The women's basketball team led for most of the entire game against Arkansas State Friday night in its first game of the 2001 LMU/Furama Hotel Thanksgiving Classic in Los Angeles, Calif.
However, ASU's Jolie McKeinan hit two free throws with six seconds remaining to give ASU the 74-72 win and send the Cardinals into Saturday's consolation game against Louisiana-Monroe.
Junior Tamara Bowie had 19 of her 24 points in the first half that saw the Cards up by as many as 13 points.
A smothering Cardinal defense that held ASU scoreless for one six-minute stretch gave BSU a 43-33 halftime lead.
Arkansas State opened the second half with a 8-1 run to cut the BSU lead to three, but the Cardinals responded with baskets by sophomore Jessica Reiter and senior Shala Crook, as well as a three-pointer by freshman Kate Endress that increased the lead to 12 with 6:50 to go.
But Arkansas State outscored the Cardinals 18-4 to close out the game and advance to the championship.
"We all realized that we kind of let that one slip away," head coach Tracy Roller said. "Arkansas State is a great team, but I felt like we outplayed them. We beat ourselves at the end of the game.
"In my mind, we had the momentum going into halftime. We came out the second half and didn't take advantage of situations that could have put us up even more. The past six minutes of the game we let them score at will. Against a good time like that, you can't do that."
Bowie also had 13 rebounds, and Reiter tallied a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.
After the loss, the Cardinals moved on to Saturday's consolation game against Louisiana-Monroe, a game they took over and won easily 85-63.
Reiter, who made the All-Tournament Team, scored a career-high 24 points to lead BSU to the win. Senior Amy Fuller amassed a career-high 17 points while sophomore Julie Just also had a career high with 13.
"We had some key people step up during that game," Roller said. "It was great because (Reiter) has been very solid for us last year and this year. It was good for her to get the recognition that she deserved in the past."
Roller said the team learned a lot from the tournament, especially the concept of making each possession count.
"When you talk about possessions, I think most players understand the concept," she said. "When you really see how one possession can make or break the game, you learn you can't take off possessions. All of us learned something and we're not going to let it happen again."
Ball State hosts IPFW at 7 p.m. in its second home game of the year before traveling to Connecticut Friday for a date with the No. 1 Huskies.
"We should take the momentum from the weekend and really have a good game against IPFW," Roller said. "If something happens this Friday at UConn, they'll probably wonder what's going on in Muncie."