Women's basketball dominates Ball State, tied for first in the MAC
The Central Michigan women’s basketball team played one of its best games of the year en route to an impressive 84-66 win against the Ball State Cardinals Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Arena.
“Today was a nice win for us,” said head coach Sue Guevara “Our bench came to play today again. I think that’s one of our biggest strengths, our ability to have different people come in and make contributions.”
BSU didn’t score its first basket until the 17:40 mark of the first half.
With the score tied at 11, junior guard Jalisa Olive had a steal and layup to give CMU the two-point lead. Sophomore forward Taylor Johnson then made two-straight layups to give the Chippewas a 17-13 lead at the 11:39 mark of the first half. CMU did not trail the rest of the game.
Johnson played her best game of the season, scoring seven points and 13 rebounds.
“I knew once I got in the game that it was going to be physical and that I had to be physical,” she said. “I knew I had to get rebounds and just do what was best for the team.”
Sophomore guard Niki DiGuilio made her first 3-point shot of the game with 4:45 left in the first half to give CMU a 33-22 lead. Moments later she made another one to make it 36-22.
A 3-point shot by Ball State guard Shelbie Justice cut the CMU lead to 38-32 with 49 seconds left in the first half, but Chippewa freshman guard Crystal Bradford spun into the lane and knocked down the jumper with 5 seconds left to give CMU the 40-32 lead at halftime.
“I thought we got tired and started playing one on one at the end of the first half,” Guevara said “We missed three 3-point shots and had three turnovers so that’s 0-6. We had a talk at halftime changed the lineup and I thought we did a good job getting going in the first few minutes.”
CMU dominated the Cardinals in the second half.
CMU guards penetrated into the Ball State defense on virtually every possession which freed up there shooters for open looks. A layup by Olive at the 11:32 mark of the second half gave CMU a 26-point lead; it’s largest of the game. The Chippewas continued to play well, getting open looks for 3-point shooters.
“There are a lot of teams in this league that play man to man,” Guevara said. “Our offense is based on the dribble so in order for us to be successful we need to be able to penetrate; we did a good job finding the open players today.”
The Chippewas went 5-for-8 from behind the arc in the second half.
Bradford led the Chippewas with 16 points and eight rebounds.
DiGuilio and senior forward Skylar Miller each had 11 points for CMU. Bracey finished with nine points, sophomore Jordan LaDuke, freshman Jessica Green, and freshman Kerby Tamm each had eight.
The Chippewas are now 11-7 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference, tied for first place.
“It feels good to be in first place, Bradford said. “But there is still a lot more work to be done.”
The Chippewas next game is at Eastern Michigan on Jan. 19.