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Motor City Madness Women’s Basketball Preview

By Seth J. Walker

We’re now only a few days away from the start of Motor City Madness, which is what the Horizon League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are collectively known as.  This will be third year of Motor City Madness overall, the second for the women’s tournament, and the first at Little Caesar’s Arena, after the Joe Louis Arena played host, the last two years.

This year, Sports Source Media will be your source for every single game for the women’s tournament.  Though Sports Source Media normally covers the two local teams, Oakland and Detroit Mercy, when it comes to the Horizon League, this year, coverage will be provided of all 10 women’s teams competing in the tournament.

Click here to view this year’s bracket.

Friday will feature two games involving the bottom four seeds, in which the winners will play the top two seeds Saturday in the first half of the quarterfinals.  Then Sunday will have the other half of the quarterfinals, involving the middle seeds.  The semifinals will be on Monday, and the championship game, Tuesday.  Here’s a look at the first two rounds.

First Round

#7 Oakland vs #10 UIC- Oakland won both regular season games against UIC and actually finished the regular season with three wins in it’s final four games.  One of those win, came against UIC on Senior Day.  UIC’s lone conference win came over Northern Kentucky.  Oakland may had underachieved this season, but now appears to be more dangerous than ever now with its recent surge.  The good news for UIC, however, is that last year, both the of the bottom two seeds won in the first round, and Oakland has lost its last seven conference tournament games dating back to 2011, when the team was still in the Summit League.  Winner gets IUPUI in the quarterfinals, which swept both teams during the season.

Advantage: Oakland

 

#8 Northern Kentucky vs #9 Detroit Mercy- Northern Kentucky seems to be that team that you never know what you’re going to get form day to day.  It beat Green Bay, but also lost to UIC.  It did beat Detroit Mercy both times in the regular season.  Detroit Mercy though shouldn’t be taken lightly despite doing much worse than expected this season.  Again, both of the bottom two seeds won in the first round last year.  The winner faces Green Bay.

Advantage: Northern Kentucky

 

Quarterfinals

#2 IUPUI vs Oakland/UIC- IUPUI was only picked seventh in the preseason poll despite finishing third last year in the Summit League and then reaching the Summit League Championship game.  The second place finish proves that this team is a serious contender in its first year in the Horizon League, sweeping both of its potential quarterfinal opponents.

Advantage: IUPUI

 

#1 Green Bay vs Northern Kentucky/Detroit Mercy- Green Bay is ranked 21st in the AP Top 25 and has been in the top three in the Mid-Major Top 25 all season.  It’s only two conference losses came to Northern Kentucky and Cleveland State.  History is on Green Bay’s side.  That history suggest that Green Bay will make it back to the champion game yet again, and very, very likely win it, again.

Advantage: Green Bay

 

#3 Wright State vs #6 Cleveland State- Wright State is the perennial dark horse of the Horizon League, as the team that’s most consistently challenged Green Bay for conference supremacy, but Cleveland State has had its number this season, winning both regular season meetings.  It’s become cliché that it’s hard to beat the same team three times in the same season, but there seems to be some truth to that.  Still, Cleveland State has a good chance to win a third time over Wright State.

Advantage: Tie (Toss U)

 

#4 Milwaukee vs #5 Youngstown State- These teams split the season series.  Youngstown State was the surprise team this season, with a late season surge.  Milwaukee however seems to be the more consistent team.  Both teams have wins over IUPUI and losses to Oakland, so there are some cracks in their armor, but also have some potent weapons.

Advantage: Milwaukee (Barely)

 

Players To Watch

Ashanti Abshaw, R-Junior Forward, Cleveland State- Second leading scorer in the conference (19.4).  Ninth in field goal percentage (.423).  Leads conference in steals (2.8).

Khayla Livingston, R-Senior Guard, Cleveland State- Tied for third leading scorer in conference (17.5).  Tenth in field goal percentage (.421).  Lead conference in three-point percentage (.416).  Fourth in free throw percentage (.808).  Fifth in assists (4.0).

Jessica Lindstrom, Senior Guard/Forward, Green Bay- Fifth leading scorer in conference (15.3).  Leads conference in rebounds (10.4).  Third in field goal percentage (.505).  last year’s tournament MVP.

Brittany Byrd, Junior Guard, UIC- Sixth leading scorer in conference (14.9).

Taylor Toney, Junior Guard/Forward, UIC- Ninth leading scorer in conference (13.9).  Tied for ninth in rebounding (6.6).  Tenth in free throw percentage (.733).  Tie for fourth in steals (2.3).

Chelsea Welch, Senior Guard, Wright State- Leading scorer in conference (21.5).  Eight in field goal percentage (.825).  Third in free throw percentage (.816).  Third in assists (4.5).

Symone Simmons, Junior Guard, Wright State- Tied for second in rebounds (8.1).  Tied for fourth in blocks (1.0).

Indiya Benjamin, Senior Guard, Youngstown State- Leads conference in assists (5.3).

Danielle Lawrence, Senior Guard, IUPUI- Tied for third leading scorer in conference (17.5).  Seventh in field goal percentage (.452).  Tied for seventh in steals (1.8).

Macee Williams, Freshman Forward/Center, IUPUI- Fifth in rebounding (7.6).  Leads conference in field goal percentage (.658).

Jenny Lindner, Senior Guard, Milwaukee- Eighth leading scoring in conference (14.3).  Fourth in rebounding (7.9).  Fourth in field goal percentage (.475).  Leads conference in free throw percentage (.832).

Steph Kostowicz, Senior Forward, Milwaukee- Ninth leading scorer in conference (14.1).  Fifth in rebounding (7.7).  Second in field goal percentage (.578).  Fifth in free throw percentage (.802).  Ninth in assists (3.0).  Leads conference in blocks (2.0).

Brianne Cohen, Senior Forward, Detroit Mercy- Eleventh leading scorer in conference (13.3).  Tied for seventh in free throw percentage (754).  Tied for tenth in blocks (0.8).

Leah Somerfield, Senior Forward, Oakland- Tied for second in conference in rebounds (8.1).  Tied for seventh in blocks (0.9).

Taylor Gleason, Senior Guard, Oakland- Second in conference in assists (4.7).  Tied for fourth in steals (2.3).

 

Stay tuned for more coverage of the women’s basketball tournament at Motor City Madness, here at Sports Source Media.  You heard it from me, Seth Walker.

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