Head coach Brady Sallee talks to his team during a time out at the game on Feb. 14 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Women's Basketball escapes early deficit, 9th time this season
With Ball State's win against conference rival Buffalo, the women's basketball team advances to 11-4 (3-1). During the team's play this season, a pattern has emerged.
In nine of the team's 15 games, the Cardinals have been outscored in the first quarter and forced to play catch-up from the beginning.
“I thought we started the game off well, and we went through a stretch where they got squirrely on me,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “The ball was sticking on offense, and we became really chirpy talking to officials out on the floor.”
2015 season record after the first quarter
When trailing - 5-4
When leading - 6-0
All four of the Cardinals' losses so far have come when they were trailing after the first quarter, though they have still managed to come away with five wins in the same situation.
To start off the game against Buffalo, Sallee decided to come out strong on the defensive end while reading how they were going to react.
“[Inside the paint] was where this game was going to win,” Sallee said. “So I wanted to come out and force our toughness... and then I wanted to see what [Buffalo] was going to do with them.”
After his players started to get “squirrely,” Sallee needed a spark to regain control of the game and looked again to his bench to get it done.
“That's when you hope to bring your bench in a little bit and they give you a little bit of a spark and calm all the crazies down and you get it out of them,” Sallee said.
Junior center Renee Bennett went into the locker room at halftime expecting to get "chewed out" and, while critical, Sallee managed to ignite something within her and get her back on track.
“I didn't expect to be as heavily-guarded as I was,” Bennett said. “Going into halftime I knew that I had to be better.. and then making [the] realization when I went out there.”
Bennett went on to score all of her 16 points in the second half, more than any other Cardinal on the night.
The Cardinals have trailed after the first half often, 60 percent of the time to be exact. Though the Cardinals have still managed to pull away five wins, all four of their losses this season have come after trailing in the first quarter, and all of those were from top ranked opponents, like Purdue and Florida.
This demonstrates the Cardinals' talent to dig themselves out of a hole and escape with a victory against smaller schools, however, falling behind against upper-tier opponents has proven to hurt them.
Currently, the Cardinals hold a two-game win streak against and will face off against a Bowling Green team who is 5-8 on the season and has lost three consecutive games.