WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State hopes to contain high-scoring Illinois State
Cardinals are focusing on their defense
Fresh off its 66-60 victory over SIU-Edwardsville, Ball State (4-3) concludes a two-game road trip with a visit to Illinois State tonight. The Redbirds (5-2) are undefeated on their home court.
Illinois State has four players averaging 10 or more points per game, including two that shoot over 50 percent from beyond the arc. Cardinals coach Kelly Packard said the Redbirds are a very talented group, and the key for her team is to understand their opponent's personnel.
"Sometimes you can study, and study, and study the movements within their offense," Packard said. "A back-screen here, a cross-screen there, a flare-screen there. Those things are important, but the ability of the person using those screens has to become primary [focus] for us."
"They have some really talented people, so you need to understand the screening action. But you really need to understand what her strength is when she catches it off that screen."
Illinois State currently leads the Missouri-Valley Conference in scoring by about 10 points, averaging 78 points per game. Packard said playing tough defense will be vital in order to stop the Redbirds high-octane offense.
"We talked a lot about collecting defensive stops," Packard said. "When you're in somebody else's building, and they average 78 points per game, you are going to have to gather stops.
Packard said her team will have to be ready for the defensive challenge if it hopes to have a shot at winning.
"We are going to have to make them dip down into the mid-60s instead of 78 in order to have a chance in their building," Packard said. "I think our players have already bought into that with the amount of conversations they had today on the defensive end."