Women’s basketball drops MAC opener as losing streak increases to five games
The 2021 Mid-American Conference schedule kicked off with a bang for Central Michigan women’s basketball. The first stop was Buffalo, New York.
Although the Chippewas found their rhythm from range, shooting a season-best 42.9% from three, an extended fourth-quarter run propelled Buffalo to a 92-75 victory on Wednesday.
The loss pushes the Chippewas’ losing streak to five games, as they fall to 2-8 and 0-1 in the MAC. The Bulls improve to 1-0 in conference play and 7-4 on the year.
With CMU junior forward Anika Weekes’ presence missing on the interior, Buffalo looked to crash the paint early and often. The Chippewas responded behind the arc to keep pace.
Freshman guard Tiana Timpe got things started for CMU, tallying nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from three in the first quarter. Junior guard Molly Davis followed suit catching fire from the floor. However, the usually automatic free-throw shooter, Davis missed four-consecutive shots from the charity stripe to start a trend for CMU throughout the game.
Buffalo struggled to guard the Chippewas’ perimeter shooters allowing CMU to shoot 6-of-12 from outside through two quarters.
Still, the Bulls capitalized on 14 first-half turnovers from the Chippewas to push the lead to 13-points.
After a fast-paced first half, Davis and senior center Jahari Smith took control of the game. Down by 12, the Chippewas worked the paint as Smith recorded her third double-double of the season. CMU kept the pressure on and put together a 19-9 run in the third quarter to cut the lead to four.
With CMU controlling the momentum, the Bulls turned to Dyaisha Fair and Summer Hemphill for an offensive spark. Fair closed the third scoring 5-of-7 points.
Davis continued to find success early in the fourth, but the rest of the Chippewas’ shooters fell silent. Hemphill took advantage of the lull, and Buffalo finished the game on a 24-11 run to secure its first MAC win of the season.
The Bulls’ Hemphill led all players in scoring with 28 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Fair finished close behind notching 26 points and took over fourth place all-time in scoring at Buffalo.
After receiving her fifth foul with a minute remaining, Davis left the floor. She led the Chippewas with 23 points, shooting 10-for-17 from the field. In addition, she recorded 12 assists to lock-up her first double-double of the season.
Timpe finished with a career-high 17 points while shooting 6-of-11 from the floor.
Despite the success beyond the arc, the Chippewas struggled from the free-throw line going 4-of-9, compared to 20-of-25 for Buffalo.
CMU returns to McGuirk Arena to continue conference play against Northern Illinois on Jan.1, at 1 p.m.