Women's basketball responds, downs Kent State

Sophomore guard Micaela Kelly dribbles around a defender during a game against Miami of Ohio at Mcguirk Arena on Wednesday, Jan 16.

Senior star Presley Hudson sat out the entire fourth quarter with four fouls, but the Central Michigan women's basketball team picked up successful minutes from a trio of bench players to help bounce back in Mid-American Conference play.

Just three days ago, the Chippewas (13-4, 4-1 MAC) fell 70-67 to Miami (Ohio) at McGuirk Arena. In dire need of recovery, coach Sue Guevara's group was faced with a tough Kent State team.

Down 36-33 at halftime, CMU outscored the Golden Flashes (10-6, 3-2 MAC) in the second half by 10 points to help secure an 82-75 victory on Jan. 19 at Memorial Athletic Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio.

Hudson, the leading scorer for her team, was held to 29 minutes. Senior forward Reyna Frost, who usually averages a double-double, was held to 17 points and eight rebounds in just 31 minutes.

With Hudson and Frost battling foul trouble, reserves Jaeda Robinson, Gabrielle Bird and Kyra Bussell stepped up.

Bussell, a sophomore forward, poured in 15 points while shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line. Robinson gave the Chippewas three points and four rebounds 19 minutes, while Bird chipped in two points, three rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes of action.

"Those three came in and did a great job for us," Guevara said. "To see them play and get some minutes and produce on both ends of the floor, I'm really happy for them."

Sophomore guard Micaela Kelly led the Chippewas in scoring with 20 points. She also contributed seven rebounds and three assists. Kelly played all 40 minutes despite finishing with four fouls.

With 5:19 remaining in the first half, a layup from freshman guard Asiah Dingle kicked off a 16-13 run for the Golden Flashes to give coach Todd Starkey's group a three-point edge at the break. 

Hudson opened the third quarter with a jumper in the paint to cut CMU's deficit to one point, but it wasn't until the 4:52 mark that the Chippewas began pulling away.

With her 18 points on Saturday, Hudson improved her career scoring total to 1,988 points. She only needs 19 more to become the program leader. The top spot is currently held by Crystal Bradford, who scored 2,006 from 2011-15.

Four combined baskets from Hudson and Frost gave the CMU momentum to help extend its edge to seven points near the end of the third, but Kent State remained relentless. Kent State redshirt junior guard Megan Carter's floater in the paint trimmed its deficit back down to two points before the fourth.

Sophomore guard Maddy Watters delivered a 3-pointer, opening the floodgates for a 24-12 run that gave CMU an 81-67 lead with 1:17 to play.

Despite late baskets from the Golden Flashes, the Chippewas managed to prevail for a bounce-back win on the road. CMU also outrebounded Starkey's team, 37-32.

Leading the way for Kent State was Carter, scoring 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field. She was held to going 1-for-5 from downtown. Dingle added 19 points, while 6-foot-2 freshman forward Lindsey Thall chipped in seven points and eight rebounds.

Up Next

Central Michigan travels to Toledo for a conference battle at 7 p.m. Jan. 23. The Rockets are 11-5 overall and 3-2 in the MAC.