MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - On the strength of the three-point sharpshooting of Niki DiGuilio and a dominating second half team performance, Central Michigan remained undefeated at 12-0 in MAC play with a comfortable 88-47 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Arena.
DiGuilio moved into second place in the CMU single game record book by knocking eight threes on 12 attempts (.667), for a game-high 24 points. Crystal Bradford rebounded from a slow start to notch her 16th double-double of the season and 40th of her career, totaling 14 points and 15 boards. Taylor Johnson was also key to a big second half in which the Chippewas outscored the RedHawks, 51-22, scoring 14 points for the game.
Carrying a 12-point lead out of the halftime break, Central Michigan (16-8) saw its lead cut to seven at 42-35 after Miami’s Courtney Larson sunk a three-pointer at the 17:29 mark. That’s as close as the RedHawks would get, though, as Central Michigan got red hot in a hurry, embarking on a 27-2 run over the next eight minutes to put the game away early.
Bradford ignited the sequence by scoring eight straight. DiGuilio also took center stage, knocking down three of CMU’s seven three-pointers during the run. When the program’s all-time leading three-point shooter drained her final triple of the game with 9:58 remaining, the Chippewas had a commanding 22-point lead at 69-37.
Over the final nine-plus minutes, CMU continued to pour it on, getting points from a variety of sources, including Johnson, who sunk a three and had back-to-back layups. Jessica Green put the finishing touches on the win, scoring two of her 11 points, to accompany 10 assists, on a layup in the final minute of play to help account for the 41-point margin of victory, CMU’s largest in conference action this season.
The first half had little pace, as it was marred by a stream of turnovers, with the teams combining for a total of 23 miscues. After back-and-forth play for the first six-plus minutes, CMU put a little distance between itself and Miami when DiGuilio knocked down the second of four first half three-pointers at the 13:52 mark to give the Chippewas a 17-11 lead.
Miami (7-16, 3-9 MAC) answered back with a 7-0 run, capped off by a go-ahead triple by Haley Robertson. Down 18-17, CMU took control of the game with a 15-2 run, thanks in large part to the play of Johnson, who came off the bench to score seven consecutive points, including six off two three-pointers. The Chippewas maintained their 12-point advantage over the half’s remaining four minutes and headed to the locker room up 37-25.
Central Michigan shot 54 percent for the game, including a sizzling 63 (19-of-30) percent from the field in the second half. After turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, CMU had just three in the second, another key to its dominating second half performance.
Miami did not have a player in double figures in scoring but was led by forward Nicole Anderson’s nine points. Kelsey Simon pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with seven points.
The Chippewas are back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 19, traveling for a 7 p.m. showdown with MAC East leader Bowling Green (20-3, 10-1 MAC) at the Falcons’ Stroh Center.