Rhett Umphress

Almost. Just missed. So close.

Those are the terms that can be used to explain the Ball State University gymnastics team's record this season. The last three losses for the Cardinals have come by a combined 0.875 points.

Coach Nadalie Walsh said the losses, combined with the team's highest score in six years, have motivated the team.

"They have come in and continued to work hard," she said. "I'd like to see them do the same routines and be as consistent as last week."

Ball State (3-5, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) gets the chance to earn its fourth win of the year today when it faces Bowling Green State University at 1 p.m. in Worthen Arena.

Several Cardinals stepped up last week against Illinois State University, as they earned their top score during Walsh's tenure as coach. Sophomore Brittney Emmons, the reigning MAC Gymnast of the Week, posted the third-best all-around score in Cardinals' history, while junior Katelyn Busacker earned her first win of the season with a 9.825 on the balance beam and a second on the uneven bars.

Walsh said that she expects great things from Busacker going forward.

"Katelyn is an outstanding gymnast," Walsh said. "She's really figured it out in the mental aspect of competing."

Bowling Green (3-2, 2-0 MAC) comes to Muncie on a three-game winning streak. The Falcons will pit sophomore Kasey Fillmore against Emmons in the all-around. Freshman Danielle Wishart led Bowling Green last week with three scores of 9.825 or better.

"[Bowling Green is] a team that has gotten better each year," Walsh said. "They have more years of consistency."

This is another meet where either team could conceivably pull out the victory. Bowling Green has the higher average score on the season, but the Cardinals have the momentum by outscoring the Falcons last week.

"I think the team with the lowest amount of mistakes will come out on top on Sunday," Walsh said.

If Ball State is going to win today, the Cardinals are going to need a fifth gymnast to score well in each event. In the last two weeks, Ball State has had at least four gymnasts score a 9.6 or better in seven of eight events. But the fifth gymnast has failed to come through. That lack of production has led to losses in both weeks.

"I think we have the depth, but we don't show that depth yet," Walsh said. "It comes down to putting it all together."

As she keeps looking for that fifth gymnast, Walsh said the lineup is still in flux going into today's meet.

"We're getting more choices with more girls," she said.

Today's competition is a "Think Pink" meet. There will be pink leis for sale and a signed leotard will be auctioned off in recognition of breast cancer awareness.