Editor’s note: This story was updated for clarification.
Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford had 27 points and nine rebounds to lead the women’s basketball team to a 73-66 victory against Toledo Thursday night at Savage Arena.
It was the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams that featured a matchup of the two preseason favorites in the MAC West Division. The win snaps Toledo’s 11-game winning streak streak and is CMU’s first win in Toledo since 2006.
“It’s a really good way to start the MAC,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “We didn’t win the MAC today, we didn’t lose the MAC today — we made a statement today to the rest of the MAC.”
The Rockets held a one-point lead with 3:05 to go, but the Chippewas ended the game on a 7-0 run to secure the victory, allowing Toledo to score just 11 points in the final ten minutes of the game.
“Toledo is known for their defense; we’re known for our offense,” Guevara said. “I don’t think we get enough credit for our defense, though. I think our kids took that to heart. We got smart defensively.”
It was Bradford who got off to a quick start in the first half, scoring 14 of the CMU’s first 16 points to give the Chippewas a six-point lead at the 15:05 mark.
The six-point lead would be the largest lead either team would have in the first half, as CMU and Rockets traded baskets. A three-point shot by junior guard Niki DiGulio at the 4:46 mark tied the game at 34.
From there, Toledo stretched its lead to 38-34, but back-to-back baskets by senior forward Jessica Shroll tied the game again.
Each team added another basket to tie the game at 40 heading into the locker rooms. The Chippewas shot nearly 58 percent from the field in the first half and 54 percent for the game.
Sophomore guard Jessica Green finished with 16 points, and Schroll added 14 while DiGulio had 10. Senior guard Brandie Baker led CMU with 10 rebounds.
“We’ve been in these kinds of games before,” Guevara said. “It was nice to see us execute down the stretch. If we made more free-throws, it wouldn’t have been that close. I was really proud of our effort tonight and our ability to get on the glass.”
The Chippewas out-rebounded the Rockets 40-32.
CMU will continue MAC play at 2 p.m. Sunday when it hosts in-state rival and defending MAC champions Eastern Michigan at McGuirk Arena.