Frost scores career-high 39 in Chippewas' win over Huskies
Where Central Michigan has Presley Hudson, Northern Illinois has Mikayla Voigt.
The pair of guards, both near the top of the Mid-American Conference in scoring, squared off on Feb. 23 at McGuirk Arena.
Coming into the game, Hudson threw in 21 points per game, and Voigt averaged 19.8. Hudson won the battle, and it wasn't even close.
The 5-foot-6 guard's defense paced the Chippewas (20-6, 11-3 MAC) to a 76-52 victory over the Huskies (16-10, 8-6 MAC).
But ultimately, it was senior forward Reyna Frost's season-high 39-point performance that was key in handing coach Sue Guevara's group the win.
"There's no substitute for experience," Guevara said. "We've been rocking it for four years. You can see the consistency and our team is reaping the benefits."
Frost notched her 23rd double-double of the season by logging 39 points and 13 rebounds. Of CMU's 23 points in the third quarter, the 6-foot forward had 16. For the game, she made 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
Just 10 days ago, on Feb. 13, Frost scored 33 points against Western Michigan for her now-former career-high. Against Northern Illinois, she snapped her own record.
"In the second half, our guards were really penetrating, and they (NIU) were just leaving me open," Frost said. "A lot of credit goes to them for finding me."
Hudson chipped in 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Sophomore guard Micaela Kelly posted 12 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for CMU.
Shutting down Voigt
Hudson put the clamps on Voigt, and she struggled to keep up with the high intensity on both ends of the floor. Time and time again, Hudson executed a dazzling crossover, attacked the basket and scored. For Voigt, she often attempted to drive but Hudson appeared, stopping her short of the net.
The pair of opposing guards exchanged 3-pointers throughout the first five minutes of the game. After that, Voigt was unable to find points until the 5:37 mark in the third quarter.
Hudson, meanwhile, strung together 14-straight points in the marquee matchup.
"We were switching one through five, so when you have the length of Reyna or Jahari (Smith) on her, it's tough for her to get a shot off," Guevara said. "We did a good job of chasing her and containing her."
With 4:22 remaining in the first quarter, Frost swished a 3-pointer and, on the next offensive possession, Hudson did the same to go ahead 17-9. The Chippewas made 11-of-30 3-pointers in the contest.
"I think that was my best 3-point shooting game," Frost said. "My coaches give me confidence and tell me to shoot it."
The Chippewas took full control near the end of the second half. Northern Illinois, down by 16 points, turned to Voigt for the final shot before heading to the locker room.
Looking for an opening to the basket, Voigt dribbled right and was forced to attempt a poor shot due to Hudson's defense. CMU maintained momentum into the second half while holding Voigt to three points on 1-of-9 shooting through the first 20 minutes.
Second half run
Guevara's group opened the second half on an 8-2 run and quickly turned it into a 52-32 margin by the midway point of the third quarter.
Sophomore forward Kyra Bussell tried to throw a lob pass to Frost underneath, but the ball flew out of bounds. Even with a 20-point edge, Guevara responded by stomping her feet – twice.
"We had 25 assists to 12 turnovers, I think that's pretty good," Guevara said. "But I still think we can cut down some of our turnovers."
Frost scored 11-straight points to cap off the third quarter, essentially sealing the game for the Chippewas, ahead 63-35 heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
With 6:23 remaining, Voigt missed three-straight shots underneath the basket, of which two were blocked by Frost and freshman center Jahari Smith. Voigt, unable to score, fell to the ground after her final attempt.
She left the court limping and finished the game with seven points, going 2-of-13 from the field.
Frost put the nail in the coffin with 80 seconds left, as she delivered back-to-back steal and scores for the Chippewas. She explained the goal was to finish with energy, something Frost said went dry for a few minutes before her steals.
"I was just trying to play hard," Frost said. "The game wasn't over yet."
The Chippewas travel to Ball State for a 7 p.m. Feb. 27 matchup at Worthen Arena. The Cardinals are 7-18 overall and 2-11 in the MAC.
"Now, we're really understanding what we need to get better at," Frost said. "We aren't taking teams lightly. We know that every game is a big game to get ready and try to throw the first punch."