WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State falls to Detroit Mercy
Titans get first win of season on the road
Following Tuesday night's road victory at Evansville, coach Kelly Packard acknowledged that the Cardinals' next opponent wouldn't be an easy task.
"This is not a team that's going to be easy for us whatsoever," she said.
Detroit Mercy proved to be anything but an easy task for Ball State Thursday night inside John E. Worthen Arena.
Led by freshman Shareta Brown, the Titans, who were winless entering the game, coasted to an 87-68 victory.
"I think it sounds good to say they're the best 0-6 team I've seen on film," Packard said. "They unloaded on us at their place last year, so I knew it was going to be difficult."
Brown, who was one rebound shy of earning her fourth double-double of the season, tallied 21 points, including 15 in the first half.
Packard said Brown is the best all-around freshman she has seen this season.
"She's got good tempo when she catches," Packard said. "She doesn't force ugly shots. For her size, she also passes out of double [teams] really well. Those are things that make her an outstanding player."
Brown constantly harassed the Cardinals on both ends of the court. Senior co-captain Amber Crago, who defended Brown for the majority of the game, said it was difficult to hold her ground when Brown has so much ability.
"She is good player," Crago said. "I could have stepped it up, definitely. She has our respect. We saw her make  shots and she's only a freshman. She's on her way up from here."
For the Cardinals, it was a game full of fundamental lapses. Ball State struggled to maintain any kind of momentum all night long.
One play in particular summed up the game for the Cardinals offensively. Freshman guard Shelbie Justice delivered a pass to sophomore forward Katie Murphy underneath the basket. It looked as if the play was going to result in points for the home team, but Murphy fumbled the pass as it went out of bounds, resulting in one of the Cardinals' 15 turnovers on the night.
Packard said she wasn't anticipating a zone defense from Detroit Mercy, which caught the Cardinals off guard.
"I never saw them play zone," she said. "They played a sagging man. They're a man team. I just think we were stagnant in our motion offense. We didn't cut really hard."
Up next for the Cardinals is a Sunday afternoon contest against the Stetson Hatters, and Crago said its imperative for the Cardinals to take the good out of this loss and move on.
"We stayed together," Crago said. "We're a young team and chemistry is a big deal. At the end, we still stuck together where other times maybe we wouldn't do so. We just got to get our rest and come back ready to hit it and put this game behind us."