Junior forward Nathalie Fontaine goes up for a shot during the game against Ohio on Jan. 24 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Winning streak ends as Ball State falls to Eastern Michigan
A five-game winning streak ended on Wednesday night at Worthen Arena as the Ball State women’s basketball team fell by double-digits for only the second time this season, 56-41 to Eastern Michigan.
"We just seemed not completely prepared out there, to be honest," head coach Brady Sallee said. "Eastern Michigan came ready to play a big game, and we didn't match what they brought."
The offense struggled from the tip, scoring just 15 points in the first half. It was the Cardinals’ lowest first-half output all season.
Ball State Team Statistics
Field goal percentage - 23.6
3-point percentage - 19.2
Free-throw percentage - 58.8
Rebounds - 41
Steals - 4
Blocks - 7
Assists - 8
Turnovers - 16
Eastern Michigan’s full-court press stifled the Cardinals, forcing them to toss up multiple shots just before the shot clock buzzer.
The shooting percentages for Ball State were near a season-low, finishing 23 percent from field goal range and 19 percent from beyond the arc.
Only Nathalie Fontaine managed to score in double digits for Ball State. She also pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double.
The second half was no different, with the Cardinals not seeming to have the drive that led them to five straight wins. Their ball handling struggled, with 16 turnovers on nine steals by the Eagles.
On the defensive side, Eastern Michigan scored 20 points in the paint compared to Ball State’s 10. The Cardinals surrendered 19 offensive rebounds as well, giving up many second-chance opportunities.
"We are going to learn a lot about who we are as team these next couple days," Sallee said. "Hopefully this is just a blip, but we can't play like we did tonight with just a handful of games left."
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 15-11 on the season and 11-4 in Mid-American Conference play. Though they remain two games ahead in the MAC West Division, Ball State is now two games behind conference-leading Ohio.
With three games remaining until the postseason, Ball State will take on Western Michigan on at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 in Kalamazoo, Mich., looking to win its sixth straight road game. When the two teams squared off earlier this season, the Cardinals defeated the Broncos 54-36.