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Depleted Chippewas find way to earn double overtime win at Ball State


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Central Michigan guard Micaela Kelly reacts after a turnover against Northern Illinois Feb. 5 at McGuirk Arena.

Depth was not a quality playing in CMU's favor coming into its matchup with Ball State. 

Playing without their freshmen and just eight players due to COVID-19 contact tracing, the Chippewas were forced to lean on their experience in a road game against a rival, Ball State, which already handed CMU a home loss in the first matchup of the season.  

At one point, CMU was down to just five players. One of those five had four fouls, putting coach Heather Oesterle in a tough spot. 

Somehow, the Chippewas prevailed.

Thanks to steady performances from upperclassmen like senior guard Micaela Kelly mixed with timely shooting off the bench, the Chippewas held off the Cardinals earned an 87-81 double overtime victory in Mid-American Conference women's basketball Wednesday in Worthen Arena. 

Key moments 

The two teams played close in the first quarter, with the Cardinals (13-11, 11-9 MAC) holding a 19-17 advantage at the end of the stanza. The Chippewas (15-8, 13-6 MAC) missed all five of their 3-point attempts in the opening quarter, relying on inside play from Kelly and senior forward Kyra Bussell. 

CMU owned the second quarter, outscoring the Cardinals 14-7 to take a 31-26 lead into halftime. The Chippewa defense turned up the heat, holding the Cardinals to just two made field goals in the quarter. Sophomore guard Molly Davis led the team with 10 points at the break.

The Chippewas pushed the lead to seven at the start of the third on a layup from Davis, however the Cardinals went on a run and quickly closed the gap. Ball State forward Oshlynn Brown cut the CMU lead to two with a free throw, and point guard Sydney Freeman hit a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals the lead with 4:34 left in the quarter. 

BSU pushed its lead to as much as five, but Chippewa junior guard Kalle Martinez beat the third quarter buzzer with a layup to leave the Cardinals in front 46-43 heading to the fourth.

The Cardinals led by as many as eight with under five minutes to play, but the Chippewas mounted a rally. Senior guard Maddy Watters hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one, and Davis followed with a layup to put CMU up by one. 

Freeman answered with a triple to put the Cardinals back in front. Kelly answered with a 3-point play to give CMU a two-point lead. The Chippewas got a stop, but a turnover led to the fifth foul by sophomore guard Anika Weekes. BSU's Anna Clephane hit two free throws to tie the game. Kelly had a driving layup blocked by Brown to end regulation. 

The two teams traded points in the first OT session. The Cardinals led by as many as five, but that lead was trimmed instantly by a triple from junior Sophia Karasinski and a jumper from Bussell. Ball State got the final shot of the first overtime, but Thelma dis Agustsdottir's 3-point attempt clanked off the front rim. Junior center Jahari Smith also fouled out in overtime, leaving the Chippewas with just six players for the second OT. 

CMU ran away in the second overtime. Kelly scored on consecutive possessions and Martinez hit a triple, while the Cardinal offense went cold. Bussell fouled out in the period, leaving the Chippewas with just five players to finish the game. 

After missing a pair of free throws with just over 20 seconds to play, Davis hit two foul shots to ice the game. 

Key stats

CMU shot just 5-for-29 (17 percent) from beyond the arc but finished 34-for-78 (44 percent) from the field. Ball State shot 22-for-64 (34 percent) from the field and 6-for-24 (25 percent) from 3-point range.

Ball State out rebounded the Chippewas 52-43. The Cardinals committed more turnovers, 20 to CMU's 15. 

Key players

Kelly led the Chippewas and tied for the game-high with 26 points. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and had seven assists. Davis had 19, Bussell had 14 and Smith had 13 to help the Chippewas. Martinez also had eight points. 

Brown led Ball State with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Clephane had 21 points and Dis Agustsdottir had 10. 

Up next

The Chippewas return home to take on Northern Illinois in its regular season finale. The Huskies handed the Chippewas their first conference loss of the season on Jan. 13, winning 103-74 in DeKalb. 

Standings

All standings at the time of publication

TEAM -- MAC -- OVERALL

Bowling Green -- 14-3 -- 18-4

Central Michigan -- 13-6 -- 15-8

Ohio -- 10-5 -- 12-6

Buffalo -- 10-6 -- 13-8

Kent State -- 9-6 -- 10-8

Northern Illinois -- 10-7 -- 12-10

Ball State -- 11-9 -- 13-11

Eastern Michigan -- 7-6 -- 10-8

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Toledo -- 7-12 -- 11-12

Western Michigan -- 5-13 -- 6-14

Akron -- 3-13 -- 6-13

Miami (Ohio) -- 3-16 -- 4-19

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