WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Cardinals get first road win of season
Woody's three-point play seals first road win for Ball State in 14 tries
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the score was knotted at 48-48 before sophomore guard Brandy Woody received the ball and charged to the hoop for a layup. Woody was fouled and completed the three-point play by sinking her only free throw of the game.
The play ultimately capped a 55-50 victory for Ball State, snapping its 0-13 road skid dating back to last season and stretching its win streak to three games.
"We go from 0-3 to 3-3 and those are things that I could see," coach Kelly Packard said. "Since winning on the road is such a grind, I think for us to be able to grind one out early on the road just continues to help us play a little bit looser on the road, taking shots early and having confidence."
Evansville center Samantha Heck was Packard's primary concern heading into the game, but Ball State responded to the challenge. Though Heck lead the Purple Aces with 12 points, the Cardinals limited her to just six rebounds on the evening.
"I was fairly happy with it," Packard said. "She cut loose on us for two threes. Managing her in the post really helped us. She really has a finesse game down there, so I was happy with our post defense on her."
The Cardinals headed into the locker room outrebounded by five when Packard stressed the importance of boxing out and securing the ball.
Sophomore forward Katie Murphy received the halftime message and was all over the defensive boards for the Cardinals in the second half. With 10:25 to go, Murphy rejected a shot from Evansville's Miranda Liles. Just two seconds later, Murphy came away with the rebound, which led to a 3-point field goal by freshman guard Shelbie Justice.
"Several of those rebounds that Katie pulled [down], she did it in such an authoritative way," Packard said. "Snatched it out of the air, brought it down to her chin and pivoted. There was just no question that she secured [those rebounds]."
Fellow sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens pitched in with nine first half points for the Cardinals and served as weapon under the basket with eight rebounds.
"She has natural aggressiveness and competitiveness," Packard said. "That translates to creating that for her teammates. She's made a huge difference."
As Packard acknowledged, winning on the road isn't an easy task, but her team was up to the challenge Tuesday night.
"We did a good job with our staff and our bench of bringing some energy," she said. "Certainly the second half, some of the plays that we made stood out."