COLUMN: Five reasons why Bradford deserved the MAC Player of the Year
There is no women’s basketball player I’ve ever watched who is more exciting than Central Michigan sophomore guard Crystal Bradford.
Bradford, in my opinion, is by far the best women’s basketball player in the Mid-American Conference.
Not to take away anything from Rachel Tecca of Akron, who was awarded the MAC Player of the Year, but Bradford just flat-out does more.
Time and time again, Bradford has amazed me this season with her game and numbers.
There are so many reasons why Bradford deserved it over Tecca, and here are a few.
Number one: I don’t care that Tecca led the conference in scoring; that’s not all that matters in the game.
Bradford is one of only two players to average a double-double on the season and has the most double-doubles this season with 13 (the other was Kirsten Olowinski of Miami). So, not only does she score, she rebounds.
And not only does she score and rebound, she can also facilitate on offense and put pressure on defense.
Bradford is not only the leading scorer and rebounder for the Chippewas, she has the most assists and steals and is second to sophomore guard Jessica Green in steals, who is out for the season.
Bradford is in the top-10 in all of those categories and is the only one who can say that in both overall and conference play; Tecca is in the top-10 in just one.
Number two: When the Zips and CMU played, Tecca scored 24 points, had eight boards and a block.
Not bad, considering Bradford scored a McGuirk Arena-record 31 points, also had eight boards, four assists, four blocks and three steals and one turnover to Tecca’s three.
Head-to-head battle goes to Bradford.
Number three: Bradford is Mrs. Player of the Week.
Bradford won three-straight MAC Player of the Week honors, one shy of the conference record, she won five overall, again, coming one shy of the conference record.
Number four: Jawdrop effect
I attended two home games this season as a fan, and, in both games, Bradford did something I’d never seen. Early in a game against Northern Illinois, Bradford got one of her many steals and found herself on a breakaway.
She missed; now, Bradford doesn’t just miss layups. If she did I wouldn’t be typing right now. The incredible part is I truly believe she missed because she tried to dunk. When was the last time a woman in the MAC attempted a dunk? … I’m going to go with never on that one.
The second, on a night where not everything was falling for her, she scored 20 points — which isn’t a big deal, but she was able to also bring down 21 rebounds along with four blocks, three assists and two steals.
I don’t care if her team lost to Ball State in that game; you can’t beat that statline, and when talking MVP of the conference, aren’t you talking stats?
If it’s wins and losses then that still leaves Tecca behind.
My fifth and final reason: The statement game.
You hear about Heisman moments with college football. Well, Bradford made her statement in the first MAC game of the year.
At one-loss Toledo, she scored 27 points while recording nine rebounds and five steals. She shot at a high rate of 69 percent from the field while scoring 14 points in the first five minutes to set the tempo and lead her team to become one of only two teams to beat the Rockets this season.
Tecca had a good season, but she doesn’t do what Bradford does on a night-in and night-out basis.
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