Bradford doubtful, women’s basketball heads to Eastern Michigan

Central Michigan University's Aleah Swary (5) dribbles around University of Toledo's Brenae Harris (1) on Feb. 11 at McGuirk Arena. Central Michigan University lost 61-46.

Stumbling into a matchup against a heated rival, the Central Michigan University women’s basketball team needs a win.

With their backs against the wall and needing a confidence building victory, the Chippewas hit the road to take on Eastern Michigan University at noon on Saturday.

CMU has struggled to stay in contention in the Mid-American Conference and is riding a two game losing streak, having fallen from first place in the MAC west to fourth in a little more than two weeks.

EMU has also had its fair share of difficulties, none worse than dealing with the passing of junior forward Shannise Heady, who died in a car accident on Jan. 26.

“We addressed the passing of Heady when it happened, but we haven’t addressed it since,” said CMU coach Sue Guevara. “I don’t think it will have any impact on the game.”

The Eagles are coming into the matchup with heavy hearts, and like the Chippewas, have lost three of their last four games and are at the very bottom of the MAC West division.

“Eastern is very similar to us in that they’re having trouble scoring a little bit right now,” Guevara said. “The West division is tough as nails.”

Despite the tough stretch, Guevara said she hasn’t lost faith in her squad.

“If I focus on the win, I lose my focus,” Guevara said. “I have to stay in the process with our kids. Are we without weapons? Absolutely. Do we still have weapons? Absolutely. But it’s all in how we execute. We’re going to make mistakes, but we have to learn from them and then move on.”

EMU will look to sophomore guard and last season’s freshman of the year Cha Sweeney to lead the charge. She is averaging team-highs in points (13.8) and assists (3.3).

“They have a really dynamic guard in Cha Sweeney,” Guevara said. “She scores in a variety ways. They have kids that know how to put it in the hole.”

The battle in the paint might be the deciding factor between CMU and EMU. Both teams are ranked second and third respectively in rebounding.

“I think it’s important to win every rebounding war that we are in,” Guevara said. “Our rebounding shows that we’re working to get them. That’s half the battle.”

CMU sat senior guard Crystal Bradford due to an injury in Wednesday’s 61-46 loss to Toledo, and her participation in Saturday’s game is doubtful.

“She’s kind of day-to-day,” Guevara said. “It doesn’t appear to me like she’ll be playing on Saturday.”

Guevara said that the team spent extra time shooting the ball in practice. The Chippewas confidence in themselves will be key in Bradford’s absence.

 “You have to believe that when you going into the war that you can win the battle," she said.