Central Michigan, celebrating its 50th year, did something Saturday for the first time: The Chippewas won an NCAA Tournament game.
More than that, CMU, the No. 11 seed in the Spokane regional, upset No. 6 seed LSU 78-69 — not that it was the biggest news of the weekend in college basketball, coach Sue Guevara conceded.
“Holy cow, who would have thought a 16 would beat a 1 — it’s March madness,” Guevara said, alluding to University of Maryland-Baltimore County’s ambush of men’s overall No. 1 seed Virginia on Friday night.
That’s why going into the game against LSU in St. John Arena late Saturday morning Guevara vowed “We will not get caught up in a seed, a number. We just get caught up in a game plan, and execute a game plan.”
The plan against LSU was simple, “take care of the ball … and rebound,” Guevara said. Tinara Moore, the CMU post player who was the Mid-American Conference player of the year and defensive player of the year, was right in the middle of it.
“I don’t think we had anything to prove,” Moore said. “We knew we are a good basketball team, just play like we are capable.”
Led by Moore, the Chippewas were relentless. She led all scorers with 25 points, and added seven rebounds, but with her on the boards was teammate Reyna Frost, who made 12 and also scored 12 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Micaela “Twin” Kelly added 17 points and Presley Hudson 12.
LSU, led by Chloe Jackson’s 24 points, ran a small lineup most of the game and had to deal with the 6-foot-3 Moore primarily one-on-one. The Tigers never had a consistent answer as Moore roamed the lane from bottom to top, always seeking the ball.
“She was player of the year (in the MAC) for a reason,” LSU senior guard Raigyne Louis said. “Give credit to her. She made the plays for her team.”