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Central Michgian Defeats Toledo 84-71 In MAC WBB Opener

Fired up Chips blast the Rockets in the second half to claim their first conference victory of 2014.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

CMU's star player Crystal Bradford was the story of the second half and of this game. Bradford scored 22 points in the second half as she overcame a sluggish first half where she was 1-10 and had only two points. Bradford and her teamamtes lit McGuirk Arena up in the second half with a bombardment of threes and an uptempo game that was too much for UT to handle.

As a team, the Chippewas shot a torrid 44% from beyond the three point line. CMU Head Coach Sue Guevara said in the post-game TV interview that CMU's second half strategy was simple: Start penetrating into the paint. The strategy proved successful as the Chippewas began attacking the glass and started knocking down open threes. The Chippewas outscored the Rockets 49-34 in the second half.

The game was hotly contested in the first half with Toledo holding on to a 37-35 lead at intermission. Junior Inma Zanoguera scored the first six points of the second half for Toledo and it looked like the Rockets had taken control of the game. In a flash, Bradford took over by leading her team on two impressive offensive possessions that launched an 11-0 CMU run. A Bradford three put the Chippewas up 64-53. The dagger came a few moments later when another Bradford three put the game out of reach at 72-57. From there, the Chippewas cruised and ran out the clock.

CMU Senior guard Niki DiGuilio was 4-11 in three point attempts and now stands as the all-time CMU leader in three point field goals with 233. Zanoguera led the Rockets with 14 points.

CMU out rebounded Toledo 47-44 and also held an edge in points off turnovers 20-13.

Neither team will have a chance to collect any rust. Next up for the Rockets is a home clash against Northern Illinois on Thursday at 11:00 am. The Chippewas, road warriors so far this year, hit the road again for a battle against the Akron Zips next Thursday.