Head coach Sue Guevara avoids ‘déjà vu’ in MAC Tournament quarterfinals


Freshman forward Kyra Bussell cheers during the basketball game against Eastern Michigan on March 7 at Quicken Loans Arena. 

One year ago, the Central Michigan women’s basketball team fell in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals to in-state rival Western Michigan. 

The 2018 MAC Tournament is a different story.

After taking a 35-21 halftime lead, No. 1 CMU had its edge trimmed to one point with 1:02 remaining in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals. The Chippewas (26-4, 18-1 MAC) ended up earning a 67-64 victory over No. 9 Eastern Michigan on March 7 at Quicken Loans Arena. 

“We are farther than we were last year and that’s something we talked about,” said CMU head coach Sue Guevara. 

“It’s March," she said. "It’s survive and advance. Eastern Michigan gave us everything we almost didn’t handle. I’m just glad this one is over and we can rest.” 

In the 2016-17 season, the No. 1-ranked Chippewas were upset by No. 8 Western Michigan, 67-63, in the quarterfinal game. In the game, CMU earned an early lead but allowed WMU to come back, just as the Chippewas did against EMU.  

“For a second, in my mind, I was thinking déjà vu, déjà vu,” Guevara said. “We just had to get our stops because we were struggling so bad offensively. Cassie and Reyna just told everyone to get a hand up and not foul. That’s them talking in the huddle.”

EMU redshirt junior Danielle Minott put tons of pressure on the Chippewas, scoring 23 of her 27 points in the second half. She knocked down multiple triples toward the end of the game to bring the Eagles a play away from an upset. 

“All along, I keep talking about how we’ve been number one all season,” Guevara said. “We’ve played with the pressure on us all season long, but I don’t think we handled it well, especially in certain times.”

CMU senior forward Tinara Moore sat out for most of the second quarter with a right knee injury and junior guard Presley Hudson fouled out with 14.7 seconds left in the game. The duo combined for 27 points. 

“I thought we played tight,” Guevara said. “For Presley and Tinara to play the way they did, I didn’t think it was their best game but thank gosh we have other players. 

“We have one more game to play. We just have to survive and advance.”