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Crystal Bradford’s timely defense lifts women past BGSU Saturday in overtime victory

The Central Michigan women’s basketball team solidified itself as the best team in the Mid-American Conference with an 82-79 overtime victory against Bowling Green, Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Arena.

CMU junior guard, Crystal Bradford went 2-for-6 from the field and senior guard, Nikki DiGuillio made 2-of-7 shots she attempted from the field. DiGuillio shot 2-for-6 from 3-point range. Bradford scored 13 points and DiGuillio finished with 11.

Bradford, in the late seconds of overtime, was responsible for a handful of timely steals and blocked shots, which helped give the Chippewas the win.

“(Bradford) got frustrated when her mid-range shots weren’t falling but she stayed with it and didn’t let it get her down. She keeps on playing,” said CMU head coach Sue Guevara.“(In the first half) I thought that we were turning the ball over too much and we were trying to make something happen that wasn’t there.”

Toward the end of the first half, CMU fell into a cold spell. The Chippewas committed careless turnovers, missed high-percentage shots and failed to box out and obtain rebounds on both sides of the glass. CMU turned the ball over 14 times in the first half.

“So far we’ve been a second-half team and I’ve been searching for the answers as to why,” Guevara said. “We just are (a second-half team), but we always respond.”

A major factor in the Chippewas  comeback was junior point guard Jessica Green, who scored a game-high 23 points.

“I’ve been working more on shooting off of the backboard,” Green said. “I didn’t like it at first, but now it’s working for me. so I ended up having a good game and helping the team win.”

Two consecutive second-half 3-pointers made by junior forward, Taylor Johnson, from identical spots on the court cut the Falcons lead to four.

Johnson became the third CMU player this season to reach the 1,000 career point plateau.

“I was open, and the shot was there,” Johnson said. “One thousand points feels really good and it was a goal but I will always take this win over 1,000 points.”

Johnson’s back-to-back long balls and a Falcons turnover led to a 70-70 tie at the end of regulation.

“Our defense was able to start up our offense, which caused a lot of inside layups,” Guevara said.

It was from there that CMU went on an overtime run to seal the victory.

The team’s next contest is scheduled for Wednesday at Kent State.

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