Women’s basketball receives Sweet 16 rings, previews team in scrimmage

Head coach Sue Guevera is introduced as she receives her MAC championship ring on Oct. 20 at McGuirk Arena.

The historic Central Michigan women's basketball team celebrated a ring ceremony to commemorate the Mid-American Conference championship and journey to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 before the Maroon and Gold preseason scrimmage Saturday.

Head coach Sue Guevara led her team to a 30-5 overall record and 17-1 mark in the MAC, pacing the Chippewas to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in the 2017-18 season. A banner will be unveiled in McGuirk Arena on Nov. 8 before the season opener against Oakland University. 

“It’s really pretty,” Guevara said of the Sweet 16 ring. “All women like bling. But it’s a lot of hard work. For our freshman who don’t have a ring, it’s something for them to look forward to.”

The rings have been passed out, and the 2017-18 season is officially behind the Chippewas. Guevara said the real battle is now underway. 

“This part is over,” Guevara said, pointing to her Sweet 16 ring. “I’m excited for the depth we have.”

Senior guard Presley Hudson warm ups for the maroon and gold scrimmage on Oct. 20 in McGuirk Arena

Team Maroon included Micaela Kelly, Maddy Watters, Anika Weekes, Emari Bell, Annie Yost, Aaliah Hill, MacKenna Kelly and Kyra Bussell. As for Team Gold, it was controlled by Presley Hudson, Reyna Frost, Jaeda Robinson, Kalle Martinez, Samantha Robinson, Jahari Smith and Gabrielle Bird.

The teams were split evenly for the Maroon vs. Gold scrimmage. When Team 51 took on the CMU women’s basketball alumni in the second half of the event, fans received a taste of the starting five for the first time. 

Maroon vs. Gold

Hill opened the scoring for Team Maroon in the annual scrimmage. With 22 seconds left in the 10-minute first quarter, Hudson knocked down a step-back 3-pointer to hand Team Gold a 19-13 edge at the break. 

“It’s been a long time,” Hudson said. “Everyone got to see what we have in store. We are just going to keep getting better.”

Bussell, the replacement for star forward Tinara Moore, scored her first two points with under a minute remaining in the second quarter. 

After two quarters of play, the game was called. Team Gold picked up a 29-23 victory behind 13 points on three 3-pointers from Hudson and four from Frost. 

“Three-pointers are going to happen,” Hudson said. “If I’m open, I’m going to shoot it.”

Watters, opposing Hudson, scored three points on a shot from beyond the arc. 

Guevara has spoken highly of Weekes, even comparing her to the type of player Frost was as a freshman. The Team Maroon guard scored her two points on a shot clock buzzer beater with 5:43 to play in the second quarter. 

Team 51 vs. CMU WBB Alumni

Returning to play for CMU women’s basketball alumni were Jewel Cotton, Brandi Baker, Ree Ree Turner, Nikki DiGuilio, Taylor Johnson, Chelsea Lynn, Jess Green and Nikki Thompkins. 

The Chippewa starters were Hudson, Kelly, Bird, Frost and Bussell.

Cotton, who played for Team 49 in 2016-17, drove the basketball, put a spin move on her defender and scored for Team Alumni for the most impressive play of the scrimmage.

Sophomore guard Micaela Kelly is blocked by a CMU basketball alum on Oct. 20 at McGuirk Arena.

However, Team 51 secured a 45-21 victory and nearly everyone was involved. Kelly paced the offense with three 3-pointers and 11 total points. Frost was right behind her, scoring eight points and registering a handful of rebounds.

“They were goofing around, but it was fun,” Hudson said of Team Alumni. “I know all of them, so that makes it better. Some of them come to practice, so they make us better.” 

On Frost’s second basket against the Team Alumni came courtesy of a spot-on pass from Bussell, who had two points of her own. 

The women’s basketball team plays a closed scrimmage against Michigan on Oct. 27 and an exhibition against Northwood on Nov. 1 before opening the regular season against Oakland University on Nov. 8 at McGuirk Arena. 

President Robert Davies told Guevara he wants two things from student athletes – diplomas and rings. In her 12th season as coach, she hopes to repeat the ring ceremony at next year’s Maroon and Gold Scrimmage.  

“Next year, it will be your turn,” Guevara told Davies.