Muncie, Ind. — Junior Crystal Bradford recorded her second triple-double of the season and Central Michigan came storming back from a 19-point second-half deficit to force overtime before holding on for a win at Ball State Thursday evening, 84-81.
Bradford finished with 26 points, 24 of which came in the second half and overtime, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in becoming the first player in program history to record multiple triple doubles.
The Chippewas (14-8, 10-0 MAC) trailed by as much as 19 in the second half, 47-28, but responded with a 10-0 run following a 30-second timeout by head coach Sue Guevara to cut the deficit to nine with 15:11 to play, 47-38.
The deficit remained at nine at the 11:26 mark, 58-49, but the Cardinals held CMU without a field goal for the next three minutes to push the lead back to 15, 65-50, following a layup by Brandy Woody.
Bradford took over and scored six-straight points to cut the deficit to single digits and junior Jessica Green came away with a steal and was fouled before calmy hitting a pair of free throws to bring it to seven, 67-60.
Woody was fouled with 2:43 to play and made one of two at the line to extend the lead to 68-60, setting up the dramatic 8-0 run to close regulation by the Chippewas.
Bradford scored three points the old fashioned way and after a steal by junior Jas'Mine Bracey on the other end, hit a right-wing three with 1:04 to play to pull CMU within a pair, 68-66.
Sophomore Da'Jourie Turner forced a turnover on Woody on the other end with 37 seconds left only to bring the ball up the floor on CMU's next possession and drive through the heart of Ball State's defense to score the game-tying field goal with 23 seconds on the clock.
The Cardinals had a look at an open three in the closing seconds, but Shelbie Justice's attempt fell short.
Katie Murphy made a free throw to put the Cardinals in front first in overtime, but Bradford found Bracey underneath on CMU's next possession to secure her triple-double. Bracey was fouled on the play and converted a three-point play to give CMU a 71-69 lead.
Another layup in traffic by Bradford extended CMU's lead to four, 73-69, but the Cardinals scored four straight to tie the game. Green and Justice traded baskets before Turner gave the Chippewas the lead for good with a three-point play with 2:11 on the clock.
The Cardinals cut the lead to one three more times, but CMU responded with a layup by Green and a pair of free throws from both seniors Taylor Johnson and DiGuilio.
After DiGuilio made both free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining and a timeout by the Cardinals, Brittany Carter took a three contest by Bracey in the corner that charomed off the back of the rim.
Bracey posted her third-straight double-double, scoring 20 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Green finished with 15 points, while DiGuilio had seven.
CMU is back in action Sunday afternoon for its annual 'Pink Game' versus Buffalo at 2 p.m.