PEORIA, Ill. -- Central Michigan had four players score in double figures and the Chippewas shot 54.5 percent from the field in the second half to pull away from Bradley in the final 20 minutes and top the Braves 73-58 Friday afternoon at Renaissance Coliseum.
Junior Catie O'Leary (Janesville, Wis./Parker/Wisconsin) scored a game-high 17 points and senior Katie Yohn (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) turned in her first career double-double with 13 points and career-high 14 rebounds to lead Bradley (0-1 overall). Junior Alyson Spinas-Valainis (Davenport, Iowa/Assumption) matched a career-best with eight points in her first career start and fellow junior Kelly Frings (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) chipped in with nine points off the bench.
After a sluggish start to the contest for BU, senior Yohn highlighted a 12-3 Bradley run with five points to put the Braves in front 18-16 with just under seven minutes remaining in the opening period. O'Leary later scored eight consecutive points to give Bradley a 26-25 lead heading into the final minute of the first half. Central Michigan scored the final hoop of the period, however, and took a 27-26 lead into the break.
The Braves limited Central Michigan (1-0 overall) to 28.6 percent shooting in the second half, but the Chippewas scored 32 points in the paint in the second half and shot 54.5 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes to pull away from BU down the stretch.
A Frings three-point play pulled BU within three points (40-37) with 14 minutes to play, but a 12-5 Central Michigan spurt quickly pushed the Chippewas advantage to double digits (52-42) midway through the second half.
Central Michigan scored on 10 consecutive possessions, extending the advantage to 15 points (64-49) with just under six minutes left on the clock and held a 16-point advantage with four and a half minutes remaining. Bradley cut the CMU advantage to 10 points on a Frings' three-pointer with 58 seconds left, but got no closer down the stretch as the Chippewas took the opener 73-58. Bradley shot 26.8 percent from the field in the second half and finished the contest shooting 29.9 percent.
Preseason All-Mid American Conference selection Crystal Bradford led Central Michigan with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to pace four Chippewas in double figures. Jessica Green added 15 points and Jas'Mine Bracey had 12 points and nine boards off the bench, while Niki Diguilio scored 10 points in the win.
The crowd of 1,474 on hand as part of Field Trip Day presented by Applebee's was the largest crowd for a Bradley home opener since drawing 2,068 fans for the 2005-06 season opener.
Yohn moved into 15th in career scoring with her 13-point effort, passing Carol Baresch (1,018 career points) on the all-time scoring chart. Yohn pushed her career scoring total to 1,025 points and needs eight points to move up two spots into 13th in career scoring at BU.
Bradley opens a season-long five-game road swing Monday with a 7 p.m. game at Eastern Illinois.