Women’s basketball seeks first MAC Tournament Championship since 2013
Sue Guevara's most recent Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship came in the 2012-13 season.
The coach of the No. 1-ranked Central Michigan women’s basketball team has a chance to do it again at 11 a.m. March 10 against No. 2 Buffalo (27-4, 18-2 MAC) at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
A win would send the Chippewas (27-4, 19-1 MAC) to the NCAA Tournament. As of March 8, ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s bracketology projects CMU to be the No. 9 seed in the big dance and play No. 8 Marquette in South Bend, Indiana.
Right now, CMU isn’t focused on the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Chippewas are locked in to battle with Buffalo.
“Tomorrow’s just another game,” Guevara said. “I know they’re going to be very, very excited and ready to go.”
The last time CMU played Buffalo was Feb. 14 at Alumni Arena in New York. The Bulls picked up an 85-82 victory to earn revenge for taking an 86-79 loss to CMU Jan. 31 at McGuirk Arena.
“Playing against Central Michigan, where we went 1-1 during the regular season, is an unbelievable opportunity,” said Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “They’ve done an amazing job throughout the regular season.”
In the Jan. 31 dual at McGuirk Arena, senior forward Tinara Moore, the MAC Player of the Year, escorted CMU to a 86-79 win. She logged 24 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and three blocks over 39 minutes.
Junior guard Presley Hudson, tossed in 22 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win. The Chippewas had three other players score double digits in senior forward Cassie Breen (15), redshirt freshman guard Micaela Kelly (12) and junior forward Reyna Frost (10).
Buffalo guard Cierra Dillard scored 22 points, but shot 6-of-26 from the field and 3-of-20 from 3-point range in the defeat. Senior guard Stephanie Reid scored 20 points and sophomore forward Summer Hemphill chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds.
At Alumni Arena, Buffalo outscored CMU by five points in the fourth quarter to pull off an 85-82 victory. Reid and Hemphill scored 20 and 15 points, respectively. Bulls senior center Cassie Oursler registered 24 points, 12 rebounds and one assist.
Dillard scored 15 points and dished out nine assists in the Bulls’ win.
For CMU, Frost put in 23 points and 16 rebounds, but it was not enough for the win. Hudson and Moore both scored 16 points. The Chippewas turned the ball over 10 times compared to Buffalo’s five.
The two teams will face off for the third time this season. This time, the stakes are higher than ever.
“We know we are the best team here and we are just going to perform every day,” Moore said.
The winner of the 2018 MAC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show occurs at 7 p.m. on March 12. It can be viewed live on ESPN.
“Everybody wants to win because it’s March Madness, but we just have to play our game and counter the punches other teams are trying to throw,” Frost said.