Women's basketball falls to Wright State in WNIT, ends season with back-to-back losses
The Chippewas finish 23-9, 15-3 in MAC play
It was another heart-breaking loss for the Central Michigan women's basketball team Thursday night.
After a hard fought battle with Wright State, the Chippewas had one last chance to tie the game and send it to overtime with seven seconds left to play.
Junior forward Tinara Moore's layup rolled off the rim as time expired, resulting in a 66-64 loss in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The Chippewas were looking for their first postseason win outside of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, but they will have to wait another year to accomplish the task.
CMU finished the season 23-9 with back-to-back losses to Western Michigan in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals and Thursday's defeat.
Moore and junior guard Cassie Breen led the way for the Chippewas on offense. Breen led the team with 20 points going 7-for-12 from the field, and Moore had a double-double, tallying 17 points and 10 rebounds. Each player surpassed 1,000 points in their careers as Chippewas.
Head coach Sue Guevara said it was another loss for her squad and the team just couldn't finish down the stretch.
“Unfortunetly, I thought we turned the ball over and got us into a hole, and we dug ourselves out,” she said. “The last three shots we took in the paint were good shots. We couldn't have asked for better shots and they didn't go. Good players make good shots and we didn't make any of those tonight.”
After back and fourth baskets to end the third quarter, WSU guard Chelsea Welch was able to hit a jumper at the buzzer to end the quarter, putting WSU ahead 49-48 heading to the final 10 minutes.
Nearing the five minute mark of the final quarter, CMU was down by five when sophomore forward Reyna Frost got a pair of offensive rebounds.
On the first rebound, she got a put back bucket of her own and then on the second rebound she found sophomore guard Presley Hudson who nailed a triple to tie the game at 59 with 5:26 remaining.
The Raiders regained the lead with a pair of free throws, but the Chippewas went on a 6-0 run to led 64-61 with two minutes to play.
The Chippewas would go scoreless the rest of the way, missing their final four shots of the contest, including the game-tying basket as time expired.
Guevara said her team was not satisfied with the way the season ended because they had bigger aspirations heading into postseason play.
“Everyone is very disappointed," she said. "The last two games we played are not how champions play, and we didn't play like champions. That is what is very frustrating, to end the season the way we did with how we played all year. It just doesn't seem right.”
CMU opened the game with a solid offensive effort and led 7-3, but went ice cold to finish the first quarter. WSU ended the quarter on a 17-4 run, highlighted by a pair of Welch 3-pointers that put the Raiders ahead 20-11 heading into the second quarter.
After a stagnant start to the second quarter for both teams, the Chippewas went on a 8-2 run to tighten the score up at 33-28 heading into halftime.
CMU turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, with six of those coming in the first five minutes of the first quarter. WSU had two turnovers in the opening half, but the Chippewas out-rebounded the Raiders 21-12 in the first half, which kept them in the game.
To open the second half, the Raiders opened with a couple of jump shots until Breen tried to wake up her team.
The Woodhaven native nailed a pair of triples to lead the Chippewas on a 8-0 run that gave CMU its first lead since the opening two minutes at 40-37.
However, the Raiders answered CMU's run with two 3-pointers to put them back ahead 43-42 with 5:50 left in the third quarter. The game would remain close the rest of the way.
CMU shot 43 percent from the field and 31 percent (5-for-16) from 3-point distance, but turned the ball over 15 times on the night. CMU won the rebounding battle 40-30.
Hudson was the only other player to score in double-figures for the Chippewas with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting while adding three assists.
Welch finished with a game-high 21 points and Symone Simmons was right behind her with 20 points for Wright State.
The Chippewas went 15-1 at home setting a program record for most home wins in a season and won their first MAC regular season title in 32 seasons.
CMU will have to replace senior forwards Jewel Cotton and Jasmine Harris next season. Cotton was selected to the All-MAC third team this season. The Chippewas will return 12 players for the 2017-18 campaign.