CMU women’s hoops hosts Toledo Sunday for MAC West lead
With the MAC tournament looming, the top two women’s basketball teams in the Mid-American Conference will play in McGuirk Arena at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Toledo comes into this match-up as the MAC West leader, while CMU sits second, one game behind and the tiebreaker on its side.
Head coach Sue Guevara said she hopes the fans will turn out in large numbers to support the team.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of students to come in and heckle the living tar out of Toledo,” Guevara said. “I hope we get a lot of people in the stands. We need a sold-out McGuirk Arena; we need that sixth man there for us.”
The Chippewas are the only MAC team and one of only two teams to beat the Rockets this season after a 73-66 win at Savage Arena on Jan. 10. Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford had 27 points in that game, her second-best scoring output of the season.
Since the loss, Toledo has gone a perfect 11-0 in the MAC, thanks to its strong defense, which ranks first in the conference. It has only given up an average of 49.7 points per game to MAC opponents.
Only three teams have scored more than 60 points against Toledo in conference play. Knowing the magnitude of the game, Guevara said she is looking forward to this matchup.
“We’ve got Toledo coming in; we’re one game back,” Guevara said. “We’re the team that beat them at their place, now they’re going to be on our floor. This game has ramifications for seeding come tournament time. It’s going to be a real good basketball game.”
CMU will look to counter with its first-ranked offense, averaging 76.7 points per game. Bradford is coming off her eleventh double-double performance of the season against Western Michigan on Wednesday.
She had 21 points and 10 rebounds. She is second in the MAC in both points per game (17.8) and blocks per game (1.7) and is first in rebounds (10.7 per game).
Senior guard Brandie Baker has been a model of consistency this season both defensively and offensively. She scored 11 points to go along with five rebounds in Wednesday night’s win.
Offensively, the Rockets are just as dangerous, ranking fourth in the MAC, averaging 64.8 points per game, while the Chippewas have been good defensively as well, giving up 59 points per game ranking fourth in the MAC.
Toledo is led by the reigning MAC West Player of the Week, junior guard Andola Dortch. She has averaged 14.8 points in her last eight games to lead the Rockets.
She is fourth on her team in rebounding, with 4.5 per game. Dortch was the 2011-12 MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Both teams have outscored opponents by a considerable margin and rank one and two in the conference in scoring margin. CMU ranks first with a +17.7 margin, while Toledo is right behind with a +15.2 scoring margin.
Rebounding will be key in this game as both like to play a physical brand of defense by controlling the boards. These are the top two rebounding teams in the MAC, with the Chippewas averaging 43.5 boards per game to the Rockets 39.9.
CMU loves to force turnovers, ranking first in steals (11.2 per game) and blocks (4.9 per game). It will have plenty of opportunities to get steals as Toledo looks to distribute the ball as much as possible, ranking second in assists with 16.2 per game.
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