The Mid-American Conference preseason poll picked the Central Michigan women’s basketball team to finish second to Toledo in the West Division Wednesday.
Sophomore Crystal Bradford played a role in the decision, being named to the preseason All-MAC West team.
Head coach Sue Guevara said she thinks Bradford’s recognition indicates others’ respect for her game.
“It shows that CB’s game is being respected by other coaches in the MAC,” she said. “I think they know what she is capable of doing. I think it’s an honor for her, but she understands that she wouldn’t get that recognition without her teammates.”
Bradford is only one of two Division I players returning that led her team in scoring, rebounds, blocks and steals last season. Last season, as a freshman, she earned honorable mention All-MAC and All-MAC freshmen team honors during the regular season.
Bradford said she is excited for the upcoming season, but still has some things she wants to improve on before the season begins.
“I’m really excited … the team is as well,” she said in an interview with CMU women’s basketball insider. “We’ve been working pretty hard and we are just ready to see the outcome. It feels good, everyone is gelling and it’s going to be exciting. I’m working on getting stronger and using my right hand more, while being versatile and more aggressive on defense.”
CMU will return all five starters from a year ago, which accounted for 94 percent of its scoring output.
Toledo, with 24 first-place votes, was picked to finish at the top of the West, while CMU received six first-place votes. Toledo was also picked as the preseason favorites to win the MAC Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, earning 16 votes compared to CMU’s 12.
According to Guevara, the preseason polls don’t mean much.
“Right now, we know the line. It’s not about where you start, but where you finish,” Guevara said. “ I think that the most important thing for us is understanding where we are striving and working to end up.”
Miami was selected as preseason front-runner to finish first in the MAC East Division with 16 first-place votes. Bowling Green received 13 votes, while Akron got one first-place vote.
“It’s a very competitive league and if you’re not prepared, you have a really good shot of losing the game,” Guevara said.
The Chippewas have another week to prepare before beginning their season at Bradley on Nov. 9. They will open MAC play on January 10 at Toledo.