CMU women’s basketball late comeback comes up short versus Bradley

Central Michigan’s head women’s basketball coach Kristin Haynie shoots a free throw during practice, Thursday, Nov. 2 in McGuirk Arena. The team ended the practice shooting free throws.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Central Michigan women’s basketball was down by seven and looking for a spark against Bradley University. Being down by 10, the Chippewas started to find their stride as senior center Rochelle Norris hit back-to-back layups to put CMU within four. 

However, with 13 seconds remaining in regulation and CMU down two, the Chippewas inbounded the ball where the Braves forced a turnover to seal the win, 65-62 and cut CMU’s comeback short. 

“We just had a slow start,” head coach Kristin Haynie said. “The last couple scrimmages and games, we just have a slow start. (We) dig ourselves in a hole, and then we come back in the second half to try and fight our way back into the game ... we got to have a strong start.”

With the loss, the Chippewas move to 0-2 to begin the season as they are still searching for their first win. 

Norris led the team in scoring with 14 points along with nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal. 

Making a difference on both sides of the court was sophomore guard Taylor Anderson who led in rebounds with 10 along with securing four points, three assists and two steals. 

“She's (Anderson) an aggressive player,” Haynie said. “She got six offensive rebounds, and, you know, she plays hard. And so, we just need that consistently from her and from everybody.” 

It was all Bradley to open up the game as the Braves went up 10-2, starting the game 4-for-5 from the field. However, following a timeout from CMU, the Chippewas went on a 12-6 run to get within two of Bradley, aided by back-to-back three-pointers from junior guard Tiana Timpe and sophomore forward Madisen Wardell. 

“Urgency on defense,” Haynie said about the message during the timeout. “They were dictating us on defense and we weren't dictating them. So, (we) just have to defend better and rebound better. 

“Rebounding was a big emphasis out of timeouts, and we did close the rebounding margin, but at the end of the day, we got out rebounded ... that was one of our keys was to dominate the boards.”

With time winding down in the first quarter, CMU freshman guard Tamara Ortiz made shifty moves to the basket to secure a layup to cut the Braves lead to three, 24-21 heading into the second quarter. 

Ortiz led the game in points for CMU, scoring 14 points along with securing four assists and three rebounds.

It was a slow start offensively for both teams as the first points of the second quarter didn’t come until the seven-minute mark when Ortiz hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 24. 

However, the Chippewas struggled on the offensive side as the quarter continued. With three minutes left in the half, Bradley went on a 12-2 run to take a double-digit lead.

CMU was held to nine points in the second quarter, going 4-for-14 from the field to go into halftime down 38-30.

Going into the third quarter, Timpe got the Chippewas going with back-to-back three pointers to start an 8-0 run to put CMU within two, 40-38. 

However, with just over a minute to play in the third quarter, the Braves hit back-to-back three pointers to put Bradley up by 10. With three seconds left in the quarter, junior guard Lisa Tesson hit the buzzer beater deep in three-point land to cut the Chippewas deficit to seven. 

The Chippewas went down 10 again to begin the fourth quarter, but Norris hit back-to-back layups to aid a 9-0 run to put CMU within one with three minutes remaining. 

The Chippewas had one final chance, but the Braves forced a turnover to seal the win at the free throw line, 65-62. 

CMU held Bradley to just seven points in the fourth quarter and held the Braves scoreless for eight minutes. Haynie said the defense needs to be consistently playing at that level to find success. 

“We held them to 27 (points) in the second half,” Haynie said. “... If we were to put that together in the first half, you know, hold them to 56 points would have been great. And we just started out slow and we had to come back in the second half.” 

The Chippewas look to rebound as they return to Mount Pleasant for their home opener against Concordia-Ann Arbor on Tuesday at 7 p.m.