Ball State women's basketball rolls on without leading rebounder, cruises past Bowling Green
As Cardinals fans poured into Worthen Arena on Wednesday night, the 1,077 in attendance were in for a surprise when they looked to the floor during warmups.
Team leader in rebounds and second-leading scorer senior forward Destiny Washington was not dressed and stood in the corner with crutches as Bowling Green (10-9, 2-6 MAC) and Ball State took pregame warmups.
However, at least on Wednesday, the loss of Washington didn’t seem to phase Ball State (16-3, 5-3 MAC). The Cardinals dominated the Falcons for a full 40 minutes in a commanding 82-41 victory.
“Wow, we were good today,” Ball State head coach Brady Sallee said. “We’ve been practicing well and again, I think it starts with our energy and effort. I challenged [the team] to really do the work on the boards and was proud what we did on them. Across the board I think we worked really hard rebounding the basketball, took care of the ball and turned them over. Just top-to-bottom a great effort and a great win.”
After the game, Sallee said he did not know the extent of Washington’s injury or how long she would be out of action.
Ball State’s defense was potent, holding Bowling Green without a point for the first nine minutes of the second quarter. Its offense matched the pace, going on a 26-0 run in the process to take a 41-9 lead less than two minutes before the first half ended. The Falcons shot just 19.7 percent as a team on the game.
“You play like you practice,” Sallee said. “And to the kids credit, they’ve been practicing that defense really well and I think they have a lot of confidence playing it.”
By the time the third quarter was over, Sallee was able to have most of his starters on the bench. He gave playing time to some players who haven’t seen much action in the team’s first 19 games, such as freshman guard Katie Helgason and freshman forward Sara Price.
The 41-point win marked the largest Ball State victory over Bowling Green in program history, and the second-largest victory in series history, just behind Bowling Green’s 47-point, 115-68 win in 1992. Senior forward Moriah Monaco led all scorers with 23 points and 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes, junior Carmen Grande added 12 points and senior guard Frannie Frazier had 10 to round-out the Ball State starters in double-figures.
“Honestly, in this game and the Kent game I think we’ve gone back to playing how we were in non-conference,” Monaco said. “We just run up-and-down the floor and it’s hard to do that for 40 minutes.”
Freshman forward Oshlynn Brown got the start for Washington down low and filled-in well, picking up a team-high 12 rebounds and scoring nine points. Sallee went to his bench early, using sophomore forward Aliyah Walker and junior guard Nakeya Penny to help run the Ball State defense.
Now Ball State turns its attention to Northern Illinois, who comes to Worthen Arena on Saturday as the middle game in a three-game homestand for the Cardinals. The Huskies come in losing their last five, but all of those games have been decided by seven points or fewer.
Saturday’s tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Next Wednesday Ball State host Akron to round-out the homestand at 7 p.m.