WMU Falls At the Wire to Eastern Michigan, 56-52
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan women's basketball team dropped its Mid-American Conference opener to Eastern Michigan, 56-52, at University Arena, Jan. 10.
The two West Division rivals traded blows throughout the night, but in the end turnovers proved costly for Western Michigan. The Broncos fumbled the ball away a season-high 28 times, nine more than its season average.
"The key to the game was to value the basketball and get defensive rebounds and we did not do that tonight," said WMU head coach Shane Clipfell. "The team is frustrating at a standpoint, coming into the game we were averaging 17 turnovers a game and we did not continue that tonight. This points to the inconsistent play that we have been battling all year."
Eastern Michigan (3-11, 1-0 MAC) also got a big boost from freshman guard Bianca Cage who came alive for 25 points, shooting 10-for-15 from the floor and 5-for-10 from behind the arc. Cage had played in just four games and totaled a combined 11 points on the season entering the matchup against WMU.
Eastern Michigan led early in the game, but Western Michigan went on a run midway through the first half to turn a seven-point deficit into a seven-point lead. The Broncos trailed 14-7 with 9:12 remaining in the first half and scored 14 unanswered points over the next three minutes to take a 21-14 lead. WMU held onto to a 23-19 lead at the half.
The Eagles tied the score 35-35 at the 11:51 mark of the second half and pulled in front for good on a pair of free throws by Sara Stone with 10:20 to go. Western Michigan kept close, never trailing by more than two possessions, and even tying the game at 52-52 in the final minute, but wouldn't be able to take over a lead again.
The Broncos (4-10, 0-1 MAC) did have a chance to possibly win the game in the final seconds. Down two, WMU inbounded the ball, crossed half court and called a timeout with 12.1 on the clock. Jazmine Windham fired up a three from the left wing, but it rimmed short and Corie Buchanan was unable to muscle up an offensive rebound. The ball rolled out of bounds and EMU threw a baseball pass down court for a layup at the buzzer for a four-point win.
Senior Aurielle Anderson led Western Michigan with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. She scored nine of her 12 points in the second half. Sophomore Marquisha Harris also finished with a dozen points and pulled down four rebounds.
The Broncos shot 40.8 percent in the game, while Eastern Michigan was 38.3 percent from the field. WMU was only outrebounded by four, 36-32, but EMU controlled the offensive glass, 12-5.
Western Michigan returns to University Arena Sunday to host Miami at 2 p.m. The RedHawks (8-6, 0-1 MAC) fell in their MAC opener as well Thursday, 62-59, at Ball State.