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Micaela Kelly scores career-high, Central Michigan wins fifth straight

Central Michigan guard Micaela Kelly passes the ball to the corner against Iona Dec. 5 at McGuirk Arena.

Micaela Kelly is no stranger to career games. 

Against Dayton on Nov. 21, the junior guard scored 29 points to boost the Central Michigan women's basketball team to its first win of the season. 

Kelly notched a career-high 38 points highlighted by seven 3-pointers in the Chippewas' 79-74 win over South Dakota State at Frost Arena in Brookings, South Dakota. 

Outside of the triples, Kelly shot 12-of-18 from the field and missed just one 3-pointer. She was also 7-of-8 from the free throw line while adding four steals and three assists. 

"(SDSU) had to pick their posion between (Kelly) or Molly (Davis)," said coach Heather Oesterle. "I was wondering what they were going to do at halftime. I'm just glad we went out and executed the game plan."

Oesterle and her team have won five games in a row after dropping their first three of the season. 

CMU (5-3) kicked off a six-game road trip against the Jackrabbits and the team will not play in McGuirk Arena until Jan. 11 when it faces Miami (Ohio) after playing two Mid-American Conference games. 

Outside of the dominant performance from Kelly, Davis, a freshman guard, scored 20 points and made four 3-pointers in 37 minutes of action. Davis also led the Chippewas with seven assists. 

Junior forward Kyra Bussell led the rebounding category for CMU, an area where the team had struggled to start the year but has improved steadily as the season has progressed. 

The Jackrabbits outrebounded the Chippewas, 34-28, but Oesterle said she was happy with the way her team fought in order to secure the victory. 

"I told them the tougher and more physical team wins today," Oesterle said. "We battled for rebounds and it's them buying into what we're telling them and they came out the tougher team today." 

CMU also won the turnover battle by committing 16 turnovers compared to SDSU's 17, which was a critical part of the Chippewas' victory. 

Central Michigan also outshot South Dakota State with a 51% mark from the field and 54.5% from 3-point territory. The Jackrabbits shot 45.5% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. 

South Dakota State was ranked No. 12 in the College Basketball Insider Women's Mid-Major Top 25 poll and Central Michigan checked in at No. 14 before the road win. 

CMU now leads the series, 2-1, after the Jackrabbits defeated the Chippewas, 80-71, in McGuirk Arena. 

CMU continues its road trip against Oakland at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Athletics Center O'Rena in Auburn Hills. The Chippewas won last season's matchup in McGuirk Arena to open the 2018-19 campaign, 104-61.