CMU women's basketball falls on the road to Indiana Sate

Freshman guard Bridget Utberg drives to the basket against Valparaiso Monday, Nov. 7 at McGuirk Arena.

Down 35-34 with 4:26 left in the second quarter, Central Michigan women's basketball let Indiana State go on an 11-2 run and the Sycamores never looked back as they picked up the 84-71 victory on Wednesday.

“I thought we had moments when we played pretty well on both ends,” said head coach Heather Oesterle. "And then we had moments where two players on the other team really hurt us, especially from the three-point line. And our turnovers again (were) a difference in this game."

The Chippewas are now 0-3 on the season, losing back-to-back road games. 

In the first quarter, freshman forward Sydney Harris scored the first nine Chippewa points. 

CMU held a 9-2 lead until ISU senior guard Anna McKendree caught fire, recording the first 10 points for the Sycamores. 

The Chippewas started multiple new faces against ISU including grad-transfer guard Mikala Hall and grad-transfer forward Jnaya Walker.

“It was more so the fact that like when Jahari (Smith) is at the four spot and Rochelle is at the five, we don't really have good chemistry in the post,” said Oesterle. "And Jnaya Walker is somebody that can pass from the high post to the low post and get Jahari the ball, so you know, Nadege (Jean) and Rochelle (Norris) play better together and (Jean) is able to make that high post pass. So that was kind of the thinking behind that."

The second quarter was all forward Jahari Smith as she dominated the paint, scoring 12 points in the quarter. 

The Sycamores caught fire from range, shooting 66.7 percent from the three-point line in the second.

“Jahari did a really nice job,” said Oesterle. “I mean, they played a lot of zone against us and we're able to go high low to her side and she finished, and she got rebounds and we just kind of kept feeding her the ball.”

In the first half, the Chippewas committed 13 turnovers. 

In the third quarter, the Sycamores continued to make three-pointers in bunches shooting 75 percent from deep. 

As ISU was rolling, the Chippewas struggled offensively scoring 12 points and shooting 30.8 percent from the floor in the third. 

Freshman guard Bridget Utberg made two three-pointers to keep the Chippewas in it. However, going into the fourth quarter CMU trailed 68-48.

“They got some looks because of offensive rebound kick-out threes, where we weren't rebounding the basketball,” said Oesterle. “They got some looks in transition where we weren't getting backstopping the ball and leaving them open. And that's, you know, that's part of what I told you last time was it's about the discipline. And when we make a good shot selection on the other end of the floor that helps our transition defense so we're not giving up threes.”

In the fourth quarter, Utberg tried her best to mount a comeback for the Chippewas scoring 11 points, nine of those points coming off three-pointers. But it was not enough as Indiana State held on to the lead to get the 84-71 victory.

“I thought Bridget did a really nice job,” said Oesterle.  "We brought her off the bench. But teams are going to because we are big inside, they're going to zone us, and you have got to know how to play against the zone and move and shoot the ball and then and then it'll open up for bigs. But Bridget was able to find the gaps in the zone today and she knocked on her shots."

Setting a career-high, Utberg led the CMU with 21 points. Smith added 16 points and eight rebounds, Harris netted 14 points. 

The Chippewas welcome Michigan State to McGuirk Arena on Saturday at 1 p.m.