CMU Women Face Big Road Test In MAC Opener

Junior guard Presley Hudson and her Chippewa teammates open MAC play on Saturday at Ball State.
Dec. 29, 2017

Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com

MUNCIE, Ind. – One of the pillars of Sue Guevara’s Central Michigan women’s basketball program is a challenging take-on-all-comers schedule.

The Chippewas’ November and December slates annually include ranked teams from Power 5 conferences, and the very best mid-majors that the 11th-year CMU coach can find.

That was the case, again, in 2017-18, as the Chippewas emerged from that rugged nonconference slate 8-3 and ranked 13th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.

Next up is the Mid-American Conference opener, and there is no easing into it for Guevara’s Chippewas.

The opponent is Ball State, which is 11-0, ranked fifth in the mid-major poll, and at 22, the highest-rated MAC team in the RPI. CMU carries an RPI of 104.

The teams square off in Muncie, Ind. on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Although it’s just the first of 18 MAC regular-season games, the result could loom large in a showdown of teams that have already shown they are among the league’s elite.

The Chippewas were picked to win the MAC West, the MAC regular-season title, and the league tournament in the preseason poll of conference coaches. Ball State was picked to finish third in the West.

A year ago, CMU finished 15-3 in league play, winning the West and the overall league crown. Ball State went 14-4, finishing second in the West and overall. The teams split their two regular-season meetings in 2016-17.

That the Chippewas and the Cardinals are among the elite in the MAC is not at all surprising. CMU returned four starters, three of whom – Presley Hudson, Tinara Moore and Reyna Frost -- earned All-MAC honors a year ago. Ball State also returned three all-leaguers, Carmen Grande, Moriah Monaco and Destiny Washington.

• Monoaco leads the Cardinals in scoring at 17.0 points per game. She is one of five on the Ball State roster who are scoring in double figures.

• Hudson ranks third in the MAC in scoring at 18.8 points per game, while Moore (16.4) is sixth.

• Frost leads the league and ranks third nationally with 13 rebounds per game. Moore, at 8.2, is sixth in the conference. CMU leads the MAC in rebounding margin (plus 9.2).

• The Chippewas rank second in the nation in free throw shooting, making 82.7 percent of their attempts.

• The Chippewas lost their last two starts, 64-61, to Duquesne and 84-70 to Quinnipiac.

“We need to have a short memory,” CMU coach Sue Guevara said after the loss to Quinnipiac. “It was disappointing to say the least, but now it’s conference time.”

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