Women's basketball never trails, defeats Buffalo in MAC showdown

Senior forward Reyna Frost tries to keep possession of the ball on Feb. 2 in McGuirk Arena.

Presley Hudson scored a game-opening long jumper 28 seconds in. From that point on, the Central Michigan women's basketball team never trailed. 

The Chippewas (15-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) secured a pivotal 76-65 victory over the Buffalo Bulls (14-5, 6-2 MAC) in the first game of their three-game home stand at McGuirk Arena.

Hudson opened the scoring with the long 2-pointer from the left elbow, jump starting a 9-2 run for CMU. The run was continued by sophomore guard Micaela Kelly who contributed a 3-pointer and an off-balance shot and capped off by a driving layup from Hudson on the right side. 

The late stages of the first quarter turned into the Reyna Frost show once again as she scored all of her 13 first quarter points in under five minutes. The senior forward utilized the pick-and-roll and offensive rebounds to score the majority of her points.

Frost's points came in succession. She scored the Chippewas' final 13 points of the first quarter, ending with a high-post fadeaway buzzer-beater to secure a 26-14 lead after the first period of action. 

Hudson sat for more than seven minutes to open the second quarter due to a second foul late in the first. Fellow senior guard Jaeda Robinson took her place and played extended minutes in relief.

"(Robinson) came in and gave us some really good minutes," said head coach Sue Guevara. "I thought the leadership that we had on the floor with (Frost, Kelly and sophomore guard Maddy Watters) did a nice job of keeping everyone together." 

Buffalo turned up the tempo and it started scoring at will. Led by senior guard Cierra Dillard and sophomore guard Hanna Hall, the Bulls shot 57 percent from the field and 80 percent from beyond the arc. Dillard hit a triple to cut CMU's lead to two points, 39-37, as the teams hit the halftime intermission. 

The second half started with Hudson. She scored the Chippewas first five points with a layup coming off a steal and a 3-pointer.

"We bring out the best in them and they bring out the best in us," Hudson said. "It's just two of the best teams going at it and making each other better." 

Hudson went to the locker room with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter due to an apparent injury, but the visit was brief as she returned just under a minute later. 

CMU and Buffalo continued to trade buckets throughout the third stanza. Kelly and Frost did the most of the scoring for the Chippewas. 

Kelly used her athleticism to drive to the basket and draw fouls. She converted from the free throw line during each attempt and made a pair of 3-pointers.

Frost was able to score down low. One play in transition went from Hudson to Kelly, who fired a skip pass to Frost. The result from the forward was an easy layup.

Hudson hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining as CMU carried a 60-52 lead into the final quarter. 

Frost earned another double-double, her 17th of the season. She logged 21 points and 12 rebounds entering the fourth quarter. 

The start of the fourth was more of Frost, scoring four points in the first minute. 

Hudson and Frost continued to push the Chippewa lead to as many as 13. They sealed the game with a sequence of back-to-back three pointers late in the final frame.

"Obviously as a player, we knew it was the next game that we had to go out and play," Frost said. "We were excited for the game but our team does a good job of staying focused on who we're playing next." 

Frost finished with a game-high 28 points and 21 rebounds. Hudson followed closely with 21 points. Kelly poured in 16 tallies of her own. Dillard led Buffalo with 25 points.

CMU takes on Ball State at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in McGuirk Arena for the second of their three-game home stand.