YPSILANTI, Mich. - The Central Michigan women's basketball program secured a double bye to the quarterfinals as the No. 4 seed in the FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 63-56 win at Eastern Michigan Thursday night.
The Chippewas (18-11) finished in a three-way tie for second overall in the MAC with Akron and Ball State as each team had an identical 12-4 mark in conference play, but the Chippewas 1-2 record versus the common opponents slated them as the No. 4 seed.
Before the Chippewas could worry about the MAC Tournament, they had to take care of business versus the Green and White and did so behind four players scoring in double digits, led by junior Taylor Johnson's team-high 17 points.
The junior scored 11 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting to help the Maroon and Gold grab a 30-28 halftime lead. The Eagles struck first in the second half to score the first three points and take a 31-30 lead, but it would be short lived as the Chippewas quickly responded and never looked back.
Johnson put the Chippewas back in front for good with a layup on a feed from sophomore Crystal Bradford with 18:21 to play, 32-31.
The Eagles hung around and cut the lead to two, 45-43, on a three-point play by Chelsea Hite with 7:30 to play, but the Chippewas went on a 9-2 run over the next 3:18 to pull away and build their lead to as much as nine, 54-45.
EMU attempted to extend the game by sending the Chippewas to the line, but the Maroon and Gold calmly knocked down 7-of-8 free throw attempts over the final 1:10 of the contest to secure the win.
Despite having an off night shooting, Bradford finished with her league-tying best 13th double-double of the game by scoring 14 points and pulling down a game-high 17 rebounds. Junior Niki DiGuilio and senior Brandie Baker gave CMU four players in double figures as they each finished with 11 points.
CMU held a distinct 47-30 advantage on the boards in the contest and 19 offensive rebounds led to 24 second-chance points for the Chippewas.
A full release on the 2013 MAC Tournament, including brackets and ticket information, will be available later tonight on CMUChippewas.com