Cards face mighty task at UConn

Cardinals go up against No. 1 Huskies Friday

Technically, Ball State has the advantage heading into tonight's game at No. 1 Connecticut beginning+â-èat 7:30.

The Cards hold a 1-0 series lead over the top-ranked Huskies with an 83-73 win in the LaSalle Invitational in Philadelphia in 1985.

Sixteen years later, this game has the potential to be a little different.

The Huskies are ranked No. 1 both in the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls and have been ranked in the Top 25 for 153 consecutive weeks, dating back to Nov. 23, 1993.

But the Cardinals (3-1 overall) are riding a wave of momentum, coming off a 94-50 win at home against IPFW Tuesday night. Head coach Tracy Roller said the Cards are anxious for the game.

"They are looking forward to the experience of playing in front of a sold-out crowd and playing one of the best teams, if not the best team, in the country," Roller said. "We have nothing to lose except to get better as a team. When you don't have limitations or expectations, it's a chance for you to get better as a team."

Against IPFW, junior Tamara Bowie scored 17 points to push her total at BSU to 1,001. She is just the 12th player in the 27-year history of the program to reach 1,000 and only 512 points away from setting the BSU career scoring mark of 1,513 points held by Emma Jones (1984-87). Bowie is averaging 14.3 points per game in the team's first four games this season.

Roller said+â-èthe team+â-èhas a ton of respect for the Huskies, but it definitely+â-èisn't intimidated.

"They have built it up to the dynasty that it is," she said of the Connecticut program. "We're trying to do the same thing.

"We have to go out there and have fun and play basketball and hope that we'll be in a position at the end of the game to get a shot at them. They're number one in the country for a reason, but the (Ball State men's basketball team) made us see that it can be done. The excitement from the men has carried over into our program."

Sophomore Jessica Reiter leads the Cardinals in scoring with an average of 17.3 points per contest, while senior Amy Fuller paces BSU on the boards with an average of 8.8 rebounds per game.

Reiter was named the Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week for her performance in the Loyola Marymount/Furama Hotel Thanksgiving Classic last weekend. During the tourney, she averaged 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals, and made 54 percent of her field goal attempts. It was her first MAC Player of the Week honor in her career.

Senior guard Shala Crook has also moved up to second on BSUGǦ?™s list for career assists with 469, just three shy of the BSU record 471 set by Jenny Eckert from 1987-1990. That mark puts her 10th all-time in Mid-American Conference history.

She is also second all-time in Cardinal history with 249 career steals. Eckert also holds that mark with 319 over a four-year period.


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