After being upset at home for the first time this season, the Central Michigan women’s basketball players were left speechless.
A poor start in the post doomed CMU as the Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana Jaguars bounced them from the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, 72-66 to end its season earlier than players and fans expected.
The Chippewas allowed 15 IUPUI offensive rebounds and were out-rebounded 25-21 in the first half.
“Today was a very tough loss for us,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “We didn’t control the boards in the first half and we paid for it.”
The Jags found success in the paint offensively, outscoring the Chippewas 48-22. IUPUI’s 6-foot-4 forward Nevena Markovic gave CMU fits, scoring 14 points and tacking on 11 rebounds for her fourth-straight double-double.
“When we come out aggressive and we play hard, that kind of sets the tone for the rest of the game,” said IUPUI head coach Austin Parkinson. “Tonight we got some good shots early and that helped our defense a little bit.”
Giving up points on the fast break was an issue for the Chippewas, who missed the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, junior Crystal Bradford.
“(Bradford) is unbelievable,” Parkinson said. “Of course it hurt them. They went 13-0 because Bradford is a stud. That being said, they still have other players and they are a solid team.”
CMU gave up 10 points on fast break opportunities and scored two in transition.
The Chippewas scoring struggled. CMU came into the game averaging 82.6 points per game, but shot a dismal 32.9 percent from the field with only 23 shots finding the bottom of the hoop.
“Shots that usually go in for us did not go,” Guevara said. “The rebounding was the ball game and when you have two people who go 1-for-15 from the 3-point line (seniors Niki DiGuilio and Taylor Johnson), that’s the ball game.”
The win is the first postseason win for IUPUI, who handed the Chippewas their first and last home-court loss of the season.
Players for Central Michigan were not made available for post-game comments by CMU athletics.