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Second half onslaught sinks Zips, CMU remains perfect in MAC play

Midland sophomore Molly Davis dribbles the ball down the court Jan. 6 during the home game against the Akron Zips at Kulhavi Court.

Trailing 33-32 at halftime, CMU women's basketball head coach Heather Oesterle preached urgency to the team after shooting 36 percent from inside 3-point range.

The Chippewas responded by outscoring Akron 51-25 in the second half, giving the Chippewas an 83-58 victory over the Zips on Wednesday in McGuirk Arena.

“We didn’t play as hard as we possibly could in the first half to beat teams,” Oesterle said. “Hopefully we’ll learn from this (game) and play a little bit more aggressive with a sense of urgency.”

CMU improved to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the Mid-American Conference. The Zips (3-4, 0-4 MAC) dropped their fourth game in a row and their seventh straight to CMU. 

“We focused on coming out with urgency, getting the 50-50 balls, doing the little things and having energy,” said senior guard Maddy Watters. “I think we all rallied behind that, and that’s what flipped the switch in the second half.”

CMU opened the game shooting 11-of-29 from the field with Watters shooting 3-of-3 from deep and 4-of-5 from the floor. Akron forward Jordyn Dawson scored 10 points in the games opening 10 minutes to lead the Zips offensive attack.

Trailing 36-32 early in the third quarter, a Jahari Smith layup ignited a 17-5 CMU run, giving the Chippewas a 49-41 lead. The Zips pulled within three after a Dawson layup and a 3-pointer from Emma Tecca. 

Akron’s comeback attempt was short lived. CMU responded again with an 11-0 run in the final 2:29 of the third, including six points from senior guard Micaela Kelly, to take a 60-46 lead after 30 minutes. The Chippewas did not waiver in the fourth quarter, outscoring Akron 23-12 to cap off 51 second half points. 

Kelly finished with a game-high 22 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Kyra Bussell added 15 points, finishing 3-of-3 from downtown. 

Brooks, one of two Akron players to finish in double-digits, finished with a team-best 16 points for the Zips. Tecca added 11 points.

Adding six points in 25 minutes off the bench, Oesterle was quick to point out the performance and versatility of sophomore Anika Weekes, who is settling into a role player after missing the majority of last season with injury.

“(Oesterle) can play (Weekes) at (nearly anywhere on the court) because she can guard a lot of different positions,” Oesterle said. “If she can knock down her 3-point shot at any time she’s going to be dangerous because she’s so long, big and be able to get to the basket.”

The Chippewas travel to face Buffalo at 2 p.m. Saturday in Alumni Arena.