Senior Sports Reporter
Western Michigan women’s basketball traveled to Ypsilanti, Mich. to go toe-to-toe with MAC rival Eastern Michigan but fell short in their effort, 73-69, on Saturday despite key players reaching career marks.
Sophomore Michelle O’Brien had carrer high 21 points. O’Brien came off of the bench and provided a huge spark to for the Broncos both offensively and defensively.
“It felt awesome to be able to provide a spark,” said O’Brien, a Buffalo Grove, Ill. native. ”We knew it was going to be an important, tough game, so I just had to go in there when I got an opportunity and try to make something happen. As far as reaching a career high, I wasn’t really thinking about that in the game, I was more concerned with trying to make a comeback.”
The game was a battle until the very end. WMU held a 61-59 lead with under three minutes to play but the Eagles went on a nine point run to put the game out of reach. The loss, WMU’s second in a row, left the team feeling disappointed and looking for improvements.
“It was obviously a very disappointing loss against a team we thought we were able to beat,” O’Brien said. ”I think the team will come back to practice [Monday] and start preparing for our next opponent. We can’t let this loss affect our mindset for the upcoming tournament, because once tournament time comes, anything can happen.”
Freshmen Jessica Jessing and senior Aurielle Anderson also hit career highs against EMU. Jessing scored 13 points and Anderson had 10 assists, but it was O’Brien’s hot shooting that kept the team in the game and provided more opportunities for other teammates.
“I think once I hit my first shot I just had a lot of confidence,” O’Brien said. ”Then I hit my next two and the basket definitely seemed bigger. I also think since my teammates were hitting shots it’s very contagious. Once one person starts hitting everybody seems to start hitting.”
The Broncos shot an impressive 46.3 percent for the game compared to EMU’s 39.4 percent, but EMU controlled the offensive boards and used them to outscore WMU 20-6 in second-chance baskets.
WMU (9-17, 5-8 MAC) hosts MAC West leader Toledo Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at University Arena. Following the game they have only two more games left in the regular season before the MAC conference tournament.
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