Fresh off another Mid-American Conference win, the women’s basketball team returns home to play Akron at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford continues to make headlines. She recorded her fourth-straight double-double on Wednesday night with 10 points and 14 rebounds. It was her eighth double-digit scoring and rebounding game of the season. She is also the reigning MAC West Player of the Week.
Head coach Sue Guevara is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Zips and said it’s all about playing good, solid defense against a team that can score.
“Akron is a very tough team and can score,” Guevara said. “They have five or six players that can put up double-figures, too, and we lost to Akron at their place last year in a high-scoring game. It’s a matter of us getting stops and understanding personnel. Defensively controlling the boards is going to be really key.”
CMU has three players averaging 10-plus points per game this season: Bradford (14.6), junior guard Jessica Green (11.7) and senior forward Jessica Schroll (10.7).
While the Chippewas are first in the MAC West with a five-game winning streak to open conference play, their longest of the season, Akron comes in at 3-2 in the MAC and 12-6 on the season, having lost its last two games to Toledo and Western Michigan, and is tied for second in the MAC East.
There is only one team, statistically, that has been better on the offensive side of the ball this season than CMU and that team is Akron. The Zips are averaging 76.4 points per game while the Chippewas rank second in the MAC with 74.4 points per game.
Akron comes into this matchup as the best field goal and free-throw shooting team in the MAC this season.
Guevara said the key in this matchup will be coming out in the first half and being more aggressive on offense than they have been in these past few games.
“I want our team to have two good halves,” Guevara said. “We have shown our depth pays off in the second half. Our starters get much more aggressive in the second half, and, against a good team like Akron, you can’t win the game in the first half. But you can sure lose one.”
CMU will look to counter with the second-ranked three-point shooting team in the MAC against a Zips team that gives up 63.6 points per game.
The defense has stepped up these last five games for the Chippewas, only giving up an average of 55.8 points per game. The offense is scoring 76.4 points per game with an average margin of victory of nearly 21 points.
Akron has three of the top four scorers in the MAC this season, including junior forward Rachel Tecca, who leads the MAC in scoring this season coming in with an average of 18.2 points per game. Bradford leads CMU with 14.6 points per game, good for fifth in the MAC.
Junior guard Sina King has eight double-doubles this year for the Zips, which is tied for most in the MAC this season with Bradford.
Both Green and Schroll have scored in double-digits in four of the first five games to begin the conference schedule.
“We have to come out and be much more aggressive in the first half,” Guevara said. “And when we get frustrated offensively, we have to take it out on the other team defensively.”