Few things are more important in basketball than rebounding and taking care of the ball.
The women’s basketball team did neither when it mattered most in its 76-63 loss to Toledo at McGuirk Arena Sunday afternoon.
The Chippewas (16-10 overall, 10-3 Mid-American Conference) held an 11-point lead at the 11:25 mark of the second half, but turnovers, poor shot selection and an inability to collect defensive rebounds doomed them throughout the second half.
“Rebounding wins championships, In the second half, we turned it over and gave up offensive rebounds,” said head coach Sue Guevara.
CMU was out-rebounded 50 to 44, giving up 18 offensive rebounds.
“We have to box out,” Guevara said. “It’s not because we just weren’t boxing out, we were trying to penetrate on three people instead of passing the ball.”
The team finished the game with 15 turnovers and made just two shots from the field over the final 11 minutes and 25 seconds of the game. Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford, a contender for MAC Player of the Year, scored just six points and went 2-for-14 from the field. She also led with had eight turnovers.
“I thought we played way to0 much one on one in the second half, and we couldn’t buy a basket,” Guevara said. “We were bringing the ball down and shooting it before we even passed it. We weren’t looking for (Niki) DiGuilio. I mean, she was wide open, but we decided to go in for layups instead, and we weren’t making them.”
DiGuilio went five-for-five from beyond the arc but took only one in the second half and none in the final 11 minutes.
“We need to share the ball,” Guevara said. “This is not a one woman team; we need all five players to produce.”
Despite the loss, the team still has a good chance for a bye to the semi-finals with the No. 2 seed, which it shares with Ball State going into Thursday’s game against the Cardinals in McGuirk Arena.
But what will hurt in the turnover category is the loss of sophomore guard Jessica Green, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.