March 2, 2006
DeKalb, IL -- With the tiebreaker in favor of the Northern Illinois University women's basketball team, the Huskies officially became the No. 4 team in the Mid-American Conference West Division following Wednesday night's Central Michigan University loss at Eastern Michigan University.
As a result, the Huskies are serving as MAC Postseason Tournament hosts for a Saturday, March 4, first-round game against the East Division's No. 5 squad -- Miami (Ohio) University. Tip-off will be at 7:05 p.m. (CST) to allow for the Convocation Center to make the switch from having hosted the MAC Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday. Tickets, which are available through Ticketmaster (312) 559-1212, can be purchased through the NIU Convocation Center Ticket Office which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for the MAC Tourney game are $6 for every individual and Northern Illinois season ticket holders can purchase the same ticket location they had during the season. For questions, contact the ticket office at (815) 752-6800.
NIU officially finished the regular-season at 11-16 and 7-9 for league play, both of which were a marked improvement over last year's 7-21 and 4-12 records. Miami's fifth-place standing in the East was a result of a 3-13 loop mark and 8-19 overall record. The top two teams from each division receive first-round byes while the Nos. 3 and 4 division teams host the opposite division's Nos. 5 and 6.
Saturday's first-round games include East No. 6 finisher University of Akron (5-22 / 2-14) at West No. 3 Ball State University (16-11 / 9-7) in a 1 p.m. (CST) contest. West Division No. 6 University of Toledo (9-17 / 4-12) is at East No. 3 Unviersity at Buffalo (10-17 / 5-11) in another 1 p.m. (CST) game. The other first-round game has West No. 5 Central Michigan (16-11 / 7-9) at East No. 4 Ohio University (8-19 / 5-11) in a 3:30 p.m. (CST) meeting.
After Saturday, the entire tourney relocates to Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena (formerly known as Gund Arena) with quarterfinal action slated for Wednesday (March 8) while the semifinals take place Friday (March 10) and the championship is on Saturday (March 11) at 12 p.m. (CST).
Saturday's quarterfinals begin at 12 p.m. (CST) with the OU/CMU winner facing West Division champion Eastern Michigan University (21-6 / 15-1) followed at 2 p.m. (CST) by the BSU/UA victor against East No. 2 finisher Kent State University (19-8/12-4). The evening quarterfinals tip off at 4:30 p.m. (CST) with the NIU/Miami winner taking on East Division champion Bowling Green State University (25-2 / 16-0) followed by a 6:30 p.m. (CST) contest between the UB/UT victor and West Division runner-up Western Michigan University (14-13 / 11-5). Saturday's semifinals are at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Central time.
For Northern Illinois and Miami, this will be the second meeting this year as the two schools met only once under the divisional crossover format with the Huskies pulling out a 51-49 victory in Oxford, OH. Both teams are looking to avoid a third consecutive loss as the RedHawks finished the regular season losing at Kent State and in their home finale versus Bowling Green. NIU's Huskies lost their home finale to Western Michigan and the regular-season closer at Ball State.
Northern Illinois victory back on Feb. 4 ended a three-game win streak for Miami which still boasts a 13-8 all-time series lead. However, the Huskies will be hoping to level the meetings in DeKalb at six apiece in what will also be the first-ever postseason tournament match-up between the two schools.
(For further information, please contact Steve Nemeth) --NIU--