Women's basketball defeats Northeastern in lopsided game

Detroit junior Micaela Kelly shoots a floater against Northeastern Nov. 27 in McGuirk Arena.

Shannon Todd hit a jumper for Northeastern with just under four minutes to play in the second quarter. From that point, the Central Michigan women's basketball team went on a 12-0 run to end the first half with a 13-point lead and never looked back.

The Chippewas (2-3) welcomed Northeastern to McGuirk Arena Wednesday and defeated the Huskies, 79-63.

The game was tightly contested for the first quarter and a half before the Chippewas went on a scoring run to end the second quarter. 

“I though we got off to a little bit of a slow start,” coach Heather Oesterle said after the game. “It was kind of like where’s our energy, but then I thought we picked it up.”

Northeastern (0-6) also struggled to compete with the size of CMU as the game progressed. 

The size advantage allowed Oesterle to begin the third quarter by moving the ball down low to sophomore center Jahari Smith and junior forward Kyra Bussell. The two players accounted for the first 9 points of the second half for the Chippewas.

Smith finished with 10 points and five rebounds, but it was Bussell who ended up being the key to the second half. 

Bussell was unable to be stopped following halftime. At the end of the first half, Bussell had 8 points and seven rebounds. She finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.

”I thought we did a good job with the ball inside better in the second half to (Bussell) and then to Jahari,” Oesterle said. “We finally played a game where we had a little bit of a height advantage.It was nice to get that ball inside and for them to score the ball.”

Junior guard Micaela Kelly had an off first half going 1-for-8 from the field in the first half, but she got things going in the second half to end with 14 points and six assists.

Bussell said that Kelly's first half struggles showed that the Chippewas can play good team basketball, especially when one of the team's leaders is off. 

”We have so many weapons that we can use and we play through all of us,” Bussell said when asked about Kelly’s first half performance. “If (Kelly) is having an off night that means Maddy (Watters) is going to go off, we feed off of each other."

The Chippewas won the rebounding battle 37-32, much like they did in their win over Dayton.

Bussell and Kelly led the Chippewas to victory at home – the first home game of the season that hasn’t ended in overtime.

Junior guard Maddy Watters did her part to help the Chippewas, hitting three 3-point shots on her way to 11 points.

Northeastern attempted to pressure its opponent into mistakes in the fourth quarter, but CMU did not succumb to the pressure. The Chippewas solidified their lead and put the game out of reach.

The big lead late in the game allowed Oesterle to get quite a few late-game minutes for her bench players. Every healthy player on the roster had minutes in the fourth quarter.

For the Chippewas, the win was their second of the season. 

Central Michigan next plays Saturday against Marist at McGuirk Arena. The Red Foxes are undefeated and ranked No. 9 in the Mid-Major poll.