Courtesy: Jason Kaufman/CMU Athletics
Chippewas Picked as MAC West and MAC Tournament Favorites

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan women’s basketball program knew it would have a target on its back after winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship last season.

After winning their first MAC Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament since 1984, the Chippewas were a unanimous choice to win the MAC West Division and received nine of the 12 votes to claim a second-straight tournament championship in the preseason coaches’ poll released by the conference office Tuesday morning.

CMU was the lone team to earn multiple votes to win the MAC Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio March 13-16, as Akron, Bowling Green and Miami each received one vote. 

“I appreciate the respect that the coaches have given us,” head coach Sue Guevara said. “At the same time, it is just the preseason and the last few years the preseason favorite hasn’t gone on to win the MAC, so I don’t want history to repeat itself. It says a lot about where our program is to be picked as the preseason favorites, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

The Chippewas return 10 letterwinners and three starters from last season’s championship squad, including senior Niki DiGuilio and juniors Crystal Bradford and Jessica Green.

In addition to the Maroon and Gold being tabbed as the preseason favorites, Bradford and Green were also named to the preseason All-MAC West Team.

Bradford earned First-Team All-MAC honors by averaging 16.1 points, 9.9 rebound, 3.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. She went on to become the first player since 1983 to be named the MAC Tournament MVP and was also a WBCA Region 4 All-American candidate. Bradford went to earn a spot on the USA World University Games Team and helped the Red, White and Blue earn a gold medal by hitting the game-winning shot in the semifinals versus Australia and scoring 16 points in the championship game versus host Russia.

Green earned All-MAC Third Team honors last season despite seeing her season cut short due to injury. She averaged 11.8 points, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game while shooting a career best 36 percent from behind the three-point line before missing the final eight games of the season.

Akron, the 2013 MAC Tournament runner up, was picked to win the East Division with nine votes.

MAC West Preseason Poll
1. Central Michigan (12)
2. Ball State
3. Toledo
4. Eastern Michigan
5. Western Michigan
6. Northern Illinois

Preseason All-MAC West Team
Crystal Bradford, Central Michigan
Jessica Green, Central Michigan
Nathalie Fontaine, Ball State
Andola Dortch, Toledo
Inma Zanoguera, Toledo

MAC East Preseason Poll
1. Akron (9)
2. Bowling Green (3)
3. Buffalo
4. Miami
5. Ohio
6. Kent State

2014 Predicted Tournament Champions
Central Michigan (9 votes)
Akron, Bowling Green, Miami (1)