Women's basketball keeps 'championship game' mentality heading into Ball State matchup
Early in February, the Central Michigan women's basketball team took down Ball State by nearly 20 points. The Cardinals, at the time, were 2-6 in Mid-American Conference play.
Now, coach Brady Sallee's group is 2-12, dropping six-straight since that Feb. 6 drubbing to the Chippewas.
Meanwhile, the Guevara-led CMU program sits high atop the MAC West Division at 20-6 overall and 11-3 in conference.
But that doesn't mean the Feb. 27 meeting at Worthen Arena isn't viewed as a championship game.
"Every game is a championship game," said senior guard Presley Hudson. "What we have to do is nothing different from what we've done all season. Preparation is key for what we want to do."
Hudson, in her final year for the Chippewas, averages 20.9 points per game, 5.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds. She's converted on 91-of-230 3-pointers.
The last time out against Ball State, Hudson tossed in 21 points and nine assists on 7-of-13 shooting from the field.
Senior forward Reyna Frost has racked up nine MAC West Division Player of the Week awards, including five-straight.
In a 76-52 victory at McGuirk Arena over Northern Illinois on Feb. 23, Frost scored a career-high 39 points, which is the third-highest total of any player in CMU women's basketball history. She ranked third in the nation with 23 double-doubles this season.
However, Frost isn't focused on the past. She's looking forward to a heated matchup with 6-foot-1 sophomore forward Oshlynn Brown, who tallied 18 points against the Chippewas in early February.
"They don't have a true point guard, but they do have a pretty good big inside," Frost said of Brown. "It'll be key that we play her well and get rebounds. We have to follow our defensive plan."
The one aspect of Brown's game that stands out to Frost is her physicality, something the Chippewas don't often see underneath the basket in the MAC.
Freshman center Jahari Smith, who Frost said is learning the need to finish a college basketball season strong, is expected to also play a colossal role in containing Brown near the hoop.
Scouting Ball State
Besides Brown, a member of the All-MAC Freshman Team for her efforts in the 2017-18 season, CMU is focused on containing freshman forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir. Even though Dis Agustsdottir is listed as a freshman, her ball-handling skills are superb for a 6-foot newbie to the collegiate ranks.
"She can flat out play," Guevara said. "She can score in a variety of different ways."
Dis Agustsdottir, a native of Iceland, shoots 43.1 percent from the 3-point range, logging 8.8 points per game and 4.3 rebounds. Brown averages 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds.
Frost said, from viewing film, she's noticed Sallee's got his team to play with more intensity. Her goal for the game is to be the leading rebounder.
"I want to make sure I come out as the top rebounder and make sure no other team outrebounds me," Frost said. "I like physical games. It's going to be fun."
The game between CMU and Ball State tips off at 7 p.m. from Worthen Arena.
"Obviously they are going to want a piece of us because we got them earlier, and now we are going to their home floor," Frost said.
The Chippewas travel to Eastern Michigan for a 2 p.m. March 2 battle against the Eagles (12-13, 5-9 MAC) before finishing out the 2018-19 regular season against Western Michigan (9-16, 3-11 MAC) and Toledo (16-9, 8-6 MAC).