Women’s basketball wins close fought battle at home

CMU's women's basketball team huddles around coach Heather Oesterle during the MAC Tournament quarterfinals against Northern Illinois on March 10 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo credit Ben Suddendorf)

In a close game against Saginaw Valley State, Central Michigan came out on top 69-67 in an exhibition game at McGuirk Arena Thursday in front of fans for the first time in over a year. 

“I knew this game was going to be tough against Saginaw, '' said head coach Heather Oesterle. “It’s a new team, we are blending the freshmen into it, and we got to get the experience with these players.”

How It Happened 

The Cardinals were not letting the Chippewas pull away from them without putting up a fight. SVSU took the lead in the first quarter. CMU junior guard Anika Weekes went up for two with 1:25 left in the opening stanza for a Chippewa lead. The CMU took the momentum blocking the Cardinals pass to take possession in the final seconds of the first quarter. 

Coming out early in the second quarter was the Cardinals junior forward Tori DePerry shooting a wide open layup to take back the lead. The Chippewas responded fiercely, scoring off a steal and did not look back, taking a 41-28 lead into halftime. 

The Chippewas came out strong after the half, scoring seven of the first nine points of the quarter. SVSU did what they could to claw their way back, but CMU proved to be too much after three quarters.

The Cardinals would seize momentum in the fourth. SVSU center Kyndall Spires shrunk the CMU lead to three points with five minutes remaining.

Junior guard Molly Davis brought back a loose ball from the Cardinals, taking it down the court to set up Weekes' and-1 basket. She made the free throw to take the lead back up to six. 

The clock was ticking when Davis got tripped up, allowing SVSU junior Kaitlyn Zarycki to push the ball down the court to make it a two-point game. The Chippewas put the pressure on the Cardinals, but it was no match for Zarycki, splashing a 3- pointer to give SVSU the lead. 

Rebounding proved vital late when the Chippewas re-gained the lead with 30 seconds left. The Cardinals continued to put the pressure on the Chippewas in hopes to stop them from scoring big. The Cardinals failed to make their last shot. Weekes was fouled and sent to the free throw line, upping the Chippewas lead 69-67 as time expired.

What’s Next

The Chippewas are back at home on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. against Georgia Tech.