Akron, Ohio — Seven players scored in double figures, led by junior Jas'Mine Bracey's career-high 21 points and 13 rebounds, as Central Michigan scored the second-most points versus a Mid-American Conference opponent in program history to defeat preseason East Division favorite Akron, 109-86.
The Chippewas improve to 2-0 in MAC play and 6-8 overall with the victory, while the Zips fall to 7-6 overall and 1-1 in the MAC. The meeting was the first between the two teams since last season’s MAC Championship game inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
In addition to Bracey’s big night in the paint, junior Crystal Bradford and senior Taylor Johnson each recorded double-doubles. Bradford scored 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, while Johnson finished the night with 12 points and 10 boards in just 15 minutes of play off the bench.
CMU dominated down low all evening, outscoring the Zips in the paint, 58-38, while holding a 51-31 advantage on the glass. Thursday marked the fourth time this season the Chippewas had 50-plus rebounds.
Senior Niki DiGuilio knocked down three triples and scored 17 points and sophomore Da'Jourie Turner went an efficient 4-for-6 from the field and 6-of-9 from the line to match her career high with 14 points. Junior Jessica Green scored 13 points and junior Kerby Tamm had 11 points to round out the Chippewas’ seven in double figures.
The Chippewas used a balanced offensive attack and shot 51 percent (20-for-39) from the floor to claim a nine-point halftime lead, 52-43. CMU also hit 8-of-9 attempts from the free-throw line in the first half and held a 23-15 advantage in rebounds at the break.
Tamm put the Chippewas on the board first with a triple just 14 seconds into the contest and her second three of the half pulled CMU within a point, 9-8, after they had given up the lead.
A Hannah Luburgh trey gave the Zips their largest lead of the first half, 19-13, but the Chippewas used to a 11-1 run over the next 3:45 to reclaim the momentum and take back over. Bracey scored three the hard way with 7:44 to go in the half to push the lead to seven, 31-24, and Johnson scored five straight on a put back and triple of her own with 1:21 to play to hold the Chippewas’ seven-point advantage.
DiGuilio hit a step back jumper with just seven seconds left to give the Maroon and Gold a double-digit lead, 52-41, but Luburgh was fouled on a jumper attempt with no time remaining and hit a pair of free throws to cut the Chippewas’ lead to single digits at the break.
As good as the first half was for the Chippewas, the second half was better. The Chippewas' 57 points in the second half were the most in a 20-minute span all season as they went 20-for-34 (58 percent) to run away from the Zips.
DiGuilio knocked down a jumper at the free throw line despite being hit on her way down and finished the three-point play to open the second half as the Chippewas went on a 15-6 run over the first 3:55 to open up an 18-point advantage, 67-49.
The Zips cut the Chippewas’ lead to 67-56 on a Rachel Tecca layup with 14:11 to play, but CMU again responded with a 17-4 run capped with a step-back three by Bradford to with 10:30 to go to push its lead to 84-60.
Bracey scored six straight to match her career high and push the Chippewas over the 90-point mark, while an offensive rebound and put back by Bradford put CMU in triple digits for the second time this season and 16th time in program history.
Tecca led Akron with 30 points and nine boards and Luburgh had 24 points, but no other Zips player scored more than six points as they were unable to keep up with the Chippewas’ high-octane attack.
CMU will be back in action Sunday afternoon when it takes on Buffalo. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. and the game will once again be broadcast on Time Warner Cable Sports and ESPN3.
For an insiders look at the 2013-14 Chippewas, click here to view the Central Michigan Women’s Basketball MAC Guide. Find feature stories, coach and player bios, videos and much more.