Women’s basketball was going to need to play a near perfect game if they were to beat nationally ranked Notre Dame in South Bend Sunday.
Instead, the Chippewas shot 39.7 percent from the floor, turned the ball over 25 times, and got a lesson in point scoring from the Irish’s starting guard Jewell Loyd to end the afternoon with in a 106-72 loss.
Loyd was able to get the best of CMU early by scoring five of her 30 points in the opening two minutes. Central Michigan junior Crystal Bradford counted the early run with a shot and assist of her own.
The Chippwas kept the Irish in check for the first five minutes of the opening stanza before the number four ranked team rattled off a 9-0 run. Notre Dame attacked the paint in the first half scoring 30 points from high-percentage shots and hit 20 of 37 shots in the opening 20 minutes on their way to a 51-28 halftime lead.
CMU struggled to find the bottom of the net shooting 13-for-35 in the first half with 17 turnovers. Senior Niki DiGuilio, who was instrumental in last year’s 72-63 loss to the Irish last season, went scoreless in four shots from behind the arch in the half.
Bradford started the second half just as strong as she started the game. She scored seven points and nabbed two rebounds in the span of two minutes. Bradford would finish the game with 30 points, 13 rebounds and five steals.
The Chippewas also saw major production from senior Taylor Johnson who hit 7-of-11 shots with nine points from behind the arch. Johnson and Bradford were the only two players to reach double figures for the Chippewas.
Defensively, the Chippwas struggled to defend Notre Dame’s guards. Loyd finished with a season high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Kayla McBridge and Lindsay Allen scored 18 and 11 points on the afternoon.
Central can take some pride in shutting down preseason All-American Natalie Achonwa. Achonwa averaged 13.8 points coming into Sunday, but only scored four points against the Chippewas.
With the loss, Central falls to 0-3 against nationally ranked teams this season.