Mat Mikesell

Ball State couldn't get the send off it wanted for its four seniors against Northern Illinois on Wednesday night.

With 10 seconds left in the game and trailing 49-46, the Cardinals had an opportunity to tie the game and force overtime.

But senior guard Ty'Ronda Benning's 3-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked, and the Northern Illinois players ran towards their bench in excitement.

Benning and the rest of her teammates stood on the court stunned at the final sequence.

Even with the loss on Senior Night for Emily Maggert, Ebony Jackson and Benning, Maggert was proud of the way her team played in the game.

"We played our hearts out tonight," Maggert said. "We were diving on loose balls the entire night. We could have done it if we had two more minutes."

Maggert said it doesn't mater who the Cardinals play Saturday in MAC Tournament.

"We're [going to] just go to where we have to play next and play our butts off there."

Ball State struggled offensively in the first half by scoring only two points through the first 12 minutes. Both points came off Maggert free throws.

The first field goal of the game for the Cardinals came with eight minutes left in the first half when Maggert made a shot from under the basket.

At that point, Northern Illinois led 15-4. The Huskies shot 35 percent from the field in the first half, which prevented them from making the game a blowout. They led 24-18 at halftime.

In the second half, the Huskies found themselves unable to score, scoring just four points during the first 10 minutes.

Over that same stretch, the Cardinals put together a 15-4 run to take a six-point lead.

"Our hustle kept us in the game," Maggert said. "Our defense definitely helped too. We were committed to helping each other which really helped."

Northern Illinois retook the lead with less than five minutes to play and didn't surrender the lead the rest of the game.

Coach Kelly Packard was not made available for comment after the game.

Ball State finishes the season 9-20 overall and 4-12 in the Mid-American Conference, giving them the No. 11 seed in the tournament.

The first game will be on the road at Buffalo on Saturday.

Maggert led Ball State with 17 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Jazmin Hitchens scored 10 points and five rebounds.

Benning scored four points and Jackson had six points and seven rebounds in their final game at Worthen Arena.

Maggert said the loss on Senior Night was disappointing, but she is focused on the next game.

"But we got to go on the road and get the first win in the tournament," she said.