By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Central Michigan turned over the basketball 28 times and never led in regulation, but the Chippewas made the plays to beat the Ole Miss women 78-75 in overtime Wednesday afternoon at Tad Smith Coliseum.
The Rebels (6-3) lost their second straight after wins in their previous five games. Central Michigan (4-5) defeated No. 12 Purdue 75-62 before taking on Ole Miss.
A defensive breakdown allowed CMU guard Crystal Bradford to drive through the heart of the lane and lay-in the game-tying shot in the final seconds of regulation.
Bradford was big again in the overtime, stealing a Rebels in-bounds pass and driving for a layup for a three-point lead with 1 minute, 8 seconds on the clock.
The Rebels were throwing the ball in under the CMU basket when Bradford took it away.
It was one of 26 turnovers in the game for Ole Miss.
“This one hurts, the missed opportunities, the chip shots,” Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said.
The Rebels opened with a 9-0 run, much of it fueled by center Nikki Byrd.
But the Chippewas’ zone made finding Byrd difficult the rest of the way. She finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds and fouled out with 26 seconds left in overtime.
Valencia McFarland led the Rebels with 24 points on 6-for-14 shooting.
Central Michigan was 0-for-11 from 3-point range when it tied the game at 62 on Taylor Johnson’s 3-point shot from just left of the key.
Regulation ended at 64-all.
The Chippewas were able to overcome the turnovers with 61 rebounds and had a plus-17 margin on the glass.
Ladner, though, felt her team’s own turnovers and ball-handling were key factors in the loss.
“They were not pressing, but we were passive against the zone, and when you’re tentative, people get hands in passing lanes, knock down passes and get lay-ups on the other end.”