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Shumate scores 18, Kent State women pour it on in second half to win MAC championship

CLEVELAND (AP) — Katie Shumate had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Kent State past Buffalo 78-60 on Saturday, winning the MAC Tournament championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

The Golden Flashes will be making their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

After trailing 34-30 at halftime, the Golden Flashes dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Bulls 29-13 to take a 59-47 lead into the final period.

Dionna Gray's 3-pointer gave the Golden Flashes a 38-37 lead a couple of minutes into the third quarter and they held the lead for the remainder of the game. Buffalo was still within 46-45 with about 4 1/2 minutes left in the third, but Shumate had a three-point play and a 3-pointer in Kent State's 13-2 run finish the period.

Buffalo rallied in the fourth quarter and a 3-pointer by Hattie Ogden had the Bulls within 66-58 with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining. Kent State then clamped down on defense, allowing just two points the rest of the way. Shumate hit a jumper and assisted on 3-pointers by Jenna Batsch and Gray as Kent State closed out the win.

Kent State scored 48 points in the second half.

Gray and Batsch each scored 14 points and Mikala Morris added 11 for Kent State (21-10). Bridget Dunn had 12 rebounds and Shumate added three assists and three blocked shots.

Chellia Watson had 21 points, Rana Elhusseini 11 and Alexis Davis 10 for Buffalo (19-13).

Buffalo, the No. 4 seed, upset top-seeded Toledo 77-74 in overtime in the semifinals. No. 3 Kent State defeated No. 2 Ball State 67-50 in the other semifinal.

___ Get alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here ___ AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball