The women’s basketball team begins the season 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference after a 72-58 blowout of Western Michigan Wednesday night in McGuirk Arena.
“Western Michigan gave us its best shot and you have to credit them for that,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “I thought that when we came out we had to give our best shot regardless of who we were playing. It wasn’t pretty, but we were able to grind it out.”
Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds, which is one point shy of her career-high 27 she had against Toledo last Thursday.
“I’m just trying to help my team,” Bradford said. “Coming in as a sophomore, I’m kind of a veteran now and I think our defense really opened up our offense. I would say I’m becoming more of a leader thanks to my energy.”
Senior forward Jessica Schroll finished with her first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. This was the first time all season that two Chippewas had a double-double in the same game.
“I wasnt concentrating as much on the double-double,” Schroll said. “Our energy picked up in the second half and we were able to make better decisions and we started gelling together a little bit.”
The Broncos came out of the gate playing aggressive on defense, forcing 10 CMU turnovers in the first half, which resulted in nine WMU points.
It was a back and forth first half as both teams struggled to find any sort of rhythm offensively. The big difference for the Chippewas in the first half was its three-point shooting that helped contribute to a 31-29 halftime lead.
Junior guard Niki DiGuilio started off the game for CMU with a three as she was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The largest lead for the Chippewas in the first half was seven after sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey made a layup with 5:17 left in the half.
What was a back and forth game with turnovers and missed opportunities in the first, turned into a 22-9 run to begin the second half for CMU thanks to contributions from Bradford who had nine points during the run and Schroll who contributed with six points.
The offense was more aggressive and took better care of the ball with only three turnovers in the second half. The defense also stepped up and forced 11 turnovers turning them into 15 points.
Guevara said she credits the team for being more aggressive on defense and creating more scoring opportunities.
“We came out in the second half and made some adjustments and were able to be in better control by forcing more turnovers,” she said. “We had shots in the paint that just weren’t going in, we had layups that didn’t go in. It was just a matter of finishing our shots.”
Senior Brandie Baker finished with eight points and seven rebounds. With two made free throws she also grabbed sole possession of sixth place in made free-throws in a career with 296.
“I think we’re learning how to play with the bull’s eye on our back,” Guevara said.
The Chippewas will start a McGuirk Arena double-header at 2 p.m. Saturday against Northern Illinois.