CMU women's basketball drops first game at the Cancun Challenge

Freshman guard Bridget Utberg brings the ball up the court during a game against Michigan State, Saturday, Nov. 19 in McGuirk Arena.

On Thanksgiving, Central Michigan women's basketball played its first game at the Cancun Challenge against West Virginia. 

The Mountaineers started the game off on an 8-0 run and never looked back defeating the Chippewas 64-33. 

In the first quarter, CMU struggled offensively not scoring until the fifth minute of the quarter when Taylor Anderson drove in for a layup. The Chippewas had 8 turnovers, which the Mountaineers cashed in on scoring 9 points off of in the quarter.

"They did a really good job being physical with us and not letting us get into our offense," said head coach Heather Oesterle. "We didn't take advantage of backdoors and changing direction."

CMU scored six points in the first quarter and while shooting 22.2 percent from the floor.

The second quarter was all West Virginia again as it scored 10 points in the paint. Turnovers haunted the Chippewas again as they had six turnovers in the quarter. 

Down 32-10, the Chippewas switched to a full-court press and found success going on an 8-0 run, cutting the deficit to 16 at halftime. 

Freshman guard Taylor Anderson and sophomore guard Karrington Gordon jump-started the CMU offense off the bench combining for 8 points in the first half.

"Karrington was a huge spark tonight," said Oesterle. "I mean she's been out with an injury so to get her back and playing was great and Taylor to I mean, those are two really good athletes and we can look to press a little bit more with them in the game."

Out of the half, the Chippewas shot 2-15 (13.33%) from the floor and 0-9 from the three-point line. The Mountaineers had 12 points in the paint compared to the Chippewas two. Going into the fourth quarter West Virginia had a 52-24 lead.

"I thought, for the most part, West Virginia scored 64 points, I thought if we could get to 70 we would have won that game," said Oesterle. "We were sitting in a zone and we pressed a little bit trying to make them take quick outside shots, which they did quite a bit. 

"The paint points came on rotations not helping the helper and also in our zone, they would get the ball in the high post and we weren't defending the low block. So their point paints were a combination of that and then also they're two really good guards that were getting downhill on us."

Utberg tried mounting a comeback as she scored five points in the fourth quarter, but West Virginia was too much as they held on to their lead to win 64-33.

The Chippewas ended the game with 24 total turnovers, while the Mountaineers scored 22 points off of turnovers.

"The turnovers were a combination of a lot of things, I mean we started the game with two turnovers," said Oesterle. "Jahari traveled and had a moving screen and then you know, we'd press, get a steal and then we'd throw it right back to them. We tried to kick it ahead into transition and we'd throw it away. So it was a combination of a lot of different things."

The Mountaineers also finished with 40 points in the paint compared to CMU's 16.

The Chippewas could not stop guards Madisen Smith and Ja'Naiya Quinerly who combined for 22 points. 

 Utberg led the Chippewas in scoring with eight points, while Anderson added seven points of her own.

CMU will look to bounce back on Friday, as they take on Tulane in their second game of the Cancun Challenge at 9 p.m.