Fans react to women's basketball's MAC quarterfinal victory


Central Michigan fans cheer during the basketball game against Eastern Michigan on March 7 at Quicken Loans Arena. 

It was a rollercoaster of emotions for parents and fans of the Central Michigan women's basketball team as CMU lost a 21-point lead in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. 

As the fourth quarter progressed, the comeback effort Eastern Michigan mounted began to become reminiscent of the Chippewas' 67-63 loss to Western Michigan in the quarterfinals last year.

CMU fans in attendance today and for last year's quarterfinals remember that feeling all too well.

"We were extremely disappointed," said Pam Lavender, a CMU graduate and Dewitt native. "But that's the tournament, we were supposed to win it all and Western came along and took them out."

Robert Johns, a contract engineer at CMU, and his wife Sue were also in attendance for the WMU game last year. The Johns were very surprised by the upset. 

"We drove down on the first day, saw the game, and turned around and drove home," Sue said. "We hope to stay through Saturday this time."

However, it's a new year and "Team 50" is a different team. On the back of some clutch late-game free throws by junior Reyna Frost, CMU pulled out a 67-64 victory in the quarterfinal round.

"We're pleased that we're moving on, without a doubt," said Steve Breen, father of senior Cassie Breen and native of Woodhaven. 

Early on in the first quarter, fans and parents of CMU had a short scare as the MAC Player of the Year Tinara Moore hit her right knee on the hardwood. The senior was taken out of the game for a short time. She later returned, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds.

"I wasn't sure what (the injury) was," Johns said. "Kyra (Bussell) can give them some good minutes, but it's not like Tinara."

While CMU won, the Breen family hopes to see better play in the semifinals.

"I don't care who they play," Steve said. "The girls just need to quit turning the ball over."

CMU will have one day of rest before returning to play the fourth-seeded Miami (21-9, 12-6 MAC) at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on March 9. 

"They are resilient," said Zann, Cassie's mother. "Hopefully that resiliency hangs in there and keeps plugging."