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Women's basketball opens MAC play with win against Ball State

Junior guard Presley Hudson drive in from the three point line on Nov. 14 at McGuirk Arena.

Entering the Mid-American Conference season opener against Ball State, Central Michigan women's basketball head coach Sue Guevara had a feeling that this early-season showdown between two of the conference's elite would come down to a two-possession game.

She was right.

After leading the Cardinals by as many as fourteen points late in the third quarter, CMU was outscored 28-20 in the fourth quarter yet managed to escape with a 69-65 win. It marked the first loss of the year for Ball State (11-1) and gave the Chippewas just their third win in the past twelve meetings played in Muncie, Indiana.

"I give our team some credit for the mental toughness that they displayed," Guevara said. "That is not an easy place to win." 

CMU didn't make it easy on itself either, turning the ball over a total of 26 times allowing for 18 Cardinal points off turnovers. Guevara credited the win to the Chippewas' nearly flawless 17-19 free-throw shooting performance along with out-rebounding Ball State 55-44.

The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Chippewas and marks their first win at Ball State since February of 2016. CMU improves to 9-3 on the year and opens MAC play with a win.

Both teams had an abysmal outing from beyond the arc, with CMU shooting 20 percent and Ball State with 15.6 percent. 

"It was going to come down to rebounding and free throws," Guevara said. "Neither team shot the three-ball very well, and both teams (usually) shoot the three-ball well."

Junior Reyna Frost dominated on the inside all game as the only Chippewa to play the entire 40 minutes. The Reese native picked up her sixth double-double of the season late in the second quarter and finished with a team high 23 points and 19 rebounds, tying her season high for points.

"Frosty answered the bell today," Guevara said. "If Frosty continues to play like that, I think we're going to be really, really tough."

Frost and the Chippewas head back to Mount Pleasant after the start of the new year as they take on Ohio (6-5) at 7 pm on Jan. 3 in McGuirk Arena.