Women's basketball upsets No. 24 Miami, 90-80

Senior forward Reyna Frost goes for a lay-up on Dec. 20 at McGuirk Arena.

Ahead by one point with 9:06 left, sophomore guard Maddy Watters found the bottom of the net on a 3-pointer for a 65-61 edge in favor of the Central Michigan women's basketball team.

On CMU's next offensive possession, senior forward Reyna Frost made a 3-pointer of her own for a seven-point lead.

Using the momentum from Watters and Frost's made attempts from downtown, the Chippewas (9-3) secured a 90-80 upset victory over No. 24-ranked Miami (FL) on Dec. 30 in the Miami Holiday Classic.

Coach Sue Guevara's group held a three-point advantage with 32 seconds left when senior guard Presley Hudson secured the win with four-straight free throws.

"When you put the work in that those kids put in, it's so nice to see it pay off," Guevara said. 

CMU, fresh off back-to-back losses to No. 3 Louisville and Tulane, was desperate for a victory and came up clutch in the final moments of the game in Coral Gables, Florida.

Frost's vital 3-pointer with 7:56 left in the contest helped boost her total to 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Watters was 4-of-7 from downtown for 14 points.

The Hurricanes (12-3) went up 14-6 on a layup from senior forward Beatrice Mompremier with 6:34 to play in the first quarter. CMU led on its first offensive possession thanks to a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Micaela Kelly, but the group was unable to get back out in front until nearly seven minutes later.

Once Guevara's group was finally ahead 19-18 with 3:26 remaining in the first on a 3-pointer from Watters, the game turned into a back-and-forth duel between the Chippewas and Hurricanes.

CMU was battled tested in the win due to the height advantage of Miami inside. Coach Katie Meier boasts 6-foot-4 Mompremier and 6-foot-3 senior center Emese Hof in the paint. CMU's Frost responded with a double-double, and sophomore forward Kyra Bussell had eight points and five boards off the bench.

Against Tulane on Dec. 29, CMU fell short by 11 points in its first game of the Miami Holiday Classic. Senior guard Presley Hudson was held to 2-of-13 shooting and 2-of-9 from the 3-point line. At the same time, CMU finished 21-of-75 (28 percent) from the field and 6-of-30 (20 percent) from the 3-point range.

Just one day later, against Miami, the Chippewas shot 30-of-63 (47.6 percent) from the field and 16-of-30 (53.3 percent) from downtown.

Guevara said the difference was simple – "The shots went in."

"Yesterday was our first game after the Christmas break, and we were really rusty," Guevara said of the loss to Tulane. "Our kids came back and give them all the credit. They came in with confidence. Our kids battled.

"In this game, you have to have a short memory."

Hudson finished with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. Kelly registered 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Chippewas return to McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant for a game against Akron at 1 p.m. Jan. 5 to open Mid-American Conference play. Looking past the Zips (9-2), CMU's next three MAC opponents include Ohio, Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio).

CMU has the No. 1 strength of schedule in the MAC and the third-highest RPI. The Chippewas defeated Western Kentucky, Virginia, Quinnipiac and Miami in the nonconference – all NCAA Tournament teams from last season.

"These kind of games, the size and athleticism we faced yesterday and today, is only going to help us when we have to start MAC play this week," Guevara said.

Guevara claimed she packed the nonconference schedule to prepare for the only month that matters to her – March.