Going into the Central Michigan women’s basketball team’s game Thursday night against Kent State, most expected the Chippewas to dominate a team that had won just two games all season.
By the end of the game, the story had followed the script perfectly as the Chippewas controlled play from the opening tip, cruising to a 91-44 victory. The win improved their record to 7-0 in conference play (13-7 overall) for the first time since the 1983-84 season.
“My biggest concern coming into this game was about mental preparation,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “I wanted to see how focused we were going to be, to beat a team that was struggling. I thought we really responded to the fact that this game was about us and not Kent State, and we came out fast.”
The Chippewas had four players score in double figures in the win.
CMU started the game on a 6-0 run, thanks to some early turnovers by KSU.
Sloppy play by the Golden Flashes would be a theme throughout, and the Chippewas capitalized, scoring 24 points off 16 turnovers in the first half and 34 points off 24 turnovers in the game.
“We have been stressing defense a lot lately,” said sophomore guard Jessica Green, who led CMU with six steals. “When we can get steals like that, it really helps our offense.”
A layup by KSU freshman center Heather Bachman pulled the Golden Flashes to within two at the 13:06 mark, but back-back-to-back three-point shots by senior guard Jalisa Olive and junior forward Taylor Johnson and a layup by sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey extended the CMU lead to 18-10 halfway through the first half.
A three-point shot by sophomore guard Niki DiGuilio gave the Chippewas a 30-14 lead with 6:32 to go, and, from there, the lead would balloon to 28 after junior forward Jordan LaDuke hit a shot at the buzzer to make it 49-21 at halftime
The Chippewas opened the second half with an 8-4 run to extend its lead to 57-25 at the first media timeout. KSU continued to struggle and never threatened the CMU lead.
A layup by LaDuke with 1:12 to go in the game gave CMU a 47-point lead, its biggest of the night. A 27-point deficit minutes into the second half was as close as KSU would get.
CMU shot 60.6 percent in the first half and 51.6 percent for the game.
Olive led balanced CMU offense, scoring 13 points off the bench. Bracey added 11 points, sophomore Crystal Bradford scored 10 and led CMU with six rebounds. Johnson added 10 points as well. Junior guard Kylie Welch was the only Chippewa who didn’t score in the win.
“We played a game tonight to get ready for nine more games,” Guevara said. “It’s about our execution on both ends of the floor. This is two games back-to-back that we have put together a good 40-minute effort.”
CMU’s next game is Sunday when it travels to Bowling Green.