In a season where 3-point shooting has been in the spotlight for the women’s basketball team, one player has quietly made a name for herself in the post.
Junior Jas’Mine Bracey has become a very important part of the Central Michigan offense.
“We don’t usually have this big post presence in our offense,” said CMU head coach Sue Guevara. “If you look at (Crystal) Bradford, Niki (DiGuilio) and (Kerby) Tamm and their abilities to penetrate and shoot the three, Jas’Mine gets overlooked a bit. The one thing (Bracey) has been very consistent with us is her rebounding. You are starting to see when other people are struggling, she is picking it up.”
The 6-foot-2 Saginaw native recorded her eighth double-double of the season by scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in CMU’s 80-63 win over Ohio, Sunday.
Bracey led the Chippewas in both statistical categories, on an afternoon that saw Bradford struggling.
“It’s not just me out there,” Bracey said. “We have contributions from our bench and it’s the good thing about our team. We are very versatile and we have a deep bench so other people can come in and perform when others are not.”
Bracey’s teammates have taken notice of her efforts.
“To see Jas’Mine Bracey running down the floor, beating everybody and finishing is impressive,” DiGuilio said. “We were all excited. She’s finishing better and she’s being very nasty on the boards. I think she is stepping her game up.”
Bracey’s role on the team has gone through a change this season. She is creating plenty of fast-break opportunities by running the floor more and Guevara said she has challenged the forward’s defensive skills in practice.
“I’ve been playing her at the top of our press,” Guevara said. “We went to the diamond and back to the man-to-man (defense). In practice, we switch everything so now she is guarding a little player. When a little player sees a big player, she wants to take her to the hole. She’s really been working on her one-on-one defense against smaller people.”
While Bracey continues to get better, it is uncertain where her ceiling is.
Bracey has been fighting a tight back and has experienced a few problems with her knees this season. Still, she remains optimistic regarding the Chippewas quest to repeat as Mid-American Conference champions in 2014.
“I’m just doing what I can do to help my team and keep us on this winning streak,” Bracey said. “I’m just trying to play well every game. I’m getting in the flow of things and making sure I am being consistent out there.”