The Kent State women’s basketball team will play its first game in six years at Quicken Loans Arena against Toledo.
The sixth-seeded Rockets easily beat No. 11 Akron, 65-37 in the first-round of the MAC Tournament.
They’ll play the Flashes at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Cleveland. Kent State got a first-round bye by finishing third in the conference during the regular season.
The two teams are the hottest in the MAC. Kent State has won seven games in a row and 11 of its last 13. Toledo has won five in a row, including back-to-beat wins on the road in the last week of the regular season against No. 2 seed Ball State and No. 4 seed Northern Illinois.
Kent and Toledo played once during the regular season with the Flashes winning a 70-60 in Kent on Jan. 21.
Kent State is 19-11 on the season, 13-5 in MAC play. Toledo is 22-8; the Rockets finished the regular season in the MAC at 12-6.
After trailing by a point at the end of the first quarter, Toledo outscored Akron 18-2 in the second. Akron scored just 19 points in the second half.
No one on the Rockets roster will be tired when they play Kent State. Toledo was able to substitute often, and no one played more than 26 minutes. All 12 women who got into the game played at least eight minutes. Sophomore Olivia Cunningham, who averaged just 3.0 points a game during the season, led Toledo with 13 points. Freshman guard Mariella Santucci had 12.
Toledo held Akron to just 25 percent shooting and outrebounded the Zips 51-33. Akron finishes the year with its worst record in nine years — 9-21 and 2-16 in the MAC regular season.
As in Toledo, all of the lower seeds (and home teams) won pretty easily in the first round games. The other scores:
No. 8 Western Michigan (18-12, 8-10 MAC) over No. 9 Miami (11-21, 5-13), 73-66.
No. 7 Buffalo (21-9, 10-8) over No. 10 Bowling Green (8-23, 4-14), 61-45.
No. 5 Ohio (21-9, 12-6) over No. 12 Eastern Michigan (6-25, 1-17), 63-49.
Wednesday’s games, all at the Q
Western Michigan vs. No. 1 Central Michigan (23-7, 15-3) at noon.
Ohio vs No. 4 Northern Illinois. Time will be a half hour after the first game ends, probably about 2:30.
Buffalo vs. No. 2 Ball State, probably about 5.
Toledo vs. No. 3 Kent State, probably between 7:30 and 8.
Game summaries from the MAC website.
Central Michigan-Western Michigan winner vs. Northern Illinois-Ohio winner at 11 a.m.
Ball State-Buffalo winner vs. Kent State-Toledo winner at 1:30 p.m.
Is at 11 a.m.
Quarterfinals are semifinals will be on Spectrum Sports (formerly Time-Warner Cable) and ESPN3.
Finals are on the CBS Sports Network.
One ticket gets you into all quarterfinal games, and a ticket gets you into both semifinals.
Tournament website, including links to ticket information, statistics, directions to the Q and hotel information.
You can also get ticket information on the Kent State website. All the men’s and women’s information is on the same page, so you may have to scroll down.
Up to 50 students can reserve a free ticket and a bus ride at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the M.A.C. Center lobby. There’s an apparently refundable $10 deposit. Bus will leave at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
If the Flashes win, there will also be buses at 11:30 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.
There will be pregame receptions with free appetizers before any game KSU plays. First one will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Flannery’s Irish Pub at 323 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, a short walk from the Q.