Another battle of I-94 took place inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center on Wednesday night as the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team took on Mid-American Conference and intrastate rival Western Michigan University.
The Broncos would dominate in a win over the Eagles, marking the 95th meeting between the historic rivalry of EMU and WMU. The all-time series now sits at 53-42 in favor of the Eagles.
It was a bit of a homecoming for WMU head coach Shane Clipfell as he spent nine seasons in the green-and-white as an assistant coach while also serving as acting head coach during the 2006-07 season.
The Eagles would start the game off hot as they ran out to an 8-0 run that was highlighted by two three-pointers from sophomore guard Olivia Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind.) to force a Broncos timeout. A review of Smith’s initial three-pointer during the break would overturn the basket and put the score at 5-0.
WMU would enter a hot zone as they produced a 12-0 run to take the lead from EMU, 12-5, with 2:13 left in the first quarter. The Broncos would close the quarter on a 16-4 run to take a 16-9 lead entering the second quarter.
Things would continue for WMU through the second quarter as they built a 24-9 lead with 4:20 left to play in the first half. The Broncos would extend their lead, 33-16, to close out the first half of play.
The Eagles struggled on both ends of the floor through two quarters as they went 6-for-23 from the field and committed 14 turnovers while WMU found easy shots, putting up a 52% clip with just six first-half turnovers.
EMU would come out of halftime with improved energy starting the third quarter with a 6-0 run to cut the Broncos’ deficit down to 33-22. The rest of the quarter would be mostly WMU as they widened their lead, 56-34.
The fourth quarter would be all WMU as they cruised to a 76-48 win over the Eagles.
The difference maker for the Broncos would be the shooting gap as WMU went 27-for-49 (55.1%) from the field and 10-for-20 from beyond-the-arc. The Eagles struggled in that aspect as they shot 19-for-53 (35.8%) and 4-for-19 (21.1%) from three-point range.
The Broncos have now won four of their last five games improving to 9-10 overall, with a MAC record of 4-5. Meanwhile, the Eagles drop to 5-14 overall, with a conference record of 2-6.
Senior forward Kennedi Myles (Cincinnati, OH.) led the way for the Eagles offensively after finishing with 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Entering the matchup, Myles ranks second in the conference with 8.4 rebounds per game and third in total rebounds with 152.
WMU senior guard Kaitlyn Zarycki (Niles, Mich.) would have a stellar performance for the Broncos as she finished with 26 points, four rebounds, and four assists on 10-for-12 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Maggie Stutelberg (Glenn Ellyn, Ill.) would add 14 points off the bench.
Next up, the Eagles will travel to Buffalo, New York, to take on the University at Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 3. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and it will be streamed on ESPN+.