CMU women’s basketball breaks losing streak in double overtime thriller

Freshman guard Tamara Ortiz looks at the basket Wednesday, Feb 28, in McGuirk Arena. (Audrey Konitsney | CM-Life)

As the clock hit the last few seconds in the final quarter, the Central Michigan women’s basketball team was down by two, looking for the tying bucket against Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday. 

After getting the ball to junior guard Capria Brown, she rushed the paint for a layup sending the game into overtime. As the first overtime played out, CMU was unable to come out on top as the score remained tied through the final buzzer, sending them into double overtime. 

In double overtime, the Chippewas were able to hold Miami to two points while they crashed the net with five. Freshman guard Tamara Ortiz, hit her fifth shot from beyond the arc, giving CMU a five-point lead.

In the end, the Chippewas came out on top, ending their five-game losing streak 76-73. 

Leading in points was Brown with a career-high of 22 and Ortiz with 21. 

Before the game began, the starting lineup had a few changes as first-year head coach Kristin Haynie adjusted. Sophomore guard Alina Anderson, a double-roster athlete, saw the starting lineup for the first time. Absent from the lineup and the bench was sophomore guard Taylor Anderson, who has been out due to injury.

“(It was) a coach’s decision,” Haynie said. “We’ve had some illnesses too and people not practicing. Alina stepping up and making that three-point shot and being confident out there…she did a good job.”

Although the roster features many experienced players, many new players contributed to the win. Freshman center, Desrae Kyles, saw 11 minutes in the game with six rebounds and two blocks. 

“I’m glad that they’ve recovered from their injuries because they brought some good minutes to us,” Haynie said. “For Desrae to get six boards in ten minutes, we’ve been challenging her to rebound more.”

CMU shot 48.3% from beyond the arc with 14 total three-point shots, something it has struggled with in previous games. As the team continued to shoot, their confidence increased, giving them more open opportunities. 

“Confidence comes from preparation,” Haynie said. “Being in the gym and getting extra reps up and then when the lights turn on just being confident and knocking down that shot. We have to continue to shoot the ball well and to find each other. We did a good job of finding each other today, which was good to see.”

For the first time all season, CMU played in overtime. With the game tied up at the end of regulation, many fans were on the edge of their seats hoping for a Chippewa victory. 

As the team huddled before entering the first overtime, players were smiling when realizing that there was still a chance to win the game.

“We said it’s our game to win,” Haynie said. “Fourth quarter they beat us by nine points and we were up…we showed growth, we didn’t fold, we stayed together as a team which was really good to see.”

Now with a record of 6-19 overall and 4-11 in conference, CMU remains in 11th place, nearly tied with Akron. With only three games remaining, the Chippewas continue to fight for any chance in the Mid-American Conference tournament in March.

CMU women’s basketball will travel to Athens, Ohio to take on the  Bobcats of Ohio University on Saturday at 1 p.m.