
Akron is 23-8 and Ball State is 15-15.
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