Mat Mikesell

The Ball State University women's basketball team dropped its second straight game Thursday night, falling to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay 83-63.

Even with her team going up against an undefeated Green Bay team that is receiving votes in the Associated Press and Coaches' polls, coach Kelly Packard believes the game could have been closer had her team finished the game strong.

"My biggest disappointment tonight was not finishing with pride," Packard said. "We have to address that issue and we need to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Early in the game, Green Bay came out defensively with a half-court trap and a zone defense. The Cardinals struggled with the different defensive schemes, committing 12 turnovers in the first half. Ball State finished with 25 turnovers in the game.

"It was frustrating to play against their zone," junior forward Emily Maggert said. "I think a lot of our turnovers were rushed passes and trying to force things that weren't there."

The second half story was the shooting of Green Bay. The Phoenix shot 19 of 24 from the field in the second half, including six 3-pointers. Packard believes her defense was not putting forth the necessary effort to win.

"Green Bay is a really good team," Packard said. "They have key wins against Wisconsin and DePaul, but I find it hard to believe a team was able to shoot as well as they did against without us playing our best defense."

Sophomore Jade Barber made her season debut, returning from a broken foot she suffered in the preseason. She recorded four points in 10 minutes of action.

"[Barber] hasn't really gotten many reps in practice and she isn't at a cardio foundation that we want her at right now," Packard said. "We have to work her back into getting reps because we need her elements she brings to this team."

Maggert led the Cardinals with 17 points and 14 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the season. Junior guard Ty'Ronda Benning recorded 14 points and five assists, but also committed nine turnovers in the game.

Junior Celeste Hoewisch led the Phoenix with 23 points and three 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Julie Wojta, sophomore guard Hannah Quilling and junior guard Heather Golden each had 12 points for Green Bay.

The Phoenix went on a 15-4 run over the final 4:40, with their biggest lead at 22 points. Green Bay improves to 8-0 while Ball State falls to 3-5 on the season.

Packard believes her team needs to make some improvements after Thursday night's game.

"We have some core issues right now that we need to fix," Packard said. "It's hard to win when you commit over 20 turnovers and we need to have more effort on defense."

Ball State hosts Illinois State University on Sunday afternoon before going on a three-game road trip to end their non-conference season.