Senior guard Nathalie Fontaine is now the all-time women's basketball scoring leader with 2,092 points at Ball State. Fontaine scored the point on a buzzer beater during the game on March 2 against Northern Illinois. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Nathalie Fontaine breaks Ball State women's basketball all-time scoring record
Senior guard Nathalie Fontaine is now the all-time Ball State women's basketball scoring leader with 2,092 points.
With four seconds left against Northern Illinois, Fontaine already had 21 points in the game and 2,090 in her career — 1 point shy of Tamara Bowie’s Ball State record of 2,091 career points.
Ball State career points leaders (years at BSU)
1. Nathalie Fontaine (2012-present): 2,092
2. Tamara Bowie (2000-03): 2,091
3. Kate Endress (2002-05): 1,843
4. Emily Maggert (2007-11): 1,708
5. Johna Goff (2001-04): 1,635
She inbounded the ball to freshman point guard Carmen Grande, who instantly passed it back. Fontaine then sprinted toward the basket. Northern Illinois defenders tried to slow her down but didn’t want to foul her and give her another trip to the line – she was already a perfect 9-9 on free-throw attempts.
Fontaine went to the left, made it to the paint and jumped with her momentum carrying her forward and tossed the ball toward the glass.
The buzzer sounded and the ball went in.
2,092 career points.
A new Ball State record.
Fontaine’s mother and sister, who were visiting from Sweden, tried to carry Fontaine off the court after the 76-68 victory on Senior Night.
Fontaine’s nephew was also in attendance, and head coach Brady Sallee said he might be too young to understand the near-perfect ending — one last home game complete with family, a buzzer-beater and a new record.
“He doesn’t know what he saw, but he’ll hear about it,” Sallee said. “[It’s] the way great players should have it go for them. I think our team was as excited as [Fontaine] was — well, I don’t know about as excited, but it was just one of those things I think we’ll all remember forever, … her laying that up at the buzzer to break that record, we’ll all remember where we were when it happened.”
The last-second shot almost didn’t happen, Fontaine said, because the Cardinals led 74-68 with just four seconds on the clock.
“We had already won the game,” she said. “So I honestly wasn’t even gonna go and lay it up until [Grande] gave me the ball back when I gave it to her and she just said, ‘Go! Go!’”
She also admitted she didn't “think the other team was ready for it, though.”
Junior center Renee Bennett jumped in as Fontaine finished her sentence.
“I wasn’t ready for it,” Bennett said.
Fontaine racked up her 17th double-double of the season behind 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Bennett recorded her second double-double of the year with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Fontaine also moved up to third on Ball State's all-time rebounding list, with 941 career rebounds.
Bennett, however, scored 11 consecutive points for the Cardinals in a 2:12 span during the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead jumper with 2:23 left in the game. She said she was motivated because it was Fontaine’s last game at Worthen Arena.
“I want to win it for [Fontaine], I want her to have a good Senior Night," Bennett said. "So I was just kind of in that final stretch, I was just thinking that any ball that comes off that rim, I’m gonna go get it. I’m gonna grab it or I’m gonna knock it to someone else."
Bennett, Fontaine and sophomore guard Frannie Frazier, who had nine rebounds, combined for 29 rebounds while Northern Illinois hauled in 28. In total, Ball State hauled in 41 rebounds.
Still, the Cardinals trailed at halftime 42-34. The Huskies hit 60 percent of their first-half shots, including six of their 11 3-point attempts.
Ball State closed the gap to just 3 points, 54-51, at the end of the third quarter but did not regain the lead until Bennett’s fourth-quarter jumper.
The Cardinals did hit 17 of their 19 free-throw attempts, again led by Fontaine’s nine-for-nine performance – fitting for Ball State’s all-time free-throw leader. She now has 523 career free throws, 106 more than second-place Julie DeMuth (2005-08).
Fontaine also led Ball State in playing time — she never left the court.
Sallee said it had nothing to do with her potential to break the record, but joked that “her mom threatened me.”
“I’m just kidding. Honestly, I was trying to win,” he said. “In 20 years I’ll probably tell this story different — I called the play at the end and I played her 40 minutes — but right now we know that’s not the case.”
After the game, Fontaine said she was still riding an emotional high and the fact that she just finished her last game in Worthen Arena had yet to sink in.
“I was surprised I haven’t, like, cried a river yet,” she said. “It’s probably going to come here soon. Just walking into the arena before shootaround, I was crying on my way here.”
Sallee, however, said Fontaine will never truly leave because of the mark she left on the program and its players — particularly Grande, the freshman point guard that gave Fontaine the last-second shot at the record.
“To see our freshman point guard be that in-tune with it that she’s screaming at her to go do it, that’s the impact [Fontaine’s] made on this place,” he said. “So, long after she’s gone, … what they’re gonna remember is the impact that she made — not just as a scorer, but as a person. … And that’s the mark of greatness, I think — when you can be more than just a name on a board.”
Ball State is now 20-8, its first 20-win season since the 2008-09 season, when the Cardinals won the MAC and upset No. 5 Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals are also 12-5 in MAC play. They will close out the regular season at Toledo (17-11, 12-5 MAC) March 5, with the winner receiving the third overall seed in the MAC Tournament.