Mount Pleasant, Mich. - The Central Michigan women's basketball program and head coach Sue Guevara held its annual media day Thursday morning in McGuirk Arena as the official kickoff to the 2013-14 season.
Guevara and the Chippewas hosted an open practice for the media before taking questions on their upcoming season in which they will look to repeat as the Mid-American Conference Tournament champions and return to the NCAA Tournament.
Following the practice, Guevara held a 15 minute press conference where she previewed the season and spoke about the challenges that are in front of the Maroon and Gold.
"We are going to work very hard to win the West Divison and win the MAC Tournament to get back to the NCAA Tournament," Guevara said. "Would it be disappointed if we didn't win it? Yeah. I'm not going to lie about that. Everyone in the league has scheduled better, so maybe we can make some noise as a league. The only guarentee we have [to get to the NCAA Tournament] is to win the MAC Tournament."
Though much of the preseason attention has surrounded preseason All-MAC selections juniors Crystal Bradford and Jessica Green, the development of the rest of the squad is what gives Guevara the confidence that the Chippewas can have another successful season.
"Da'Jourie Turner has really improved and is going to get a lot of time for us," Guevara said. "Kerby Tamm and Jordan LaDuke have been two of the most improved players for us. You throw in a Jewel Cotton, a player who redshirted for us last year, it is going to be important to get that experience in the non-conference so they aren't wide eyed when we get into MAC play."
CMU will once again face one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country as eight of the 12 games will be played against NCAA Tournament opponents. CMU will also play just two home games during the non-conference schedule. The ultimate goal for CMU is to win the MAC and return to the NCAA Tournament, something the "brutal" non-conference should prepare them for.
"Our schedule is hellacious, brutal, whatever you want to say," Guevara said of the schedule. "At UMASS, at Kentucky, at Marquette and then Kansas, Duke and Xavier on a neutral court. We don't even get to come home until December 5 and then we play Dayton. Those teams get us ready. The goal is to improve every single game and win the games, but to get us ready for the MAC Tournament."
CMU opens the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Massachusetts.