KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Central Michigan limited rival Western Michigan to just 18 second-half points en route to a 77-53 win at University Arena Wednesday night.
The Chippewas (16-9) improved to 10-2 in the Mid-American Conference with the win, setting up a show down for first place versus Toledo this Sunday inside McGuirk Arena. The Rockets enter with an 11-1 mark in conference play as their only loss came against CMU earlier this season.
Some work had to be done first to set up the Sunday's contest and the Maroon and Gold took care of business by holding the Broncos (9-16, 5-7 MAC) to just 29.2 percent (7-for-24) shooting in the final 20 minutes to run away with things.
After leading by just three at the break, 38-35, the Chippewas came out of the locker room and went on a quick 7-0 run capped on a three-point play by sophomore Crystal Bradford to grab a 10-point lead, 45-35.
The Broncos were able to chip their way back into the game, coming as close four, 49-45, on a layup by Miracle Woods, but were held without a field goal for a stretch of 5:58 allowing CMU to push their lead to 63-48. CMU would eventually push its lead to as much as 22 on a layup by sophomore Jas'Mine Bracey and a pair of free throws from junior Taylor Johnson, 72-50.
Each team came out firing in the first half, but the Chippewas were able to grab the lead behind the play of Bradford and fellow sophomore Jessica Green. The two players combined for 21 of the Chippewas 38 first-half points as the team went to halftime with a 38-35 advantage.
Green finished the game with 16 points in 22 minutes, while Bradford scored 21 and pulled down 10 rebounds for her third-straight double-double. Bradford also came away with four of the Chippewas' 10 steals in the game.
Turnovers were key for the Chippewas as they turned 23 Broncos' turnovers into 26 points. More importantly, CMU took care of the ball by committing just eight turnovers in the contest. Central also held a distinct advantage in the paint, outscoring the Broncos 46-26.
Senior Brandie Baker scored 11 points in the contest, marking the ninth time this season and the 65th time in her career that she scored in double digits.
Bradford's double-double was her league-best 11th of the season and the 22nd of her career.
CMU's win was the sixth-straight over Western Michigan and improved head coach Sue Guevara's record at Central Michigan to 92-91.
The Chippewas became the ninth team in program history to record at least 10 wins in Mid-American Conference play.
After not shooting a single free throw in the first half, the Chippewas knocked down 8-of-9 attempts in the second half.
Sunday's game inside McGuirk Arena will air on SportsTime Ohio and ESPN3.com. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.