CMU and WMU rivalry brings out emotions, implications for program
KALAMAZOO - As time in the first quarter was winding down, Central Michigan women's basketball put Western Michigan in a full-court trap and used hustle to force a turnover.
Sophomore guard Micaela Kelly scooped up the loose ball and scored a tough layup to put the Chippewas further ahead in the opening frame. CMU dominated the majority of the game and left Read Fieldhouse with a 87-53 victory over the Broncos.
That hustle is what the CMU and WMU rivalry is all about.
WMU is 2-8 in the Mid-American Conference, and the Chippewas lead the Mid-American Conference Western Division with a 8-3 record. Despite the score being widespread, the two teams played just about as close as they could have.
Throughout most of the first half, the Chippewas dominated their rival. However, the Broncos would not go away quietly.
CMU took a 30-15 lead with star senior Reyna Frost alone outscoring WMU by scoring 16 of her own points in the first 10 minutes. The Chippewas led by as many as 17 in the first half. Frost would end up notching a career-high 33 points in her final trip to Read Fieldhouse.
Midway through the second quarter, the Broncos started to edge closer. At one point they knocked the deficit down to 12.
The WMu bench began to erupt with noise as they could smell a comeback in the works.
CMU didn't let that happen as they pushed right back and would take a 52-33 lead into the break. The Chippewas were showing emotion from the bench with every bucket they made to extend the lead.
It was the intensity from each side as the first half wound down and the second half began that had this rivalry live up to the hype.
Both teams hustled for every single loose ball, which usually wound up in a dog-pile to earn a held ball. The intensity made this game seem like it was "Super Bowl Wednesday" as CMU head coach Sue Guevara labeled it.
Guevara is now 20-6 all-time against the Broncos and the rivalry isn't just on the floor. According to the 12th-year head coach, much of the rivalry comes from the recruiting side of the game.
"We have kids on our team that Western was recruiting and they have kids that we were recruiting," Guevara said. "Kids want to come to a winning program. Winning the games against Western and Eastern (Michigan) for Michigan kids, that's what it comes down to."
The 105th meeting of the Chippewas and the Broncos is set for Mar. 6 with tip off coming at 7 p.m. in McGuirk Arena. It's the second-to-last game of the regular season for both teams.
Regardless of the time or place, you can count on this rivalry living up to something more than just a game