Women’s basketball dominated defending Mid-American Conference champion Eastern Michigan Sunday, using second-chance opportunities, three-point shooting and aggressive defense to beat the Eagles 77-51.
Crystal Bradford finished the game with a double-double after leading CMU in both points (13) and rebounds (13), showing why she is the three-time MAC West Player of the Week this season. This was her fifth double-double of the season and 17th of her career. She tied a career-high with 27 points against Toledo last Thursday to open MAC play.
“I’ve been really happy with the team’s scoring,” Bradford said. “One of the biggest things we have been doing and working on is playing together. All five players on the court were in sync, and our chemistry is starting to come together, and that really helps.
Contributions came from everyone today, as 13 players scored for the Chippewas.
“It was good to get everyone in today,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “We had certain combinations in there clicking.”
The Eagles came into the game with one of the better defenses in the MAC, but CMU’s offense was able to find many opportunities to score, including from beyond the arc, where it was 12-of-27 in the game. EMU was 0-for-4 from deep.
The Chippewas jumped out to a 21-8 lead at the 8:55 mark in the first half; they were able to hit from three-point range, including a three from senior Jalisa Olive at the 9:40 mark, putting them up 15.
With such a high-scoring CMU offense, the Eagles looked to slow it down, but Guevara knew that going into the game and made appropriate adjustments.
“I thought that we attacked the glass, and we were able to get second-chance points,” Guevara said. “The main thing was that we were very aggressive defensively. We wanted to force them into traps and be aggressive defensively.”
The defense didn’t stop, as the Chippewas were able to force 19 turnovers in the first half and also had 15 steals, which resulted in a 17-4 run to end the half for CMU. Bradford said, that paying attention to the details on both sides of the ball would be beneficial.
“We wanted to execute going into the game and not get sloppy,” Bradford said. “We’re going to enjoy this win, but still know we have work to do.”
The second half was no different, as the Chippewas executed on both offense and defense and never led by less than 19 points.
Sophomore guard Jessica Green finished the game with 10 points, while senior Jessica Schroll was able to contribute with nine points.
Players like junior forward Jordan LaDuke, junior guard Kylie Welch and freshman guard Da’Jourie Turner were able to get some quality playing time with the lead being so big early in the game.
“We set a tone. We wanted to play aggressive, and we wanted to play fast. We attacked offensively, and now we’re doing a better job of attacking defensively,” Guevara said.
CMU will look to keep the solid basketball going as it tips off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in McGuirk Arena against rival Western Michigan.