OXFORD, Ohio - Central Michigan solved its road woes and picked up a key Mid-American Conference victory at Miami Saturday, 72-60.
The win did not come without some adversity for the Maroon and Gold as the RedHawks (14-10, 6-5) were able to overcome a six-point halftime deficit to take the lead with 13:50 to play, 38-37. The Chippewas' deficit lasted all of just six seconds however as senior Brandie Baker found fellow senior Jessica Schroll for a three-point play the old fashioned way on the next possession sparking a 9-0 CMU run.
The run continued with four-straight points by Bradford forcing a 30-second timeout by the RedHawks and Baker found Johnson for a wide open layup out of the timeout to cap the run and give the Chippewas a 46-38 lead with 11:45 to play. Bradford went on to score six of the Chippewas' next eight points to help push the lead to double digits with 8:35 to play, 54-44.
The RedHawks responded with a 6-0 run of their own on a three-point play by Kirsten Olowinski and trey from Courtney Osborn to pull back within four and Bradford's fourth foul sent the sophomore star to the bench with 7:32 to play. Fortunately for the Maroon and Gold, Miami's own star Courtney Osborn picked up her fourth foul as well just 38 seconds later and was forced to the bench herself.
Miami was able to pull as close as two, 54-52, with 6:21 to play on a jumper by Erica Almady, but an 8-1 run that included four points from Johnson allowed CMU to extend the lead back to nine, 62-53. The Chippewas' defense them clamped down, holding the RedHawks to just two field goals in the rest of the way to seal the victory.
The Chippewas were able to claim their 31-25 lead at the half behind the play of junior Niki DiGuilio. The Ohio native knocked down 3-of-5 three-point field goals and scored 11 points in the first 20 minutes. CMU held a slim 8-7 lead after the first five minutes and DiGuilio sparked a 7-0 run with a three from the corner and sophomore Jas'Mine Bracey capped the run with a layup.
Miami responded with a 9-1 run of its own to grab its' first lead of the game, 17-16, but a jumper by Baker put the Maroon and Gold back in front through the break.
Baker finished with 10 points, five boards and five while Schroll had 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four blocks. DiGuilio finished the contest with 13 points, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
The Chippewas will be back in action Wednesday when they travel to Kalamazoo to take on rival Western Michigan. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Central Michigan improved to 10-0 this season when allowing 60 or fewer points. CMU also improved to 13-1 on the year when leading its opponent at the half.
Five players scored in double figures Saturday afternoon, improving the Chippewas to 11-3 this season when four-plus players score 10-plus points.
Senior Brandie Baker finished the contest with five assists, going over 400 for her career. She currently ranks third in program history with 401 career assists.
Sophomore Crystal Bradford recorded two blocks, becoming the fastest player in program history to block 100 shots in her career.
CMU held a 50-36 rebounding advantage over the RedHawks, marking the third-straight game in which it pulled down at least 50 rebounds.
Bradford and Johnson became the second set of teammates to each record a double double in a single game this season. Bradford also had a double double when senior Jessica Schroll recorded her first career double double versus Western Michigan earlier this year.