CMU women's basketball faces pressure, falling to Toledo

Junior guard Tiana Timpe takes a shot Wednesday, Feb. 7 in McGuirk arena. Timpe scored 12 points this game bringing her season record to 150. (Audrey Konitsney | CM-Life)

As the clock hit the final two minutes in the fourth quarter, Central Michigan women's basketball put in three fresh players from the bench against the Toledo Rockets. CMU soccer players Allison LaPoint, Lauren Walker and Brylee Borgman took the court for the first time as the Chippewas were down by 27 points. 

As the last 30 seconds played out, LaPoint powered through Toledo's defense and earned her first basket of her college basketball career. However, the Rockets had already established the lead to hand CMU the 93-68 loss. 

The Chippewas now stand 5-15 overall and 3-8 in conference play, ending their two-game winning streak. Toledo shut the Chippewas down beyond the arc, holding the team at 30% to the Rocket's 58.3%. 

"We got to do a better job locking in and knowing when shooters are in the area," head coach Kristin Haynie said. "We closed out a little short tonight, they had room to breathe and get it off. So, we have to do a better job of locking in no matter what defense we're in."

As consistency has been a struggle all season for this team, the Chippewas have continued to explode out of halftime throughout the last games. After being outscored by 13 in the second quarter, CMU returned the momentum outscoring the Rockets by two in the third quarter. 

"Out of halftime was great," Haynie said. "I mean that third quarter we won, that was really good to see. I felt like the last couple of games when we weren't scoring, our defense wasn't affected by it. But I feel like tonight when we were not scoring it was being affected. We weren't playing the tough defense with urgency like we have."

Another struggle for this team continues to be turnovers. CMU faced 24 turnovers against Toledo, many of them coming from Toledo's full-court pressing. The Chippewas had a hard time containing the Rocket's defensive style, giving them multiple points off those turnovers. 

"We just have to take care of the ball," Haynie said. "We worked on their pressure and I think sometimes when you get in the game, you're getting double-teamed and we kind of lose our minds a little bit and throw the ball away. Just continuing to take care of the ball when we do get in those pressure situations."

As the season continues, CMU continues to grow as a team and focus on wins game-by- game. Now eliminating the possibility of another forfeit by adding numbers to their rosters, the Chippewas gear up to fight for a spot in the Mid-American Conference tournament. 

"We've unfortunately been battling injuries," Haynie said. "So we don't want a situation where we have to forfeit again. We are just using them in practice as bodies, taking the load off our players a little bit, and then if they have the opportunity to get in and play, they will."

Staying in Mount Pleasant for their next game against Louisiana on Saturday at 1 p.m., the Chippewas hope to add a win to their overall record in the MAC-SBC Challenge.

Currently, CMU now holds the 10th spot in the MAC standings, nearly tying with Akron at ninth. 

"We're just taking it one day at a time," Haynie said. "We talk about Cleveland a lot and we want to get to Cleveland, that's our goal and we're right there. We just have to take care of a couple of things before we get there."