Women's basketball enters 50th season with MAC Tournament championship goals
While celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary, Central Michigan women’s basketball is also looking to earn a second consecutive Mid-American Conference title for the first time since 1983.
In head coach Sue Guevara’s 10th season, the Chippewas are picked to win the MAC West Division, the regular-season championship and the MAC tournament after a poll of league coaches on Oct. 25.
“We’re really focused on the process,” Guevara said. “Finishing the play, making sure were hustling, doing what were suppose to do and outcomes will come.”
After winning the division and the conference’s regular season (23-9, 15-3 MAC) crown last year, CMU fell short of a tournament title and a NCAA Tournament appearance after falling to rival Western Michigan in the first game of the MAC Tournament.
In 2017-18, “Team 50” is looking to build on last season’s success and avenge its tournament loss.
“I expect us to go further than last year,” said senior forward Tinara Moore. “(We expect to) win the MAC of course, then the (MAC) Tournament and then get into the NCAA Tournament.”
Moore and junior guard Presley Hudson headline a roster that returns four starters from last season. Both Moore and Hudson were named to the Preseason All-MAC West Team after First Team All-MAC selections during the 2016-17 campaign.
Moore was also named the 2016-17 MAC Defensive Player of the Year after setting a program record and leading the conference with 64 blocks. More was equally impressive on the offensive end, averaging 16.2 points per game and shooting 53 percent from the field.
Hudson led the Chippewas in scoring last season with 16.8 points per game. She finished the season fourth nationally and first in the MAC with a 92.6 (100-of-108) free-throw percentage, which set a single-season program record.
Hudson also tied a CMU season record with 156 assists and set a program single-game record with a career-high 43 points against Ball State.
Even after receiving all the accolades, Hudson continued to work hard in the offseason and improve her game.
“I’ve just kept putting hours in the gym. That’s what you have to do to get better,” Hudson said. “Going game speed at everything you’re doing and going as hard as you can.”
The team isn’t complacent with its success last year, Guevara said. Several players in addition to Hudson have worked to improve over the summer.
“Quite a few (players this season) have been working on their shots, their ball handling, their quickness, agility,” Guevara said. “We didn’t finish plays last year and that’s why our season got cut earlier than expected. This team has a really good mental mindset to go further.”
While the Chippewas are eager to return to the court, Guevara said the program is about more than wins and losses.
“This team is about the academics,” Guevara said. “This team is about the community. This team is about the university. I think they’re really good (representatives) of this university.”
Though CMU has had 50 different teams, Guevara and the program treat each team like one big family.
“I love these players and the alumni that have came back. This really is a family,” Guevara said. “There is an interest in each other and an interest in our program and making sure it succeeds.”
Guevara has been a coach in the Big Ten and SEC, including stops at Michigan and Michigan State. However, her home remains in Mount Pleasant with the family-type atmosphere.
“This program means everything to me,” Guevara said. “This is a great place and I really love being here. I love this program.”
CMU tips off its season against Purdue at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in McGuirk Arena.