Thirteen days later, women's basketball is back against Vanderbilt


Central Michigan women's basketball head coach Sue Guevara yells during practice on March 23 at Spokane Arena.

Thirteen days separate Central Michigan women's basketball from its revenge-filled win against Quinnipiac and upcoming game against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Chippewas (7-1) find themselves back on the court against the Commodores (4-5) after a long week of final exams at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at Memorial Gymnasium.

Through nine games this season, Vanderbilt has faltered against North Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina State, Connecticut and Kansas State.

CMU, despite the break, is coming off six-straight wins – taking down Western Kentucky, UCF, Virginia, Chattanooga, Iona and Quinnipiac. Head coach Sue Guevara's group is ranked No. 5 in the Mid-Major Top 25 ranking.

"Vanderbilt is big and they can shoot it," Guevara said.

One year ago, CMU took down Vanderbilt, 92-75, in Mount Pleasant. It was the first meeting between the two in program history. In the win, Cassie Breen, who has since graduated, went 7-of-14 from the 3-point line for a game-high 31 points. Now-senior guard Presley Hudson chipped in 21 and six assists.

"We beat them here last year, so I'm sure they want to protect their home court," Guevara said.

Breaking the CMU all-time 3-point record on Nov. 12, Hudson has an opportunity to take the career 3-point lead in the Mid-American Conference. Once she knocks down two more, the point guard will take over the top spot.

Guevara said the post play of sophomore Kyra Bussell and freshman Jahari Smith have improved, as Bussell is averaging 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game off the bench. 

"For her to be coming into her own right now is great," Guevara said of Bussell. "She doesn't have to do a whole lot more, just keep consistency.

"Look at who we have left – SEC, ACC, ACC and Tulane, who is a really good Conference USA team."

Scouting Vanderbilt

The Commodores have ended on the victorious side of the result in three of their last four games. Junior Marielle Fasoula paces the team with 15.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

Against CMU a season ago, Cierra Walker went 3-for-4 from the 3-point line and finished with 11 points. This campaign, she's doing more of the same – making 39.4 percent of her triple attempts and averaging 13.8 points per game.

Vanderbilt's floor at Memorial Gymnasium is unique, to say the least.

The arena features a raised court and benches on the baseline, unlike most which have the team benches on the sidelines. Throughout the past week of practice, Guevara said her coaching staff practiced calling plays from the baseline at McGuirk Arena.

Guevara said she might open the game by calling CMU's first five plays in the pregame huddle, rather than shout down the length of the court.

"We're going to prep it," Guevara said. "I've been there, so I know what it's like, but our kids have never done it. That's a little different." 

Following its game against Vanderbilt, CMU takes on No. 4 Louisville at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at McGuirk Arena.  Then, Guevara's group travels to take part in the Miami Holiday Classic against Tulane and Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 29-30, respectively. The Hurricanes are ranked No. 24 in the nation.

"It's a nice springboard going into conference play," Guevara said. "These next four are very, very difficult, but we've already played pretty difficult.

"We are embracing the challenge."