Thursday’s opening minutes looked as though junior Crystal Bradford might have to eat her words after downplaying Eastern Michigan this week.
Women’s basketball fell behind 16-3 against the Eagles early and needed a spark. Senior forward Taylor Johnson provided one, scoring nine points, all from 3-point range coming off the bench in the first half.
The Chippewas went on a 16-0 run following a 15-0 Eagles run and ran away with the 82-67 win in the second half.
“We’re 8-0, but that game is over,” Johnson said. “We can’t think about games in the past, we’ve got Ohio next … we’ve got to keep working.”
Johnson, who played through a stomach flu, finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds, while Bradford scored 16 points and brought down 17 boards of her own.
“(Eastern Michigan) threw the first punch and we came back at it,” said CMU head coach Sue Guevara. “(Johnson) rebounded, (when) we weren’t getting very many offensive rebounds or many rebounds. She came in and gave us everything she could.”
It took some time for the CMU offense to click as it shot a horrendous 27.8 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc in the first half. The Chippewas finished the game 37.2 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.
“How about that, we had to rely on defense,” Guevara said. “(Eastern Michigan) got stuck on 16 for quite a while because we did a good job of keeping them in front of us and limiting them to one shot.”
CMU held a 64-48 rebounding advantage with 22 offensive boards.
The team battled through offensive struggles as junior Jas’Mine Bracey joined Johnson and Bradford on the list of players with double-doubles with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Junior Kerby Tamm added nine points, all from beyond the arc, and nine rebounds.
“I was staying on the (offensive rebounds) and keeping the offense alive,” Bracey said. “We started off slow, but we came alive in the second half.”
For the second time since 1983, CMU is off to an 8-0 start in Mid-American Conference play with the win against rival EMU.
The Chippewas have 13 games standing between them and the second undefeated conference season in program history. The first came in 1983-84 when CMU went 18-0 under head coach Laura Golden.
Instead of Betsy Yonkman, LaTanga Cox, Syliva Odum and Jody Beerman coming out of the locker room, CMU’s leaders in scoring, rebounding, steals and assists in 1984-85, it’s Johnson, Bradford, Bracey and Tamm.
The Chippewas are home for a 2 p.m. tip-off Saturday in McGuirk Arena against Ohio. CMU will be looking to become the first team since the 1983-84 season to win nine-straight MAC games.