Ball State women's basketball uses balanced attack to put away Butler
Put another tally in the good wins category for the Ball State Cardinals (6-0).
After a up-and-down start that saw both teams shoot better than 50 percent from the field in a high-scoring first quarter, Ball State settled in, using one of its best offensive performance of the season to beat Butler (4-4) 87-75 on Wednesday evening.
Butler's shooting percentage in the second quarter dropped almost 20 points from the first, when the Bulldogs hit over 52 percent of their shot attempts.
But while the Bulldogs' offense faltered in the second, the Cardinals largely continued their pace.
With the defense beginning to consistently get stops and the offense still rolling, Ball State outscored Butler 21-12 in the frame to take a 53-39 lead into halftime.
"It was a heck of a college basketball game," head coach Brady Sallee said. "It had to be a lot of fun to watch, not always that fun to coach in, but really proud of my team that after that first quarter where it looked like an NBA game, we hunkered down and defended pretty well in the second half."
After halftime, Ball State kept Butler at bay, although the Bulldogs would begin to get more stops as the third quarter wore on to stay within striking distance. At one point, late in the fourth quarter, Butler brought the lead down to six, which was the lowest it would fall.
The fourth quarter marked just the third time all season that Ball State had been outscored in a quarter.
Junior point guard Carmen Grande helped direct the Ball State offense, scoring 15 points and dishing out eight assists. However, Butler's did a decent job of containing her at times, as she committed 10 turnovers while playing all 40 minutes.
Senior forward Moriah Monaco led Ball State with 23 points, making her first six shots of the game. Senior guard Frannie Frazier finished with 17 and sophomore guard Jasmin Samz had 15 to close out the the Cardinals who reached double figures.
"I think the only reason that I was open was because my teammates set great screens," Monaco said. "They just ran right into them thankfully so I could get those shots off."
It was the play of junior guard Whitney Jennings that got Butler back into the game late. Jennings scored 20 points in the second half, and hit five threes throughout the game to help the Bulldogs make things interesting late.
"I think [Jennings'] has found a great fit down there, she can play and have the ball in her hands and do all the things she loves to do," Sallee said. "Clearly, she's having a great run right now. So really happy for her because I know she's a quality [player]."
The win gives Ball State its best start program history. Next up, Ball State plays Purdue on Monday evening at 7 p.m.