Lindsay Gerber, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - It was the tale of two halves for the Central Michigan women's basketball team as it dropped its season opener, 79-69, to Purdue before 2,035 on Friday at McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas led by 16 points, 37-21, late in the first half, but the Boilermakers responded with a physical mentality that the Chippewas struggled to match in the final two quarters.
Purdue outscored CMU, 36-13, in the third quarter and the Boilermakers' lead reached 13 points, 63-50, with under eight minutes remaining.
CMU managed to draw within six, 66-60, with under three minutes to play, but was outscored 13-9 down the stretch.
"It was a very disappointing ending for us," said Sue Guevara, who is in her 11th year as CMU's coach. "We started off pretty strong, but unfortunately we started off the third quarter like we finished the second quarter and struggled to take care of the ball. We struggled to defend and through the third quarter, which is about where we lost it."
Andreona keys scored 11 of her 19 points in the third quarter to spark the Boilermakers. The Chippewas committed 23 turnovers in the game, eight of which came in the decisive third quarter.
Junior guard Presley Hudson finished with 21 points, surpassing the 1,000-point plateau for her career. She has 1,017 points and is the 30th player in program history to reach the milestone.
Hudson, who also dished out five assists, finished 8-for-16 from the floor including 4-of-10 from 3-point range.
"Presley is our go-to," Guevara said. "She is a creator for us and brought a tremendous work ethic to our program. She helped changed the culture. People know to stop Central, you have to stop Presley Hudson."
Reyna Frost led Central Michigan, logging a double-double with a team-high 23 points and 16 rebounds. The 6-foot junior finished 10-for-20 from the floor and eight of her boards came on the offensive end.
Micaela Kelly, a redshirt freshman playing her first game for CMU, had 12 points while Cassie Breen added nine.
CMU finished with a 40-24 rebounding edge, but Purdue held a 15-13 advantage in that category in the second half.
"I thought defensively, we were doing a decent job," Guevara said. "We just turned it over and could not get a stop. It didn't matter what defense we were in. At that point, I think their physicality took over."
Karissa McLaughlin led Purdue with 21 points, finishing 7-of-12 from field goal range. She also made three of her six 3-point attempts and logged five assists.
"It's a great experience." Guevara said. "This helps us. We played a good, physical, athletic team. Unfortunately, we didn't respond. That's one thing we have to do."
The Chippewas are scheduled to entertain Vanderbilt on Tuesday (7 p.m.). The Commodores fell, 65-54, to Middle Tennessee in their season opener on Friday.