Women's basketball success creates 'outstanding' support, 'great' atmosphere
SPOKANE, Washington — Cassie Breen said players on the Central Michigan women’s basketball team could have potentially played at “bigger schools.”
But the senior guard said those players chose CMU.
“That’s who we’re going to play for, Central Michigan, because it’s across our chests,” Breen said.
CMU (30-4, 17-1 Mid-American Conference) has won the MAC Tournament and its first two NCAA Tournament games to advance to the Sweet 16 against Oregon at 6 p.m. EST March 24 in Spokane Arena. The No. 11 Chippewas, in their 50th annual season, are the lowest remaining seed in the tournament after conference rival Buffalo fell to South Carolina.
A win over Ohio State March 19 at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio has led to increased support from the community, said head coach Sue Guevara.
“It has been outstanding,” she said. “But it’s been outstanding for us pretty much the whole season.”
Guevara said McGuirk Arena has been “electric” all season and the turnout in Cleveland for the MAC Tournament was “unbelievable.”
“Somebody asked me, is the whole city of Mount Pleasant here?” Guevara said. “I said, no, maybe about half.”
Guevara said the crowds in Columbus were great, especially in the victory over the Buckeyes.
“They were going nuts,” she said.
Guevara said her approach since the victory over Ohio State has been “very businesslike.” The team celebrated for 24 hours after the win, she said.
“We understand why we are here (in Spokane),” Guevara said. “We know we’re preparing for another game. It’s been very, very workmanlike. I like that a lot.”
Junior guard Presley Hudson said the team in confident in one another heading into the matchup against the Ducks.
“We believe in each other, we know we’re capable,” Hudson said. “And coach (Guevara), she gives us a lot of confidence as well. We’re just a confident team.”
Guevara hopes the support from the community and team’s success will open a path for top recruits to play in Mount Pleasant in future seasons.
“If you’re a recruit, you want to come in and play in a great atmosphere, in a good style of basketball, where the community and the university, you know, really care about you and they embrace you, Central Michigan’s the place to be,” she said.