Women’s basketball went into Wednesday night’s game against Western Michigan looking to continue its early Mid-American Conference dominance.
The Chippewas were able to keep up the momentum, beating the Broncos 72-58, behind sophomore guard Crystal Bradford, who kept up her MAC Player of the Year-type start.
Bradford recorded her second straight double-double and came within one point of her career high with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 4 steals.
“I’m just trying to help my team, playing hard and doing whatever I can do,” Bradford said. “Coming in as a sophomore, I’m like a veteran now, I realize that my defense actually opens up my offense.”
After a slow first half, scoring nine points along with five rebounds, Bradford and the women’s basketball team went into halftime with a 31-29 lead. But, it came out determined and ready to start the second half.
The Chippewas were able to pull away in the second half thanks to a strong half from Bradford. In the second half alone, Bradford had 17 points and eight rebounds. In addition to her defense, Bradford proved to be key to their third-straight MAC win.
To start the season, Bradford has stepped up and has led the team to some key wins, and has become a solid defensive player. Offensively, she has become a reliable option who the team can rely on for almost every game.
“I’m becoming more of a leader,” Bradford said. “My energy brings excitement to the team and turns the team up.”
The rest of the MAC is recognizing the work that Bradford has been doing this season. Coming off two-straight MAC Player of the Week honors, Bradford is looking to continue her high level of play as she and her team go deeper into their conference schedule.
A tough non-conference schedule against teams like Notre Dame, Texas and Purdue also played a big part in the growth of Bradford’s game.
“I learned that I have to play hard and stay consistent,” Bradford said, “I don’t want my points or my rebounds to go up and down, so each game (Guevara) knows what she’s going to get out of me.”
Bradford is ranked in the first in MAC play in a number of categories, including points per game (22), rebounds per game (11.7) and steals per game (3.3). she is also second in assists with five per game.
If Bradford continues to play at this pace she will continue to receive MAC Player of the Week honors. A potential goal? A MAC Player of the Year award.
“I’ve thought about it,” Bradford said, “I keep getting MAC Player of the Week, and I guess those will add up to a year.”