Junior guard Hudson builds confidence as 'go-to' scorer for women's basketball


Junior guard Presley Hudson poses for a portrait on Nov. 25 in McGuirk Arena.

For opponents facing the 2017-2018 Central Michigan women's basketball team, Sue Guevara has a warning: if you don't stop Presley Hudson, you won't beat CMU. 

"She's our go-to, there's no doubt about it," the head coach said. "I think she knows that Central Michigan women's basketball goes as Presley Hudson goes."

Through the first seven games, the Wayland junior has been an offensive force for the defending Mid-American Conference regular season champions. 

Hudson is quick to credit her own success to the play of the teammates around her and presenting opportunities to score.

"(Micaela Kelly) does a good job at driving (the lane) and kicking out to me," Hudson said. "Being able to contain not just me, but all of us as one team is difficult because on any given night. One player can go off so it's hard to guard all five of us."

CMU (6-1) is off to its best start under a Guevara-led team and its best overall start since the 2005-2006 team, which opened 6-0. 

The Chippewas' success is largely due to Hudson's consistent dominant performances that Guevara believes has reformed the CMU women's basketball program. 

"When she came here, she changed the culture of our team," Guevara said. "Our players realize how much time she puts in, how she has earned what she has and they want to put the time in."

Hudson can score, from anywhere

Hudson's 21.7 points per game is a team high and stands atop the MAC. From 3-point range, she leads the conference with 33 field goals, boasting 48.5 percent from beyond the arc. That's the 29th best in the country.

"I have a lot of confidence (shooting from 3-point range)," Hudson said. "I practice that almost every day. You've got to shoot those in practice if you're going to shoot them in the game and that what I do."

At the free throw line, Hudson is 29-of-29 this season from the charity stripe. 

Just weeks ago against Purdue, Hudson notched her 1,000th career point. In just just three short seasons, the junior has climbed to 18th on the CMU women's basketball all-time career scoring list, a feat she had set her eyes on from day one.

"That was my goal coming in here," Hudson said. "I always like to write down my goals, and that was one of them, trying to be one of the best players to ever play here."

Guevara believes the hardest thing about defending the 5-foot-6 guard is her ability to knock down shots from virtually anywhere on the court. This forces opponents to respect the fact all facets of her game and focus on her at all times. 

"As soon as she crosses half court, she can shoot it," Guevara said. "To stop Presley Hudson, you've got to be physical with her, you can't let her touch the ball."

Coach's confidence

For Guevara, the veteran coach has nothing but the utmost confidence in Hudson's abilities since the day she set foot on the court. She's given Hudson the green light for otherwise ridiculous shot selections.

"I've always had confidence in Presley," Guevara said. "When Presley was a freshman coming in, I didn't care if she was at half court and shot the ball."

The all-time winningest CMU women's basketball coach understood just how ludicrous that statement may sound. However, after seeing the work ethic of Hudson, Guevara was sold. 

"I say that and people look at me like I'm crazy, but you don't now how much time she puts in," Guevara said. "She has earned the right to shoot that ball whenever she wants, wherever she is at."

Hudson said that's why she came to CMU. 

"It feels good, that's why I came here because I knew she had so much confidence in me," Hudson said. "In high school she used to say 'I wish I could have you here already'. She just built that confidence in me and that helps give me confidence as well."