After dropping four consecutive games on the road, the Western Michigan University women’s basketball team returned home to cruise to an easy 80-38 win over Chicago State Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore guard A.J. Johnson recorded 16 points and seven steals, both career highs, while sophomore forward Marquisha Harris scored a career high 18 points on 9 of 10 shooting from the floor.
The Broncos displayed an overall team effort on both sides of the court, setting season highs in points scored, assists, steals, and field goal percentage, and holding the Cougars to only 38 points on 25.5 percent shooting.
Head Coach Shane Clipfell applauded his team’s selflessness and teamwork, particularly on the defensive end, which was apparent right from the tip.
“It was a selfless game,” Clipfell said. “That is what it felt like to me as it was unfolding.”
“What set the tone was in the beginning when we picked up charges early on their drivers. That is something our team has somewhat been unwilling to do, but today we got in and picked up the calls. That is what to me set the tone in what I am calling the most selfless game we played to date.”
WMU put a ‘15’ on the home side of the scoreboard before Chicago State was able score a single point. The broncos never looked back from there.
Johnson displayed a great individual effort at the end of the half, compiling a 7-0 run all on her own to extend the Broncos lead to 45-16 going into intermission.
The Holt, Mich. native recorded three steals within the last 45 seconds of the half, which all turned into points on the other end. She converted two free throws, completed a tough three point play at the rim, and capped off her spurt by hitting a jumper with 25 seconds remaining.
“Coach has been trying to get me to pressure the ball more and I finally did. I had it in my head and I was like, I’m (going) to do this. And then actually finishing the layup was good because usually I get a little flustered, and from there I was just ready to run all over the place, so I’m gaining confidence,” Johnson said.
Western Michigan started strong again in the second half as they opened with a 12-1 run, and they eventually pulled away to complete their best effort of the season.
“We were all saying in the locker room that we are there, and we just need to finish”, Johnson said. “We can compete with teams, it’s not like we are at a disadvantage physically or mentally. After that game we were saying all that we did good, but just that we needed to finish the game, which we did today.”
Freshman forward Miracle Woods had a strong game inside for the Broncos recording a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Corie Buchanan also played well dishing out a season-high eight assists.
For the Cougars, guard Tierra Williams led the team in scoring with 14 points, and guard Jazzmyn Harvey added nine.
The Broncos’ next game will be next Saturday at 2 p.m. as they take on Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.