The CMU women’s basketball team took control early, dominating a defensive-minded Buffalo team Sunday, 86-51, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Four players scored in double-figures for CMU in the game, including sophomore guard Crystal Bradford, who finished with 24 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey scored a season-high 18 points, junior guard Jessica Green scored 17 points, and senior forward Jessica Schroll added 11 in the win, improving the Chippewas to 14-9 on the season and 8-2 in the Mid-American Conference. They have not started 8-2 in the league since the 1987-88 season.
“It was nice to see our team click on both ends,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “We knew Buffalo would run their match-up zone. We knew that getting the ball inside and having the ability to make shots was going to be key for us. We did a good job of scoring inside.”
A big reason for the win was the play of Bracey off the bench, something CMU needed against a big Bulls team.
“I knew I had to come in and produce,” Bracey said. “Coming in off the bench, you have to come in with a lot of energy and you have to tell people what you see coming from the bench.”
The first half started out as a back and forth game, but the Chippewas eventually found their rhythm offensively against one of the better defensive teams in the MAC.
“Once we started going inside and scoring, then the zone shrinked, and our shooters were open,” Guevara said. “It was nice to see the inside-outside ball reversal that made the zone shift.”
Most shots were contested, as both teams had to find ways to score inside and create contact in order to score from the line to begin the game. CMU went seven-for-eight from the line in the first.
The team then went on a 21-9 run that lasted nearly 10 minutes, thanks to contributions from senior guard Brandie Baker, who is coming off two-straight 14-point performances. She scored seven points and brought down five rebounds in the first half.
Baker is now eighth all-time in program history with 70 blocks. She had two rejections in the game to go along with seven points and nine rebounds.
Buffalo was held without a basket for nearly seven minutes as the Chippewas defense took over, only allowing the Bulls to shoot 29.4 percent in the first half while forcing 10 turnovers.
CMU also out-rebounded the Bulls (38-25), allowing them to maintain a large lead for much of the first half.
When the second half got underway, the Chippewas maintained their stout defensive effort and found ways to score inside and penetrate the Bulls third-ranked defense, going on a 9-0 run in the first 2:21 of the half.
The Bulls were held under 30-percent shooting in the second and shot 29.2 percent for the game.
Rebounding and fast break opportunities were keys to begin the half as CMU stretched its lead out to 22, 47-25, at the 17:39 mark.
Bradford and Green were two of the big reasons for the continued pressure and scoring. They combined to score 11 of the team’s first 15 points to begin the half.
The Chippewas controlled the paint as they found some holes in the defense allowing for easy baskets. CMU outscored the Bulls in the paint 38 to 22.
CMU is back on the road Saturday to play Miami in Oxford, Ohio.