Cullen Maksimowski, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — It didn’t come as easily this time, but the result was nearly as impressive.
The Central Michigan women’s basketball team claimed its second victory of the season over Akron, 81-60, in a Mid-American Conference contest Saturday at McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas defeated the Zips in Akron, 97-77, on Jan. 9. CMU has won seven of its last 10 starts, and is 11-7 overall, 5-2 MAC. Akron is 10-8, 4-3.
The win moved CMU into second place in the MAC West, one game behind first-place Ball State.
“Every time you play a team a second time around you know something is going to change,” CMU coach Sue Guevara said. “I was pleased for the most part with how we played. I know I may not have looked like it all the time, but I was pleased.”
CMU shot 38.5 percent from the field compared to 31.3 by Akron and held a commanding 48-29 rebounding advantage.
The win marks the eighth game CMU has scored at least 80 points and is the eighth time they have outscored an opponent by at least 20 points.
The Chippewas pulled away midway through the third quarter. Presley Hudson hit a jumper to break a 43-43 tie and spark a 16-1 CMU run that culiminated in a pair of Tinara Moore free throws with 1 minute, 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
That left CMU up 59-44. The Zips never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way, and the Chippewas won going away.
“Going into the second half we saw a little bit of a slump,” CMU sophomore guard Cassie Breen said. “Sometimes we get lost in the other teams and lose track of what we’re doing, but we’re starting to know when we need start playing our game.”
Freshman forward Reyna Frost paced the Chippewas with 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, while Breen hit four of her eight 3-point tries to finish with 17 points.
After tying an NCAA record, going 16-of 16 from the field in the first meeting with Akron, Moore drew a lot of the Zips defensive attention early in the game but was still an effective scorer when she was sent to the free-throw line, where she finished 7-for-9 and totaled 15 points.
“I thought Akron did a nice job early on covering Tinara considering what happened last time,” Guevara said. “We know that she’s going to get a lot of attention and I think she has done a nice job of working on her free throw on her own and embracing how important it is to our team.”
Moore added seven rebounds, ending her double-double streak at six games.
Junior forward Jewel Cotton left the game with an apparent knee injury after a collision with an Akron defender. Her status is unknown. Cotton suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fourth game last season.
Anita Brown posted 23 points Akron, while Hannah Plybon added 14.
CMU will remain at home for the next to games, the first against Western Michigan on Wednesday, Jan.27; the second agains Miami (Ohio) on Saturday, Jan. 30.