Riding a seven-game winning streak, an undefeated conference record and a decent amount of confidence, women’s basketball took on Eastern Michigan on Thursday.
In practice earlier in the week, junior guard Crystal Bradford made the Chippewas confidence a factor going into Thursday’s game against the Eagles. Claiming that EMU was not good enough to be considered a rival of the Chippewas, Bradford made her feelings obvious.
CMU followed through with Bradford’s strong words, beating the team, 82-67, and improving to 8-0 in Mid-American Conference play.
“There was trash-talking before the game and that can’t happen,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “Each opponent is the same, no game is bigger than the one you’re going to play right now.”
When a player like Bradford makes comments in the days preceding a game, the already high expectation level rises.
Early in the game, the Chippewas were on the wrong side of a 15-0 EMU run. For a few brief moments, Chippewa faithful might have loathed Bradford’s comments.
Bradford had the backing of her teammates, however, as CMU struggled through early adversity.
“We knew they (EMU) were going to come out fired up with some animosity,” said senior forward Jas’Mine Bracey. “It’s a game of runs and they had their run, but we finished.”
Coming off of the end of EMU’s run, CMU started one of its own. Scoring 16-straight points and erasing the deficit toward the later portion of the half, the Chippewas confidence was exactly where it was during the week.
Despite surrendering the early run to its conference opponents, CMU’s defense showed up and helped maintain its unblemished conference record.
Eastern Michigan did not help its cause either. The Eagles struggled with its shooting from the field and, with the exception of the team’s early run, could not get the lid off the basket. Shooting 31.7 percent from the field, the Chippewas defense has seen better shooting from its opponents.
Central Michigan will take the court again Sunday at home against the Ohio Bobcats. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.