As the Central Michigan women’s basketball team prepares for an important home stand this weekend, CMU’s star player made her feelings on the Chippewas next opponent clear.
Junior guard and five-time Mid-American Conference player of the week Crystal Bradford spoke openly about Eastern Michigan, which CMU hosts Thursday.
“I don’t usually talk like this, but I don’t like Eastern,” Bradford said. “We all don’t like Eastern. They aren’t our rivals. If they were our rivals then they would be somebody that we could contend with. We feel like we are going to dominate all aspects with Eastern.”
Bradford said such trash-talk is helpful to her team both in practice and on the court against opponents.
“If someone is getting trash-talked, that brings out the beast in them,” she said. “I know what gets my teammates going and gets (opposing players) going. It’s all part of the game within the game.”
Although the Chippewas (11-8, 7-0 in MAC) remain undefeated at home, Bradford’s streak of consecutive conference player of the week honors ended at three last week.
Western Michigan’s Miracle Woods won last week’s award after scoring 36 points for the Broncos in a 113-87 loss to CMU on Saturday.
“She worked really hard for it. I’m not focused on getting player of the week every week,” Bradford said. “I’m just focusing on going out there and playing hard. Getting the win is what matters.”
CMU head coach Sue Guevara said the subtext of the bitter rivalry and “game within the game,” is something she tries to keep her players from getting wrapped up in.
“You can’t focus on all that stuff too much,” Guevara said. “You don’t want to make any game bigger than it is. We went to the (NCAA tournament) last year and were picked No. 1 (in the MAC preseason poll). We are always going to get everyone’s A game.”
Bradford said she is well aware of the target on the Chippewas back.
“Everybody wants our spot,” Bradford said, “especially Eastern.”