For the second straight year, the UB Women's Basketball team is sitting in the four seed, waiting until Thursday to play their first game in the MAC tournament.
And for the second straight year, they'll meet the #5 seed, a strong MAC West team lead by an All-MAC Second Team scorer. Western Michigan advanced to the third round with a 81-68 win over Central Michigan. In the campus round games, the Broncos easily dispatched Bowling Green 65-42, so it's likely that UB is getting little benefit at all in their bye.
Last year of course, the Bulls were upset in the 4-5 game by Ball State and Nathalie Fontaine. UB didn't play particularly poorly, but were just burned by a Cardinal run out of the half.
This year, the top-of-the-MAC talent leading the way for Western Michigan will be Miracle Woods, who scored 14.4 points a game for the Broncos this season, just a shade above UB's Kristen Sharkey. Woods is also one of the MAC's top shooters and - though nowhere near Christa Baccas' level - shot blockers.
Though WMU will be coming into tomorrow's 12:00 game having played twice in the previous three days, I unfortunately wouldn't expect fatigue to be a large factor. In general, it seems to be less of an issue in the Women's Tournament, where the top-four seeds are more frequently upset, and Western was barely tested in Monday's first-round game against Bowling Green, as no Bronco played more than 23 minutes.
Only Jazmine Windham and Alex Morton played more than 30 minutes tonight, and Western is a slower team to play against, reaching 81 points on 50% shooting , eight three-pointers, and 11 made free throws, so I wouldn't expect today's game to have worn them down all that much.
UB was 1-1 against the Broncos this year, but the loss was a narrow 62-59 game in which UB was without Rachael Gregory for the first time and playing with Stephanie Reid for only the second time.
I'll have a complete preview of tomorrow's game up in the morning. For now, know that it's a rubber match WMU.