Central Michigan forward Jas'Mine Bracey was everywhere on Thursday night at the Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio. Bracey led her team in scoring with 21 points. She also had a game high 13 rebounds on her way to a double-double. Bracey ignited an uptempo performance by the Chippewas in the second half that left the Zips standing in the dust.
It was a tight game in the first half as both teams traded baskets and leads several times. Then, Bracey made a layup with 8:16 left that lit the fuse for the Chippewas' offense, putting CMU in front 28-24. A five-point run gave the them a 33-24 lead at 7:06. There was no looking back for CMU from that point on.
It was Central's bench that did the heavy lifting the rest of the way until halftime with Da'Jourie Turner having tallied eight points and Taylor Johnson adding nine. Akron's high scoring duo of Rachel Tecca and Hanna Luburgh combined for 29 first half points, but they had very little help from anyone else on the Akron squad as Central Michigan went into the half with a 52-43 lead.
Things got out of hand for Akron very quickly in the second half as Crystal Bradford came alive. Bradford scored 13 second half points and energized an already high-flying CMU team. The result was a Chippewa team playing in rhythm. Akron could not compete with the fast paced CMU offense. A hard foul by Akron guard Kacie Cassell on CMU three-point-ace Niki DiGuilio at 15:21 was met with a similar foul by Taylor Johnson of CMU on Akron forward Rachel Tecca. So much for the rough stuff.
Akron did manage to go on a 9-0 run that brought the Zips to within 11 at 67-56. However, seven Chippewas reached double figures in the second half as Akron was outscored 57-40 by CMU to close out the game.
Central Michigan is now 2-0 in MAC play. The Chippewas' next opponent will be Buffalo for an away game starting on Sunday at 2:00 pm EST. The Zips fall to 1-1 in MAC play and will head west on Sunday for a game against Bowling Green that will also start at 2:00 pm EST.