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MAC Championship Game Preview and Game Thread

#2 Buffalo vs #5 Ball State

MAC Women’s Basketball Championship Game, 2022

#2 Buffalo vs #5 Ball State, 11 am, March 12, 2022 (CBS Sports Network)

Buffalo has blown out their last 7 opponents, using strong defense, strong guard play and dominance in the paint. The last team they did not blow out was Ball State.

In that February 16 game at Muncie, Indiana, Buffalo won by just 5 points, 67–62. Junior guard Dyaisha Fair had 30 points, freshman guard Georgia Woolley had 10 points, and no one else on the Bulls hit double digit points. Ball State was 4-for-26 from downtown in that game.

In a January game at Alumni Arena, Ball State came away with a two point victory. Woolley had 24, Fair had 22, and the Bulls used only six players in that game because their roster was depleted due to injury, illness or personal reasons.

So based upon those two games, the two teams appear to be relatively evenly matched. And Ball State knocked off #1 Toledo to reach the championship game (just Toledo’s second loss of the year), so certainly they are playing well right now.

The Cardinals and the Bulls come into the game with identical shooting percentages from behind the arc (0.320), but Ball State has hit 90 more three pointers than the Bulls have. In terms of team offense and defense, Buffalo leads Ball State in both categories by small margins, but in the last 7 games, Buffalo has averaged 79.4 points and allowed 59.1 points, a 20 point differential. The Cardinals, over their last 7 games (with a 6–1 record) have averaged 72.4 points per game, while allowing 63.9 points per game, a differential of 8.5 points per game.

Watch out for Ball State’s very talented freshman Ally Becki, who wears number zero. (There aren’t a lot of players in the MAC with both names ending with the long e sound, she may be the only one in the MAC — but doesn’t have three consecutive vowels in her name, whew!) Sydney Freeman (number 11) also is a big scorer, but the team’s leading scorer, junior Anna Clephane, hasn’t played since January due to a season ending injury, and so the Cardinals have had to re-invent themselves (and apparently have been successful at doing so).