Women’s basketball wins thriller over Ohio in overtime


Central Michigan center Kyra Bussell lays up the ball against Ohio Feb. 1 at McGuirk Arena.

Central Michigan women’s basketball notched another thrilling victory over Mid-American Conference foe Ohio.

The Chippewas (16-4, 9-0 MAC) defeated the MAC East-leading Bobcats 92-90 in overtime Saturday in McGuirk Arena. The previous time these two teams met on Jan. 8, senior forward Gabrielle Bird made a shot as time expired to give CMU the victory over Ohio (13-7,6-3 MAC).

Redshirt sophomore Kalle Martinez scored her only point in one of the largest moments of the game. With the Chippewas trailing 81-80 in the fourth quarter, junior guard Micaela Kelly drove the lane and was fouled leaving one second on the clock. Kelly was fouled hard and took some time to get up from the ground. Because of that, she was forced to be substitute and Heather Oesterle called on Martinez. 

Martinez sank the first free throw to tie the game and just barely missed the second, still good enough to send the game in overtime.

”We’re just as confident in Kalle as we are in (Kelly),” junior forward Kyra Bussell said. “She puts in the work as much as (Kelly) does, we’re confident in anyone.

”It doesn’t matter who it is we’re going to step up and be able to make shots in big time moments.”

CMU shot 61 percent from the field in large part because of an increased focus on scoring inside against the Bobcats. The Chippewas finished with 56 points in the paint. 

“This is a little different than our stat sheet usually looks with 56 points in the paint,” Oesterle said. “The thing that was really surprising to me is the way Ohio usually plays is they pack it in. Usually those passes from our guards into the post from the wing is not there. We worked a lot on skipping it because they pack it in and leave the skip passes open.“

Oesterle also noted Ohio focused on stopping CMU from outside shooting, allowing Bussell to get matchups in the post that the team capitalized on.

The change in gameplan allowed Bussell become a focal point on the offensive side of the court. Bussell finished the game with a career-high 33 points and nine rebounds.

”Honestly, I think my role on the team is doing whatever is needed from me in that moment,” Bussell said. “I think that’s very similar to what Gabi Bird’s role is.

“That’s a big thing that we have got going on, is that we can play inside out and we’re lethal in both areas. This was just one game where it might have been more in the paint than the three ball.”

Freshman guard Molly Davis scored 23 points to extend her streak with at least 20 points to three games. Davis added six rebounds and five assists. Her final three points came with 2:41 left in overtime. CMU trailed Ohio by one and Davis knocked down a triple to give her team an 87-85 lead.

”I think it’s just my confidence,” Davis said. “My confidence has definitely gone up a lot the past five games or so.”

The win came despite a low-scoring game form Kelly who finished the game with 10 points, five of which she scored in overtime. Kelly earned a double-double with 12 assists. Kelly scored the final five points for CMU, including a free throw to put the Chippewas up two with under one second to go. 

The game was the second consecutive overtime game the Chippewas have played in and the fourth overall. With such a young team, Oesterle says these games are helping the team gain experience and grow as the season progresses.

”I’m really proud of the way we’re finding ways to win in these close games,” Oesterle said. “The more we find ways to win the better it’s going to help us in March. Early in the season, we had a double-overtime game that we learned a lot from and that’s helping us in these last two games.”

CMU next hosts Northern Illinois (5-13, 1-6 MAC). The Huskies are currently last in the West Division. The Chippewas and Huskies tip off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in McGuirk Arena.