Perfect no more.
The Central Michigan women’s basketball team lost its first Mid-American Conference game in ugly fashion Sunday afternoon, 84-59, to perennial conference power Bowling Green.
Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford didn’t start the game for the Chippewas due to illness but came in soon after the opening tip and got on the board right away with a three-point shot at the 16:09 mark, putting CMU up 10-9, its only lead of the game. Sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey got the start for Bradford.
Bowling Green’s defense and ability to force turnovers and make three-point shots in crucial moments were the keys to victory for the Falcons. BGSU (14-7, 5-3 MAC) was the first MAC team to score 70-plus points on CMU this season.
Head coach Sue Guevara said she wasn’t pleased with the team’s defensive discipline and overall mental preparation for the game.
“We had some very poor individual play. I thought mentally we didn’t have some players ready,” Guevara said. “We were not disciplined on defense. I thought we had good ball movement, but we did not finish our shots. You have to take personal responsibility for this and give Bowling Green credit.”
Bradford finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Brandie Baker added 14 points to go along with three rebounds.
CMU (13-8, 7-1 MAC) shot 42 percent in the game to Bowling Green’s 56 percent, including a gaudy 10-for-18 from three-point range. The Chippewas were six-for-21 from deep.
There wasn’t too much going down for CMU against Bowling Green’s zone defense in the first half. The Falcons led 27-18 at the 7:06 mark in the first half.
The game started off slowly for both teams offensively, but Bowling Green started getting hot from deep, extending its lead to nine, 24-15, at the 8:01 mark, its largest lead of the half.
Senior forward Jessica Schroll and junior Jessica Green both struggled early to get in an offensive rhythm, but, eventually, both led the Chippewas in points at the half with six. Baker also had six points.
Bowling Green held the MAC’s best offense to only 30 points at the half.
Bradford got CMU to within five, 27-22, after a fast break basket at the 3:10 mark. Green then got the Chippewas to within one after a drive to the basket layup with just under two minutes to go in the half to make it 27-26.
Bowling Green led 34-30 at the half. While CMU shot 48.1 percent in the first half, it had 13 turnovers to only two assists. The Falcons committed eight turnovers and had more points off turnovers than the Chippewas.
Bradford started the second half for the Chippewas and scored the first basket of the half. A three-point shot and a foul allowed BGSU senior guard Chirssy Steffen to complete a four-point play, putting the Falcons up 11, 43-32, at the 17:05 mark.
Offensively, Bowling Green kept the pace going on a 13-4 run over the first 4:41 of the second half to push the scare to 47-34.
Bowling Green led by as many as 28 points late in the game.
Turnovers hurt the Chippewas in the second half as Bowling Green was able to take advantage and score points. CMU had 21 turnovers in the game.
The Chippewas will look to bounce back at Ball State on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.