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Women's basketball holds off Kent State to remain unbeaten in MAC play

Central Michigan guard Molly Davis drives against Kent State guard Moriah Modkins Feb. 19 at McGuirk Arena. Davis finished with a team high 26 points.

Freshman guard Molly Davis drove to the basket through contact and converted a right-handed layup. The whistle blew signifying a foul, igniting Davis and Central Michigan into a celebration. Davis converted the 3-point play and the Chippewas pushed their lead to 15 points. 

Backed by Davis' 26 points, Central Michigan (20-4, 13-0) took at 71-58 win over Kent State (14-10, 7-6). With the win, the Chippewas clinch a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. 

"We're having a good run here," coach Heather Oesterle said. "We've got some big dreams and this year it's about making it special for our seniors."

The Chippewas and Golden Flashes were tied at 25 after the first quarter. Both teams sprinted up and down the floor in transition for the entirety of the stanza at a torrid pace. However, the game settled down after that as both teams locked in defensively. 

Central Michigan took a 37-29 lead midway through the second quarter on the strength of an 8-0 run. The eight-point lead would stay heading into the break, with the Chippewas leading 44-36 at halftime. 

Junior guard Maddy Watters drilled a 3-pointer to push the lead to double-digits to open the scoring in the third quarter. Though the Golden Flashes kept it close throughout the period, Davis scored the Chippewas' last six points of the third to give her team a 59-48 lead heading into the final quarter. 

Junior guard Micaela Kelly knocked down a jumper to open the fourth and Watters followed with a triple of her own to give Central Michigan its largest lead of the game at 64-48. The defense would allow just 10 points in the quarter, closing out the double-digit victory. 

"I'm was really happy with our defensive effort," Oesterle said. "We did a great job on their 3-point shooters." 

Davis finished with seven assists and four rebounds in addition to her 26 points. She shot 10-of-16 and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. 

"I just try to find my open teammates as much as I can," Davis said. "When they help off that's what I try to do and when they collapse I try to find my own shot."

Watters finished with 10 points behind a perfect 3-for-3 effort from beyond the arc. Kelly added 16 points while junior forward Kyra Bussell scored 12. Lindsey Thall and Megan Carter led Kent State with 14 points. 

The Chippewas next take the court against Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. Saturday in the NIU Convocation Center.