The high-powered and consistently-aggresive Central Michigan women’s basketball offense blew past rival Western Michigan 113-87, Saturday afternoon at University Arena in Kalamazoo.
The Chippewas created some valuable space between themselves and the Broncos in the Mid-American Conference West standings while remaining the only undefeated team in MAC play this season.
The women set a program record Saturday for most points in a first half (68), snapping a 30-year record. Senior Niki DiGuilio set a career-high for points in a game with 27 against WMU.
“It’s always a little bit more when you beat (WMU),” said CMU coach Sue Guevara. “I was able to play everyone tonight and we were able to hit a good amount of our shots, so that was good to see.”
Junior guard and defending NCAA women’s basketball Player of the Week Crystal Bradford recorded her 12th double-double of the season, scoring 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.
Junior Kerby Tamm also set a career-high for points scored in one game with 20. Tamm hit six 3-pointers against the Broncos.
“It’s nice to play with someone like Niki,” Tamm said. “They can’t guard both of us the way they want to at the same time. It’s good to know there is someone else out there who can make a good shot.”
The two teams were evenly matched through the opening five minutes. The Broncos and Chippewas traded buckets while both defenses struggled in transition. WMU’s Miracle Woods scored 10 points in the first eight minutes of the game.
But CMU (11-7, 7-0 in MAC) picked up momentum midway through the first half.
Bradford lead the Chippewas on a late first half 10-2 run as the Chippewas led 47-35 with little more than four minutes until halftime. DiGuilio, the programs leading 3-point shooter, hit five 3-pointers and led all first half scorers with 21.
“I had been riding the struggle bus in conference play so far,” DiGuilio said. “It felt good to see all those shots go down. It’s comforting when you have two sharpshooters out there like we do.”
The Chippewas shot 7-for-13 from 3-point range in the first half while the Broncos were 0-for-8.
CMU led 68-43 at the break.
The Broncos cut the lead to 21 points with 11:41 remaining, but CMU point guard Jessica Green stopped the run with a mid-range jumper. Green finished the game with 12 points.
The Chippewas forced 14 WMU turnovers while committing only nine. CMU outrebounded the Broncos, 45-30.
It was the third game this season the Chippewas scored at least 100 points in a game. Guevara is now 11-3 in games against WMU since taking over at CMU.
“We are happy to get seven conference wins right in a row again,” she said. “But now the thought is … let’s get eight.”
The women have started 7-0 to start the MAC schedule for the second consecutive season. CMU will host MAC foe Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night at McGuirk Arena.