As the teams entered the game tonight, you could tell they knew it was starting to get to crunch time. It is three team race in the West. Going into the game Central Michigan was a game and a half behind conference leader Northern Illinois. Both teams play an exciting brand of basketball, and there was an energy associated with the start of the game.
Presley Hudson started the game off with an NBA range three, almost like an indicator of the scoring explosion we expected from both teams.
Central Michigan jumped out to an early lead, 16-9, at the first timeout of the game with 4:47 left.
An Aleah Swary layup stretched the lead to 20-11. Northern Illinois stormed back, with Cassidy Glenn tying it at 23 with a three pointer.
Swary answered, and the Chippewas led 25-23.
The Chippewas jumped all over Northern Illinois in the 2nd quarter, mainly by killing them on the offensive glass. The Chips led in rebounds, 33-16. Their 13-2 margin on the offensive end was crucial.
A Swary jumper gave the Chips their largest lead of the quarter, 53-30.
Northern Illinois didn’t give up, eventually closing the lead to 16, 56-40.
For the half, three Chippewas were in double digits in scoring. Presley Hudson had 13, Swary 12, and Cassie Breen 10. Reyna Frost had 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Cassidy Glenn had 13 for the Huskies and Ally Lehman added 10
Both teams started the quarter hot, with CMU stretching their lead ever so slightly, 68-51 with 5:53 to go.
The Huskies battled back, mainly by driving to the basket. They got the lead down to 10 with 3:39 to go.
Central Michigan fought back, and pushed the lead back up to 14, 84-70. CMU’s interior play was a huge factor.
Ally Lehman led the Huskies with 27, and Cassidy Glenn added 16.
The Chippewas were led by Reyna Frost, with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Aleah Swary also had 17 points. Presley Hudson added 16 .
CMU continued to pound it down low. A nifty little spinning hook shot by Reyna Frost put the Chippewas up 90-70. The Huskies were forced to call a timeout with 7:58.
The Huskies came out of the timeout on fire, dropping the lead to 12 before Swary hit a jumper at the elbow to push it back up to 92-78 for the Chippewas.
Mikayla Voigt hit a jumper and was fouled, putting the Huskies down 11 with 5 minutes and change to go.
A Lehman jumper knocked the lead down to 10 with 2:52 to go in the game.
After a couple of FT misses by CMU, Frost got her 6th offensive rebound of the game, and kicked it to Hudson who was fouled. She knocked down both free throws.
A Courtney Woods three pointer brought down the lead to 9 with 2:15 to go.
It then became the foul game, and Central was able to knock down their free throws.
Central Michigan Chippewas 109, Northern Illinois Huskies 94
Rebounding was the big difference in this game. The Chippewas held a 58-30 edge. On the offensive glass, they had 21 compared to 9 for the Huskies.
Ally Lehman nearly had a triple double for the Huskies, with 31 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists. Cassidy Glenn added 21 points.
For the Chippewas, Reyna Frost scored 24 on 11-15 shooting and grabbed 18 rebounds. Presley Hudson scored 24 and added 9 assists. Aleah Swary scored 21 points. Tinara Moore had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Huskies drop to 16-6 on the season, and 9-2 in the MAC. They head to Buffalo next.
Central Michigan moved to 17-6 on the season, and 9-2 in the MAC. They host Western Michigan in their next game.