When she first took the floor in 2015, no one really thought very much of true freshman Presley Hudson. Hudson, a five-foot-six point guard from Wayland Union HS (about 26 minutes from Grand Rapids), was the replacement for Jessica Green, a offensive-minded guard that helped pace some of the greatest teams in CMU women’s history.
CMU was definitely in a rebuilding year, having lost multiple contributors from the 2013 NCAA Tournament team, including Green, defensive specialist Jas’Mine Bracey and of course, Crystal Bradford, who is considered to be one of the greatest players in CMU women’s history. Bradford was selected in the 2014 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, one of two Mid-American Conference players to ever achieve the honor.
Head coach Sue Guevara, of course, saw great potential with Hudson, a dynamic shooter with ball skills that betrayed her years.
It took only two career games for people to remember the name Presley Hudson. Hudson scorched the nets in two games against Indiana State and Oakland University, scoring 53 combined points on 60-percent field goal percentage, including 8-of-17 on three-point attempts, while averaging 4.5 rebounds and assists. She was named MAC West Player of the Week and the College Sports Madness High-Major Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for her efforts.
That was only the beginning.
Hudson finished the season scoring double-digit points in a team-high 27 games and finished first in the conference in free throw percentage (88.4%) while placing fourth all-time in school history in three-point shots made with 85. Hudson was the only freshman in the conference to lead her team in points per game (13.9,) a distinction that earned her MAC Freshman of the Year honors. Husdon also finished second-team All-MAC as a true freshman, a rare accomplishment.
CMU went from rebuilding team to a dominant MAC favorite, going all the way to the MAC Championship Game in Cleveland before falling to Buffalo.
This year, CMU faces a tough battle in the hyper-competitive MAC West, currently sitting atop the division tied with a surprising NIU squad at 5-0, with Western Michigan and Ball State sitting right under them at 4-1. Even fifth-place Toledo is no slouch at 3-2. The pressure hasn’t seemed to get to the Chips, who have managed to only turn up the heat in conference.
Hudson has scored no lower than 32 points in five conference games, including a historic 43 points against Ball State that broke an all-time program record. Hudson currently averages 33.8 points per game in five conference games and 20.1 PPG overall to lead the Chippewas, shooting at a 41.9 percent clip from three and improving her free throw percentage to 89.2 percent. That’s good enough for second overall in the conference. Hudson also leads the conference in minutes played, averaging 36.6 MPG, including all 40 minutes in her 43 point performance against Ball State.
Even in high-pressure situations, Hudson has managed to put the team on her back, most recently scoring 11 of her 34 points against Bowling Green on the road in OT to help CMU remain perfect. Hudson went 9-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the three-point line in the second half and OT after being held to only five in the first half.
This is made all the more impressive considering Hudson is only a true sophomore this season.
Hudson and the rest of Team 49 continues a legacy for a program that has had dominant players such as Green, Bradford, Niki DiGuilio, Taylor Johnson, Shonda Long, Jodi Beerman and Sue Nissen, with the goal of reaching an NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
CMU played in the NIT as a regular-season champion last season and participated in the Preseason WNIT to start off the 2016-2017 season, so there is the possibility CMU could get an at-large bid should things go right.
Hudson is going to be a major part of turning the Chippewas from contenders to champions and it’s going to be really fun to watch the young gun lead the ride.
The Chips next play the Miami RedHawks at home on Wed. Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on ESPN3.