Heated battle between top guards highlights Cardinal win

Historically, whenever two great generals meet on the battlefield, a heated and highly-contested battle usually ensues.

Saturday at Worthen Arena was no exception as two of the Mid-American Conference's toughest generals -- Ball State's Shala Crook and Toledo's Shekinah Brazzle -- exchanged fire in the form of hand-checks, steals and no-look passes throughout the course of Ball State's 68-61 win.

The two guards participated in a physical, one-on-one battle that left Crook with a cut under her right eye as well as her first collegiate technical foul.

With 44 seconds remaining, Crook and Brazzle faced off near midcourt. After Brazzle accidentally hit her in the face, Crook was called for a five-second violation and spiked the basketball.

Crook was called for a technical foul and taken out of the game.

"That was bad," Crook said. "In the heat of the moment ... things get out of hand a little bit. Situations like that, you know, they happen -- I just have to roll with it and be happy with the win."

Brazzle said the contact was purely incidental.

"(I was) going for the ball, reaching up, and I guess I got her in the face and she got mad," Brazzle said. "I was like, 'I'm just playing, I wasn't trying to hurt you at all.'"

Both guards finished the game with five steals and four assists. Crook scored 14 points on 5-11 shooting, while Brazzle scored six on four attempts.

After the game, the opposing guards praised each other's intensity and level of play.

"We go back and forth; we both respect each other's game," Crook said. "We've been playing against each other for years now and we pretty much know what each other is going to do.

"I like the aggressiveness people put on me," she said. "It makes me ... more aggressive toward them."

Brazzle said she had no plan of attack against Crook.

"I was just trying to give her a run for her money just like she was going to do for me," Brazzle said. "I just wanted to play up on her one on one."


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