The women’s basketball team opens its season at noon today in Peoria, Ill. against the Bradley Braves.
Central Michigan lost to Bradley during non-conference play in December last year 86-79 in Mount Pleasant. The Chippewas started four underclassmen in that game — a group that went on a roll soon after.
“We played a real tough game against them last year,” head coach Sue Guevara said. “They can shoot the basketball, and they have a big kid inside. She pins you down real low. They are like we are … we start four guards, too. It’s going to be one of those up-and-down games – the way we like to play.”
CMU won five-straight after the Bradley game, including an upset against No. 12 Purdue. A win over Bradley would be career win No. 200 for Guevara — her 77th at CMU, with the rest coming at Michigan.
Even though it’s the first game of the season, senior guard Brandie Baker said the team should be loose.
“Just relax and play your game,” she said. “It’s nothing but a game, so don’t think too much about it and play as a team.”
CMU athletics listed sophomores Jessica Green, Crystal Bradford and Jas’Mine Bracey, along with junior Taylor Johnson and Baker, as probable starters based on starts last year.
Bradford was one of two players in the country to lead her team in points, rebounds, assists and steals, which earned her a Preseason All-Mid-American Conference selection. She averaged a double-double during the MAC tournament to finish the season.
Green had a big game against the Braves as a freshman last season. She scored 17 points and snatched seven rebounds, leading the Chippewas in both categories in only 24 minutes.
Last year, Bradley shot 47 percent from the three-point line on 17 attempts. The Chippewas are preparing for the long ball again this weekend.
“We know they have three-point shooters,” Baker said. “We want to make sure we stop them. They have post players that like to cut in and duck in, so we want to stop that.”
The 86 points Bradley scored on the Chippewas was tied for the second most points CMU allowed last season.
“We have been working on getting a lot of things better for our defense, as well as on offense, knowing how they play on defense and how we can attack on offense.”
CMU will stay in Illinois to play Big Ten opponent Northwestern Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Wildcats spoiled the team’s season opener last year, dropping the Chippewas 69-60.