Late game heroics power women's basketball past Western Michigan
For nearly 40 minutes on Saturday afternoon's Mid-American Conference West division showdown against Western Michigan, Cassie Breen wasn't playing like Cassie Breen.
Averaging 12.4 points per game, the senior poses a constant threat on the perimeter, but as the fourth quarter slowly ticked away, Breen had yet to record a single point with 0-8 shooting from the field.
It took all of 54 seconds to erase that.
Down 66-68 with under a minute to play in the game, Breen launched her fourth three point attempt of the night and drained it to go ahead by a point, a lead WMU wouldn't manage to take back as CMU defeated its in-state rival 74-70.
"We beat a good team today," said head coach Sue Guevara. "The only thing we talk about is protecting home court. This is our house, we protect the C. We were able to protect the C today.
After missing shot after shot, Breen credited her ability to refocus to being benched, allowing her to cheer and coach her team from the sidelines.
"Cheering on the bench, telling them to get their hands up, that stuff really brought me back," Breen said. "There's more (to the game) than scoring, it's being a team player and a helper on the bench."
Senior Tinara Moore was another notable Chippewa starter who spent significant time on the bench after getting into early foul trouble in the first quarter. The all-time blocks leader sat from the 4:39 mark of the first quarter until the start of the second half, forcing head coach Sue Guevara to play with a lineup that relies heavily on starters.
"It was frustrating, but I knew I had to be there for my teammates," said senior Tinara Moore. "For the five that were on the court, I had to call out what I saw from the bench and cheer for my teammates."
Senior Aleah Swary, sophomore Gabrielle Bird and freshmen Kyra Bussel and Maddy Waters each saw time against the Broncos. Swary picked up 5 points while Bussel grabbed 4 rebounds. Despite being outscored by the WMU bench, Guevara emphasized her bench was doing the little things well.
"That's four rebounds that Tinara didn't have, but she (Bussel) was able to go in and make a difference," Guevara said. "Our bench was doing some little things that really helped while our starters were on the bench."
Leading the way for CMU in scoring was freshman Micaela Kelly with 19 points and five assists along with junior Presley Hudson's 18 points and Moore's 17 points.
Now a perfect 8-0 in the MAC, the 16-3 Central Michigan women's basketball team remains the the only undefeated team in the conference.
In the second of a short two-game home stand, CMU hosts Buffalo at 7 p.m on January 31 in McGuirk Arena. The Bulls currently hold the second best record in the conference and sit atop the MAC east division with a 7-1 record.