Ring ceremony headlines Maroon and Gold Scrimmage
Once the rings are distributed, coach Sue Guevara wants to quit talking about the past. But the past was so sweet.
A 30-5 overall record and 17-1 Mid-American Conference mark paced the Central Michigan women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in the 2017-18 season.
At the annual Maroon and Gold Scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Oct. 20 in McGuirk Arena, the Chippewas will be honored with a ring ceremony before giving fans a sneak peek at Team 51. CMU will receive rings for its MAC title and Sweet 16 appearance.
Despite the excitement of the upcoming ring ceremony, Guevara is ready to move on and focus on the 2018-19 season.
“It’s still surreal to me,” Guevara said. “Our rings are so pretty. You look at them and say, ‘Damn, we were in the Sweet Sixteen, just two wins away from the Final Four.’”
Through the triumphs of last season, Guevara understands a return to the NCAA Tournament is attainable, but it won’t be easy.
Frost, who led CMU with 416 rebounds in 2017-18, is excited about the rings but even more stoked for repeat results this time around.
“We want to get better every year,” Frost said. “We want to win the conference again and are looking to improve.”
For the past three years, Hudson has run Guevara's offense as the point guard. Her goal coming to CMU from Wayland Union High School was to be a game changer. She hopes to make even more of a mark this upcoming season.
“My goal was to bring a team to the NCAA Tournament,” Hudson said. “I wanted to make history to make my mark here.”
As for the annual scrimmage, the Chippewas brought in three freshmen – guard Anika Weekes, forward Emari Bell, forward Samantha Robinson and center Jahari Smith.
Guevara said Smith is one of the top five most consistent players in practice, along with Frost, Hudson, Micaela Kelly and Kyra Bussell. Meanwhile, Robinson reminds the 12th-year head coach of a younger version of Frost.
“Sam is very similar to what Reyna was as a freshman,” Guevara explained. “She’s athletic, can get up and down the court and will rebound. (Sam) has a demeanor like Reyna, but Reyna was always a dog going after the bone.”
Replacing the productivity of forward Tinara Moore and guard Cassie Breen, two starting senior, is a challenge. A year ago, Moore averaged 19.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. Breen shot 38.8 percent from 3-point range, averaging 12.1 points per game.
To replace Breen, a corner 3-point threat, Guevara is looking to sophomore Maddy Watters, junior Gabrielle Bird and sophomore Sophia Karasinski.
On her consistency chart, Guevara said Watters, Bird and Karasinski are right behind the first five. Of the entire team, Watters has been the sixth-most consistent player. Junior MacKenna Kelly is also emerging.
Guevara knows winning isn’t easy, but she’s ready to help the Chippewas get back to the NCAA Tournament and make it further than the 2017-18 season.
After Saturday’s ring ceremony, the focus will be turned to CMU’s exhibition on Nov. 1 against Northwood University.
“After those rings are done, it’s over,” Guevara said. “Our leaders preach it and believe it.”