Next up for CMU women's basketball: 2-17 Kent State
Women’s basketball looks to continue its Mid-American Conference dominance and stay undefeated at 7 p.m. Thursday when Kent State visits McGuirk Arena.
The Golden Flashes come into the game on a six-game losing streak, putting them at the bottom of the MAC East (2-17, 0-6). Its last win came Jan. 2 against Bethune-Cookman.
Sophomore guard Crystal Bradford has been on a tear this season and will look to continue against the worst rated defense in the MAC in Kent State.
"I think we’ve had key people buy in, and I think we’re going into each game with very specific defensive goals for that opponent," said head coach Sue Guevara. “Our practices have been very, very competitive. There have been those days where we practice really well, and then we’ve had those days where I have not been happy."
Bradford had a big game last week against MAC East rival Akron, tying a McGuirk Arena record and career-high with 31 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists.
After receiving three-straight MAC Player of the Week awards, Bradford was unable to receive the award for a fourth-straight time but had another solid week. In her last three games, Bradford is averaging 18.3 points and 12 rebounds, keeping her in the running for MAC Player of the Year.
Although the team is 6-0 in the MAC and in first place, Guevara said she wants the team to always work at improving their weaknesses, and this week was no different, as several specific things were addressed in practice.
"We still have flaws, and we have some really good things," Guevara said. "Don’t get me wrong, but, watching the tape, its like these are definitely things we have to sure up. We’ve done a lot of work on our transition defense and our weak side rebounding, and we worked on the penetration that’s coming from the wing. We need better help from the weak side and not from the post player."
Taylor Johnson has been a big contributor to the Chippewas success. The junior forward has been good from three-point range, moving up to No. 3 in the MAC in three-point percentage (.422).
In addition to Bradford and Johnson, the rest of the team has been stepping up as well. CMU’s depth has been key to its undefeated conference start and especially in its last three games. Role players like Johnson, sophomore guard Jessica Green and senior forward Jessica Schroll have made the Chippewas a hard team to guard as defenses are unable to focus on one player.
In the past three games, Green has helped in scoring (12.3 ppg) as well as helping run the offense. Schroll has been having a somewhat quiet season but has been stepping it up, averaging 12 points in the past three games.
Johnson, sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey and senior guard Jalisa Olive lead a strong bench for CMU. The bench has been averaging 30.7 points per game against its last three opponents, and it has outscored the opponent's bench by an average of 20.3.
Bracey did not play for the first time all season on Saturday due to what Guevara said was a back issue. Guevara said she doesn't know yet if Bracey will be ready for Thursday's matchup with Kent State.
Taking advantage of home court is another aspect Guevara addressed. She said the team has to out-perform its opponent's best effort each game.
“We will not be out-worked on this floor. We have a very talented team but our hard work has to beat their hard work," Guevara said.