Late rally not enough to push women’s basketball past Cincinnati

Central Michigan sophomore guard Molly Davis drives past two Iowa defenders and scores a layup in the first half of an 87-72 loss to Iowa in the first of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament March 21 at Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.

After surviving Cincinnati’s best shot, Central Michigan women’s basketball nearly fought its way back from a 22-point deficit against the Bearcats on Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Ultimately, the Chippewas rally fell short, and Cincinnati secured a 59-54 win.

CMU falls to 2-4 on the season, while Cincinnati improves to 4-3.

How it happened

Junior guard Molly Davis and the Chippewas started out on fire from the floor. Cincinnati's defense clamped down to force eight CMU turnovers in the opening quarter and finished the first on an 8-0 run.

With CMU struggling to find a bucket, Cincinnati continued its run into the second, recording the first 17 points of the stanza. After falling behind by 22, the Chippewas found a spark in Davis. Cincinnati held off the onslaught and maintained a double-digit lead at the half. 

The Chippewas drew first blood following the break, but when Davis limped off the court with 6:46 remaining in the third, CMU struggled to cut into the deficit. Davis returned with three minutes remaining in the quarter, but Cincinnati opened its lead back to 19.

Three-straight 3-pointers helped spark a 15-2 run for the Chippewas. Davis closed the run by cutting Cincinnati's lead to four after securing a clutch steal late in the fourth. A turnover with nine seconds remaining killed CMU’s momentum and allowed Cincinnati to hold on for a 59-54 victory.

Key Performers

Cincinnati's Jillian Hayes led all scorers with 23 points while adding five rebounds.

Davis led the Chippewas in scoring, finishing with 20 points and six assists. Freshman Guard Tiana Timpe was close behind with 11 points.

Redshirt junior Anika Weekes led all players in rebounding with 15. Weekes also added seven points and five assists.

Key Stats

CMU finished with 11 steals in the game.

Cincinnati shot 6-of-17 from deep, compared to a 9-of-31 performance for the Chippewas from three-point land.

What’s Next

The Chippewa’s return to McGuirk at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7 against Oakland.