Chippewas ready for WNIT without Crystal Bradford
After being eliminated in the Mid-American Conference tournament, Central Michigan women's basketball looks forward to the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
The Chippewas will take on Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at McGuirk Arena on Thursday. It will be the team's first contest since it lost to Akron, 65-89, in the semifinals of the MAC tournament.
The game is set for a 7 p.m. and doors are scheduled to open at 6 p.m.
Student tickets will be sold on the day of the game for $4 with valid student I.D. Adult tickets will cost $9, while youth and senior tickets will be $6. Additional tickets will be available through the CMU Events Center.
The Chippewas will once again be without junior guard Crystal Bradford.
"She's having surgery tomorrow, so she's all done," said head coach Sue Guevara.
Bradford confirmed it in a tweet Tuesday afternoon, saying there is "not a chance" she will be healthy enough to play.
She is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on her knee Wednesday. After the surgery she will begin the long recovery process with a positive and humble attitude, Guevara said.
Although the initial news of the star guard's injury came as shock to many Chippewa fans and players alike, there is a silver lining to the situation. Test results on Tuesday confirmed there is no structural damage to the ACL or MCL ligaments.
Her absence has also given CMU the chance to see others hit the floor for some crucial minutes.
"It has given us more time to prepare without her and our players understand what more we needed to do against Akron," Guevara said. "We had some positive things come out of that loss and the play of (Da'Jourie) Turner, (Jewel) Cotton and (Jordan) LaDuke will help us defend the McGuirk Arena floor on Thursday."
Bradford suffered her season-ending injury in practice days before the team's game against Akron.
The initial stages of the recovery process, which Bradford is set to start in two days, can change a player's attitude for the worst. This is not the case for her.
"I think she understands the significance of her injury and I think she certainly understands everything she has to do to recover from her surgery," Guevara said. "She's in good spirits because she knows the doctors will do what needs to be done to fix her knee. She's going to be on crutches for about six weeks, so we'll just have to see how she's progressing."
Without her, the Chippewas will have to rally around 'CB23' while she does her best to coach the team from the sidelines.
"She's a loud cheerleader in practice and I think everybody has been very supportive of her during this time," Guevara said.