In the driver’s seat
With a convincing win over MAC West rival Toledo, that’s where EMU’s women’s basketball team now sits.
Winning a conference game by 21 points is pretty good no matter how you slice it.
But beating the #3 team in your conference — a team which, just a week and a half ago, handed the #1 team their only loss — beating that team by 21 points and holding their best player scoreless while forcing her into 8 turnovers is impressive. It certainly looks like the Eagles are peaking at the right time.
This EMU team has a real killer instinct. After holding the Rockets to 18 first-half points, it would have been easy to coast through the second half nursing a 10-point lead. Instead, the Eagles one-upped themselves, and held Toledo to just 15 points in the second half. It bears repeating (so I will repeat it) that the Rockets are, themselves, a good basketball team. Remember that just last year, Toledo won the MAC regular season title with a 14-2 record, and after losing in the MAC tournament, bounced back and won the 2011 WNIT.
And sure, the Eagles have Tavelyn James, the #2 scorer in the country, with 2,372 career points, just 77 points off second place and 137 points from first place in the MAC, but one great player alone won’t win many games. EMU has a deep and talented team.
At this point, the top seeds for the MAC women’s basketball tournament are all-but-set. Bowling Green is in first place with a half-game lead and the tie-breaker over EMU, and would need to lose two of their three remaining games to drop out of the lead. Looking the other direction, the Eagles now hold a one-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker against Toledo, with just two games to play. A win by EMU or a loss by Toledo would settle things there. EMU is almost certain to get one of the top two seeds, and with it, a bye straight into the conference semifinals.
Right now, this team is in the driver’s seat and four games away from the checkered flag.