The Central Michigan women’s basketball was outscored in the second half 42-25 by Toledo before losing 76-63 in a first-place matchup Sunday afternoon at McGuirk Arena.
The loss put CMU in second in the Mid-American Conference as the Rockets sit alone atop of the conference with three games left before the MAC tournament.
Head coach Sue Guevara said her team didn’t step up when it came to rebounding the ball, which gave Toledo too many extra chances to score.
“That was a very, very tough loss,” Guevara said. “We knew all along coming into this game it was going to be a battle of the boards. I thought that’s where we lost it. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. Their big players stepped up, and ours frankly did not. We have to swallow this one and get ready for Ball State.”
Guevara also said that junior guard Jessica Green will be out for the season with a torn ACL she suffered against Western Michigan on Wednesday. A surgery date is to be determined.
With Green out, Guevara went with a size matchup with her starting five inserting sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey into the starting lineup.
“Bracey gave us a bigger body on Richardson and hopefully a big body to box her out,” she said. “The lineup is going to be based on a game-to-game basis and matchups.”
Junior guard Niki DiGuilio finished the game with 17 points to lead her team as senior forward Jessica Schroll contributed with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Senior guard Brandie Baker had nine points 11, rebounds, while junior forward Taylor Johnson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The game was physical throughout the first half. Coming in, rebounding was going to be key as both these teams started the game with bigger lineups.
Guevara said her team’s inability to hold its composure in the second half was due in part to some players trying to win the game by themselves.
“I thought a couple of our players were trying to do it on their own and lost their composure,” Guevara said. “We turned the ball over and gave up offensive rebounds. It’s not that Toledo was doing anything different, it’s that we were not boxing out.”
The Chippewas were out-rebounded 26-21 in the first half but had the lead at the half, 38-34. The Rockets were able to score most of their points inside, thanks to 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, scoring 20 points in the paint.
DiGuilio was three-for-three from three-point range in the first seven minutes of the game. She had 14 points in the first half and was 4-for-4 from 3 in the half.
Schroll came up big in the first half, scoring 13 points while bringing down four rebounds, while Baker had seven points and five rebounds.
Forcing the Rockets into uncomfortable situations was key in the first as CMU was able to cause seven turnovers, scoring 11 off those turnovers.
Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford scored her first basket of the game at the 18:14 mark in the second, putting her team up 42-34. She scored six of her team’s first eight points to begin the second.
Johnson gave the team the biggest lead of the game, to that point, at the 13:45 mark, 52-40, after sinking a three-point basket.
But Toledo answered with a 22-6 run to end the game due in part to its ability to get offensive rebounds. The Rockets had 18 in the game, winning the battle in the paint, 44-24.
The Chippewas will look to rebound off this loss at 7 p.m. Thursday when they welcome Ball State.