Extended break, Bowling Green largest obstacles for MAC tournament repeat

Greg Cornwell | Staff Photographer The Chippewas bench erupts after a great play late game against Ball State. Central Michigan defeated Ball State in overtime, 85-72.

After beating Toledo on the road on Sunday afternoon, women's basketball earned a double-bye in the Mid-American Conference tournament. This means more time off for CMU once the season concludes.

“I am going to make practice during that week even tougher than playing in a game,” said head coach Sue Guevara.

The prolonged rest could enable the team to get its strategy in sync and to prepare for its first opponent. However, the extended amount of time away from the court might have an adverse effect on Guevara’s team.

“It is not a blessing getting that double-bye,” said senior guard Niki DiGuilio.

Round one starts at various campus sites for the tournament’s commencement on March 10 with the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio hosting the remainder of the tournament.

The Chippewas will play their first game of the tournament on March 14 against the winner of game seven. Seeding is still yet to be finalized with a couple of games remaining for most teams in the conference, however, it is likely CMU will see Akron as the third seed.

The Zips stand at 13-3 in conference play, but CMU beat them 102-83 on Jan. 9, their only meeting this season. CMU scored the second most points in a season, marking the third most against a conference opponent and sixth most in program history.

Bowling Green is the most obvious threat in the way of the Chippewas repeating as MAC champions.

CMU split its two-game series, winning in overtime at McGuirk Arena 82-79, and then losing on the road 55-67.

A potential third meeting between the Chippewas and the Falcons in the championship game is a likely scenario at this point and is the most anticipated potential matchup in the tournament.

"I'd like to see BGSU more than anyone else," DiGuilio said. "It's just personal for all of us. We always seem to lose to them in the wrong ways. We'd like to smack them."

Although the Zips and the Falcons are the most successful teams CMU has seen this season, all of its opponents have potential to surprise with the championship on the line.

Toledo, which hosts an 8-8 conference record, have played the Chippewas twice this year, losing 84-71 in its first contest, but came close to victory in their second meeting, 80-77.

If CMU wants to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament, it will have to win its second consecutive conference tournament to get there. Junior guard Crystal Bradford believes her team can get back to the top spot.


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