Central Michigan (20-15) at Illinois State (18-12)
Thursday, March 15, 8:05 p.m. (ET), Normal, Ill., Redbird Arena
WNIT First Round
Live Audio: cmuchippewas.com
Radio: 91.5 wmhw-fm
For the second consecutive season the Central Michigan women's basketball team has earned a bid to the WNIT. It will face Illinois State on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. (ET). The Chippewas (20-15) rode a seven-game winning streak to the Mid-American Conference championship game, their first trip since 1991. The Maroon and Gold were defeated 72-71 by Eastern Michigan on a last second basket. In the Redbirds' (18-12) last outing, seventh-seeded Drake pulled the first-round upset over the second seed, 56-54, in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
It will have been 363 days since these last two saw each other. In CMU's first trip to the WNIT it traveled to Normal where the Redbirds claimed a 72-59 first-round victory. The Chippewas shot 29 percent from the floor while Illinois State went 25-for-52 from the field for a blistering 48.1 percent. Jalisa Olive and Taylor Johnson both came off the bench to score in double-digits, with 13 and 17 points, respectively. Brandie Baker finished the game with eight points, nine rebound and three assists. The Redbirds received 18 points from Katie Broadway off the bench. The ISU starters combined for 49 points and all graduated at the completion of the season.
Illinois State leads the all-time series with CMU, 7-1. ISU won the first six meetings, with four in the 1970's and a home-and-home series in 1994-95. The Chippewas' only win came on Nov. 25, 2001 in Redbird Arena, 72-62. CMU is 0-3 when playing on the road against the Redbirds.
|(1) G||3||Jessica Green
Finished the MAC Tournament averaging 12.2 points per game and 2.8 assists.
Finished the MAC tournament a perfect 2-for-2 from the floor while dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds.
Baker is currently seven points away from 1,000. She finished the MAC Tournament averaging 7.2 points and 2.4 assists.
|(4) F||32||Jas'Mine Bracey
Recorded her fifth double-double during the MAC Tournament against BG with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Finished the tournament averaging 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.
Scored in double figures in three out of the five tournament games. She averaged 10 points and four rebounds while passing out 3.8 assists.
News and Notes
WNIT-- For the second straight year, and second time in program history, CMU will be competing in the WNIT. It is currently 0-1 after falling 72-59 to Illinois State last year.
This is also only the second time in program history that the Chippewas are advancing to the postseason in back-to-back seasons (the first was in 1983 and 1984 when CMU advanced to the NCAA Tournament).
Familiar to Tournament Play -- The Chippewas have competed in four tournaments this year. They currently are 9-3 during tournament play including a recent 4-1 run through the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The Maroon and Gold played five games in seven days during the conference tournament. They defeated the No. 1, 4, 8 and 12 seeds before falling to the No. 2 seed, Eastern Michigan, on a last-second bucket. It was the first time since 1991 that CMU had advanced to the championship game.
The Chippewas finished the tournament averaging 72.4 points per game while holding the opponent to only 63.8. CMU shot 42.9 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from behind the arc. It managed to out-rebound the other team and produce more assists, steals and blocks.
Reaching 200 -- Guevara is now only one win away from capturing career win number 200 (currently at 199). She has collected 76 while at CMU and 123 as head coach at Michigan. Guevara would become the eighth coach in the MAC to claim career win 200. Overall Guevara holds a 199-163 (.550) record.
Becoming the 20th Chippewa -- Brandie Baker is now seven points away from becoming the 20th player in CMU history to record 1,000 career points.
Not Freshmen Anymore -- Crystal Bradford, Jessica Green and Jas'Mine Bracey combined for 34 out of the 71 points scored against EMU, 40 out of the 69 points scored against BG, 46 out of the 58 points scored against OU and 57 of the 78 against Miami. Bradford has also recorded a double-double in three out of the five tournament games.
Setting Records -- Crystal Bradford has 55 total blocks on the season placing her second on the CMU single-season block list. She has 183 made field goals this year which ties her for eighth most in a single-season. Bradford also has 68 steals this year, which is the 10th most during a single season. Niki DiGuilio currently has 123 three-pointers placing her fifth on the CMU career list. She has also made 55 this season, which ties her for seventh on the single-season records. Brandie Baker currently has 331 total assists during her CMU tenure, placing her fifth.
Peaking at the Right Time -- The Chippewas had their seven-game winning streak snapped in the 72-71 loss to Eastern Michigan. It tied their longest streak since 1987-1988. In the past seven games they are averaging 70.2 points per game, while holding the opponent to 58.5. The Maroon and Gold are also out-rebounding their opponent by just under one and producing more assists. They are averaging six fewer turnovers and steals as well.
Take Care of the Ball -- For the 15th-straight game CMU has managed fewer than 20 turnovers, by only committing 19 against EMU. It is also the longest streak for a CMU team while under Guevara.
High Scoring Offense -- CMU scored 71 total points in the loss to Eastern Michigan, making it the 19th time this season they have scored 70 or more points. When scoring 70 or more points this season the Chippewas are 12-7 and are 60-35 under Guevara. The Maroon and Gold have broken the 70-point barrier nine times against conference teams.
Getting Some Bench Help -- For the sixth-straight game the Chippewa bench out-scored the opponent's bench, 23-2. On the season the Maroon and Gold bench is now averaging 25.1 points per game, well above the opposing team's 16.6.
Guevara Still At It -- Head coach Sue Guevara is in her fifth season at the helm of the Chippeaws. For the first time since 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons CMU has won 20 or more games in consecutive seasons. This season's 20 wins marks only the fifth time in program history of reaching this mark. In 157 games on the bench at CMU a player has scored 20-plus points on 103 occasions. She coached CMU to its third MAC championship game in program history and its second time in the WNIT.