Guevara: Our season is not over yet
Sue Guevara knows her team had a bad game at the wrong time — and it cost them a championship title.
The Central Michigan women’s basketball team has had more ups than downs this season, with a final record of 23-8 overall and going 15-3 in Mid-American Conference play.
Despite their impressive record, the No. 1 seeded Chipppewas were bounced in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament by rival No. 9 Western Michigan, ending a run that many thought would result in a conference title and NCAA Tournament bid.
CMU led the entire game until two turnovers in the final minute and a 3-pointer from WMU’s Najee Smith with 11 seconds left to play sent the Chippewas home earlier than expected.
“We need to be able to play a full 40 minutes because we didn't do that against Western,” Guevara said. “We had one of our worst games at a very inopportune time. Our season is not over yet and I told them there are still championships to be won for us moving forward.”
Shot at redemption
The Chippewas will play in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament this week after receiving an automatic bid due to their overall success this season.
The 64-team bracket will be announced between 11:30 p.m. and midnight on Monday and the times for the first-round games will be released Tuesday. CMU is 0-6 in postseason games outside of the MAC Tournament.
“If playing more than just one game in this tournament is what we want to do, we have to put a full game together and take care of the basketball, especially down the stretch,” Guevara said.
While losing to WMU in their first game of the MAC Tournament was disappointing for the Chippewas, a lot of things did go right this season.
The Chippewas finished as MAC regular season champions for the first time in 32 years. CMU won the MAC West Division title for the third time in four seasons and set a program record for most home wins in a single season with 15.
During CMU’s run, Guevara surpassed Donita Davenport for the most wins in CMU history and is one win away from 300 in her career.
Despite not winning the MAC title, Guevara said the season was far from a disappointment.
“I have told (the team) multiple times now, we still did so many good things this season that we can’t forget about,” Guevara said. “Was the loss extremely difficult to handle? Yes, it was. But we still had players making All-MAC teams, and before we lost that game we were cutting down the nets.
“It’s very hard to look back right now because of our ultimate goal being cut short, but we did a lot of good and still have more we can do.”
Junior forward Tinara Moore and sophomore guard Presley Hudson earned All-MAC First Team honors, which was the first time two Chippewas made the team together since 1991.
Moore, a 6-foot-3 junior from Southgate, led the MAC in blocks with a program-record 64. She was named the Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the MAC All-Defensive Team. Moore averages 16.3 points per game, which is good for ninth in the MAC.
Hudson leads the Chippewas with 17.3 points and five assists per game. The Wayland native scored a program record 43 points in a win against Ball State on Jan 11.
Sophomore forward Reyna Frost and senior forward Jewel Cotton were both named to the All-MAC Third Team.
Frost averages 11.1 rebounds per game, which leads the MAC and ranks sixth nationally. Cotton averages 11 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 58.7 percent from the field, which is good for second in the MAC.
CMU lost to Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), 63-55 in the first round of last season's WNIT.