Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Senior Niki DiGuilio defends PVAMU's Larissa Scott during Wednesday's 90-66 win over the Panthers. DiGuilio scored a game-high 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc and a perfect 6-for-6 from the line.
CMU Runs Away from PVAMU in the Second Half to Score 90-66 Win
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – After a sluggish start, the Central Michigan women’s basketball team stormed from the halftime break, outscoring Prairie View A&M 50-30 in the second half to secure a commanding 90-66 win in a Wednesday afternoon matinee at McGuirk Arena. The annual Hoops For Hunger game, which drew a raucous crowd of 3,793, including a large contingent of children from surrounding mid-Michigan school districts, raised 38,194 pounds of food that will be distributed through local food shelters.

Niki DiGuilio led five Chippewas in double figures, scoring 18 points, thanks to four three-pointers and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Crystal Bradford notched her fourth double-double of the season and 28th of her career, totaling 16 points and 16 rebounds, including 14 on the defensive end. She also added seven steals, five assists and one block. Jas'Mine Bracey (16), Da'Jourie Turner (12) and Jessica Green (11) also contributed solid offensive outings.

Holding just a four-point lead coming out of the locker rooms at halftime, Central Michigan (4-5) wasted little time putting distance between itself and the visiting Panthers. After a PVAMU bucket made the score 40-38, CMU went on a 19-0 run over the next four minutes, getting points from five different players, including threes from DiGuilio and Bradford.

CMU continued to pour it on, upping its 20-point advantage to a game-high 34 at the 9:00 mark following a 20-7 run that was punctuated by two free throws from Turner. The Chippewas shot 75 percent as a team from the charity stripe on the day, making 27-of-36 attempts.  

Prairie View A&M (0-9) managed to slightly chip away at the sizeable CMU lead throughout the remaining time but never threatened to get back into the game, as the Chippewas moved to 2-0 on the season at home.

Early on, CMU looked like it would be able to put the Panthers away in the first half, building a 17-6 lead through the game’s opening eight-plus minutes, all without a contribution from Bradford. Two layups by Bracey and three-pointers from Kerby Tamm, DiGuilio and Taylor Johnson accounted the bulk of the Chippewas’ offensive output.

However, Prairie View was able to remain within striking distance and made its move with just under seven minutes to play, reeling off a 10-1 run. Jeanette Jackson gave the Panthers their first and only lead of the game with a free throw at the 2:26 mark at 32-31. The advantage would be short-lived, though, as DiGuiglio drained a three-pointer on the following possession and CMU never looked back.

Central Michigan dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Panthers, 56-41, and also forced 22 turnovers and had 14 steals.

Prairie View A&M’s leading scorer was Jackson, who tallied 21 points on 7-of-21 shooting. Gabrielle Scott totaled 14 points while Larissa Scott added 12.

CMU embarks on a three-game road trip to finish out the calendar year, first visiting South Bend, Ind. on Sunday, Dec. 22 to face No. 4 Notre Dame (9-0) in a 2 p.m. game at Purcell Pavilion. The Chippewas will also travel to No. 18 Purdue (7-2) (December 28) and Dayton (3-4) (December 30) before the New Year.