Eastern Michigan wins MAC, 72-71 over Central

CLEVELAND (AP) — Paige Redditt's layup with 1.5 seconds left gave Eastern Michigan a 72-71 win over Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference tournament championship game on Saturday and a trip to the NCAA tourney.

After Central Michigan's Jessica Green missed a free throw with 9.8 seconds left, Natachia Watkins rushed the ball up and passed to Redditt, who spun and softly dropped in her left-handed layup. The second-seeded Eagles (23-8) reached the NCAA field for the first time since 2004.

The Chippewas (20-15) couldn't get off a final shot and Eastern Michigan's players piled on Redditt at mid-court in celebration.

Watkins, one of four Eagles to play all 40 minutes, led Eastern Michigan with 25 points. League MVP Tavelyn James scored 23 and was chosen the tourney's most outstanding player.

CMU, which upset top-seeded Bowling Green in the semifinals, was led by Taylor Johnson's 20 points.