Central Michigan’s most skillful and confident student-athlete has added another honorable designation to her already impressive resume.
Junior guard Crystal Bradford earned the NCAA women’s basketball National Player of the Week honor for her performance in the Chippewas victories against Northern Illinois and Bowling Green last week.
Bradford’s play in the two games also earned the star player her third consecutive Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honor and her fifth of the season. She has tied the MAC record for most career MAC Player of the Week honors with 12.
The Detroit-native posted a double-double in both contests, averaging 20 points, 15 rebounds and 6.5 steals.
“It’s a humbling honor,” Bradford said. “Every week for the past few weeks, I’ve been getting conference Player of the Week and I think that is a huge accomplishment as well.”
Bradford currently ranks among the top-40 players nationally in several statistical categories including rebounds per game (11th), steals per game (14th), and scoring (36th).
The Olympic Gold Medalist has also played record-setting defense lately. Bradford set the CMU single-game blocks record when she swatted away seven Bowling Green shots on Jan. 18.
“It’s a team thing. It’s like I’m bringing (the award) back for my team,” Bradford said. “Anything we do as a team, we bring it back for the squad … for the Chippewas.”
CMU head coach Sue Guevara said she feels her sensational lynchpin can get even better.
“There are some things that I have asked her to do or to get more consistent with and she has done that,” Guevara said. “I don’t think (Bradford) goes into every game thinking she wants to be the Player of the Week. I do know that when she plays as hard as she can, she is tough to compete against.”
Bradford’s success has been contagious as the Chippewas remain undefeated at home and in the MAC. The women head to Kent, Ohio for a matchup with struggling Kent State, Wednesday night.
“My coaches always tell me to ‘be more than buckets,’” Bradford said. “I’ve seen what makes (a basketball player) great. I’m willing to take the steps to become great. I would love to go to the (WNBA). I want to keep going and keep winning awards every week.”
While Guevara might serve as Bradford’s largest critic at times, the coach of more than 30 years would not deny the remarkable talent the junior displays.
“I’ve coached a lot of really great players over the years,” Guevara said. “But I’ve never coached anyone like Crystal.”