Lindsay Gerber, CMUChippewas.com
DAYTON, Ohio – A hopeful start ended as a disappointing finish Thursday for the Central Michigan women’s basketball team as it fell in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament against Wright State, 66-64, in the Nutter Center.
The Mid-American Conference regular-season champions ended their season 23-9. It was their fifth trip to the WNIT in the last seven years under head coach Sue Guevara.
The Raiders advanced to 26-8 and will face Michigan, which defeated Kent State, 67-60, in the second round of the tournament.
“A very disappointing loss, once again,” said Guevara, who remains one victory shy of 300th for her career. “Turnovers got us early. Our last three shots were all in the paint and not one went down. Big players make big plays, and we didn’t have any big plays tonight.”
Cassie Breen led the Chippewas in scoring with 20 points. The junior guard was 58.3 percent from the field. Tinara Moore recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Reyna Frost had eight points and 12 rebounds. Hudson had 11 points for CMU. Breen and Moore both reached 1,000 points for their career. Presley Hudson’s three assists against Wright State were enough for her to tie the single-season assist record with 156. She stands at the top spot with Suzy Merchant (1990-91) and Brandie Baker (2010-11).
The Chippewas closed the 2016-17 season with several highlights. Hudson made nine 3-pointers and set a program record in January with 43 points against Ball State. Hudson had a 12-assist game against North Dakota State in November. Moore set a CMU record with nine blocks against Northern Illinois in February. Overall, CMU set a program mark with 15 home victories as the Chippewas won 20 or more games for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
Wright State had the largest lead of 11 at the start of the second quarter, but Central Michigan whittled the deficit to 27-18 with a free throw by Frost. CMU trailed by five points at the half, 33-28.
The Chippewas took their first lead since the start of the game when Breen sunk one from behind the arc with 7:27 left in the third. A layup by Jewel Cotton put CMU up 40-37, and from there it was a back-and-forth effort.
Central Michigan led by three with just over two minutes remaining, but foul trouble put the Raiders within one, and they took the lead with less than a minute remaining.
Chelsea Welch and Symone Simmons combined for 41 points for the Raiders.
CMU was 85 percent at the free-throw line and 24-of-56 from the field. The Chippewas out-rebounded Wright State, 40-30.