CLEVELAND — Here are five things we can take away from women’s basketball’s loss to Akron in the MAC tournament semifinal on Friday.
1. CMU missed the MAC Player of the Year
Even with the bountiful amounts of talent on this Central Michigan team, it was not enough to make up for an injured and inactive Crystal Bradford. Most notably, the Chippewas transition game was very futile. CMU was only able to score two points off fast break opportunities. Bradford’s outlet passing helps the Chippewas in this area, normally. Akron was able to score 13 points via the fast break. Being the MAC defensive player of the year, Bradford’s game on the defensive side of the ball would have limited the damage Akron created. The Chippewas’ rebounds also took a dip without Bradford. They were outrebounded by the Zips 49-45.
2. CMU was offensively superior in the paint despite the loss
In the first half, the Chippewas tore the Zips apart in the paint. CMU was able to score 22 of its 38 points from high percentage angles. De’Jourie Turner, Jessica Green and Jordan LaDuke all led the way with six points apiece in the first half. Akron was unable to hit much from inside the paint with only eight points in the opening 20 minutes. The Chippewas scored 18 more points in the paint than the Zips in the game.
3. Jordan LaDuke was ready to step up in Bradford’s absence
The senior had only started four games all season and played a combined 20 minutes since January 25, but LaDuke was ready to take on the task of starting in a conference semifinal. LaDuke missed her first two shots before she was able to find the bottom of the net. She finished going 5-of-11 with 11 points. LaDuke’s double-digit effort was her fourth of the season. She was also able to block two shots and grab six rebounds in the loss.
4. Central Michigan countered the loss of Bradford with an even scoring line
Chippewas fans have rarely seen a balanced scoring by committee approach this season. Many times one player, such as Bradford or Niki DiGuilio, would put up close to 30 points per game. This was not the case in Cleveland. Seven of the eight Chippewas that saw time on the court were able to put up substantial score lines, with only nine points separating the highest scorer from the lowest scorer. Though the Chippewas did not reach their 83.1 points per game average, Friday’s 69 points came from a variety of sources.
5. The future is still very bright
All three of the top scorers in Friday’s game will be back next season. The same can be said about three of the top five top scorers this season. While the circumstances did not work out for the Chippewas this year, they will most likely have a healthy MAC Player of the Year and plenty of experience come November. Though the season did not end the way many expected, there is very little that suggests the Chippewas won’t be very competitive in the 2014-15 season.