Women’s Basketball Wins First Game, Tough Opponent Ahead

The Central Michigan University women’s basketball team has one game down – and they’re off to a great start.

During their season opener on Sunday, Nov. 16 at McGuirk Arena, the Chippewas defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen 72-70.

The game marked the much anticipated return of senior Crystal Bradford, who got off to a slow start but ultimately finished strong with 15 points in the second half, ending with 17 points overall to accompany her five assists, five rebounds and seven steals.

Sophomore forward Jewel Cotton, who will need to take on a bigger role this season with the graduation of forward Taylor Johnson, finished with 12 points and was 5-7 from the field with 11 rebounds.

Senior guard Jessica Green struggled, shooting just 2-10, but contributed in other aspects, netting 11 rebounds and five assists. She also operated as the primary ball handler and remained calm in the face of consistent UMass ball pressure.

Despite the win, eighth-year head coach Sue Guevara was less than pleased in her post-game interview.

“I thought we were really lackluster, for lack of a better word,” Guevara said.

Guevara’s description of the team’s play is certainly understandable, given the narrow win over Massachusetts – a team that won only four games just a year ago.

In a game that most expected to be a tune-up in the eyes of Kentucky, the Chippewas’ next opponent, CMU was actually behind at one point in the second half, trailing Massachusetts 44-42 with 11 minutes to go. It was a three-pointer by senior guard Kerby Tamm that gave CMU a one-point lead and the upper hand.

While the Chippewas took a win over Massachusetts, Saturday night’s face off in Mount Pleasant vs. the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats is still up in the air.

“We’re going to need things to start clicking earlier or we’re going to get run right off this floor (against Kentucky),” Guevara said

The No. 13 ranked Wildcats will be the highest ranked team to come to Mount Pleasant since the Chippewas hosted No. 5 Notre Dame and Skylar Diggins on Nov. 29, 2012 – a game they lost 72-63.

The last CMU victory over a ranked opponent came on Dec. 11, 2011, as the Chippewas knocked off the No. 12 Purdue Boilermakers at McGuirk Arena.