MOUNT PLEASANT — Finally, Taylor Johnson can concentrate on team basketball.
The Central Michigan senior and 2010 graduate of Belding High School scored her 1,000th career point Saturday when the Chippewas beat Bowling Green in overtime 82-79.
Johnson came into the game against the Falcons needing five points to become the 23rd player in CMU women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points. Earlier this season teammates Crystal Bradford and Niki DiGuilio reached that mark.
“I knew I only needed five points,” Johnson said after the game. “But at that point in the game I needed to get the team going. My job on the team was trying to be a spark plug. I knew we had to keep pushing forward to get the win.”
Johnson’s clinching basket was a three-pointer from the top of the key after Bradford had driven the ball down the lane. Bradford kicked the ball out to Johnson who hit the three with 10:53 left in the second half.
“It was a relief to finally get it,” Johnson said.
Johnson finished the game with 12 points, one of five players for the Chippewas in double-figures. She now has 1,007 career points.
CMU came back from an 11-point deficit with 3:18 to play by going on a 14-3 run to send the game into overtime.
“The thing was we knuckled down on defensive end,” Johnson said. “We settled down on defense and started getting good shots. Our defensive end of the floor was so much better and we picked it up offensively.”
More importantly, CMU remained on top of the Mid-American Conference West Division with the overtime win, going to 5-0. The Chippewas are the only MAC team undefeated in conference play.
“Two or three years ago Bowling Green came in and we went into overtime and we lost to them,” Johnson said. “So them coming back here and beating them in overtime was insane.”
Johnson said the Chippewas have to defend to remain undefeated in MAC play.
“We have to play harder on defense,” she said. “Offensively we have many threats on this team If you go after Crystal you have Niki (DiGuilio). If you go after Niki we have Kirby (Tamm). Offensively we have the weapons. It’s just defense I feel like we need to work on.”
CMU will play again Wednesday when they travel to Kent State.