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November 1, 2013

WMU women win in home exhibition tune-up







Six Broncos scored in double figures as the Western Michigan women's basketball team defeated UM-Dearborn 82-58 Friday night, in front of a respectable crowd of 591 fans at University Arena.

As is pretty standard in most exhibition games, the Broncos had to shake off a little rust early. Ultimately, offensive rebounding and good ball movement propelled the Broncos to victory, once things settled down a bit. The Broncos shot just 38.4% on the night.

"Well, it's a starting point," said head coach Shane Clipfell when asked about his overall thoughts regarding his team's performance.

"We didn't shoot as good as we have been shooting in practice situations. We turned it over far too often for the setting that we were in -- most of those were self-inflicted. That's a major concern. Some of it is just finally getting on the court against somebody other than ourselves."

The Broncos got off to a quick start when Miracle Woods scored a quick layup in transition, off the opening tip to take an early 2-0 lead against UM-D. However, the Wolverines wouldn't lie down, as they would take an 11-6 lead into the first media timeout.

Western Michigan then responded with a 16-4 spurt of their own to regain control, sparked by a pair of three-pointers from sophomore forward Jessica Jessing. From there, the ladies kept the momentum going and took a healthy 48-28 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

UM-D opened the second half with another mini-surge, but Western Michigan would again take back control leaving very little doubt in the final outcome.

Michelle O'Brien led all lady Broncos with 15 points and 20 rebounds.

"OB was a monster on the boards," Clipfell said following the game. "Twenty rebounds is something to pat her on the back for."

WMU's Meredith Shipman and Jessica Jessing each finished with 12 points, while Julia Henson also pitched in 11 points.

As most exhibition match-ups usually go for the home team, the Broncos were able to get some of their underclassmen some valuable playing time. Several of them took advantage getting their feet wet.

"I thought Shipman did a great job at point guard for having been thrown into [this situation]," said Clipfell.

"She advanced the ball well in transition and got it to the right person at the right time. I think her game will get better as she gains confidence at that spot."

Clipfell was also pleased at the recent improvement of freshman Larissa Graham in particular.

"Larissa didn't get a lot of run in there but that's a kid who has surprised me in the last ten days of practice. It looks like the growth of her game is going to be at a quicker rate than maybe we anticipated from early on."

UM-D's Danielle Cowart and Jalissa Williams led all scorers with 17 points and 16 points respectively.

Courtney Haley, Marquisha Harris, Alex Morton, and Sierra James did not suit up due to injuries.

The Broncos have one more exhibition game against Trine on Tuesday, November 5th, before they open the regular season on the road at UMass on Friday, November 8th.


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