BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Central Michigan saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end, suffering its first Mid-American Conference loss of the season at Bowling Green Sunday, 84-59.
The Chippewas (13-8, 7-1 MAC) trailed by just four at the half, 34-30, and pulled within a bucket to start the second half, but it was as close as they would get as the Falcons (14-7, 5-3 MAC) went on an 11-0 run over the next two and half minutes to take a 45-32 lead.
CMU trailed by double digits the remainder of the game as the Falcons were nearly unstoppable, converting 66.7 percent (18-for-27) of their shots in the second half, including 70 percent (7-for-10) from behind the arc. The Falcons finished the game shooting 55.4 percent overall, becoming the first team in conference play to shoot better than 50 percent against the Chippewas.
The first half was back and forth between the two squads as the Chippewas took an early 10-9 lead on a three-point field goal by sophomore Crystal Bradford at the 16:07 mark. Unfortunately, the lead would be the last of the day for the Maroon and Gold as BGSU went on a 7-0 run to take a 16-13 lead and extended it to nine, 27-18, at the 7:15 mark when freshman Bailey Cairnduff hit her second three of the half.
The Chippewas battled back with an 8-0 run of their own to pull within one, 27-26, with 2:22 to play and senior Jessica Schroll kept CMU's deficit at two on a jumper. Cairnduff was fouled and calmly knocked down two free throws with 1.6 seconds remaining to send CMU to the locker room trailing for the first time in MAC play, 34-30.
Senior Brandie Baker and Bradford led the Chippewas with 14 points, while four Falcons scored in double figures led by Chrissy Steffen's 19 points. Cairnduff and Jillian Halfhill each scored 14, while Alexis Rogers scored 13.
CMU will be back in action Thursday when they travel to Ball State for a key MAC West contest versus Ball State. The Chippewas, Toledo and Ball State are currently tied for first in the west division with just one loss in conference play. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
CMU saw its fifth longest winning streak in program history come to an end at seven games. The 7-0 start in MAC play was the second-best conference start in program history.
The Chippewas finished the game even in rebounds with their opponent for the first time this season. Both teams finished the contest with 32 rebounds, though CMU held a 10-5 advantage on the offensive boards.
The 84 points given up by the Chippewas tied the most this season, equaling the mark scored by Saint Joseph's in the Chippewas' 94-84 win on Dec. 20, 2012.
Bowling Green became the first team in MAC play, and just the fourth all season, to shoot 50 percent or better against he Chippewas. CMU is now 2-2 on the year when allowing a team to accomplish the feat.