WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Cards look to start Thanksgiving Break off on right foot

Tonight's game against Valparaiso University (3-0) will be a battle for in-state bragging rights. Ball State (1-2) enters the contest coming off a hard-fought victory over Northern Arizona University (0-4) on Saturday.

The Crusaders could be one of the toughest challenges the Cardinals will see early this season. Valparaiso is off to its best start in program history with three straight wins, but hasn't taken to the road yet.

On the other hand, Ball State faced stiff competition in Ann Arbor, Mich., in the season opener before being challenged and pushed to the limit in two games last week at Worthen Arena before picking up the first win of the season.

"I didn't schedule to keep us very comfortable this year," coach Kelly Packard said. "I thought we needed to grow and I think the first few games have put us in a position to grow really fast."

With the pressure off, now the Cardinals can take to the floor and attempt to find the right tempo and flow offensively. This has been a challenge so far this year for Ball State and an issue Packard is determined to fix.

"We're starting to form this team's chemistry and identity," Packard said. "We have to get confident at a tempo. Once we get confident at that tempo, then we can push a little bit harder."

It will take tempo and the effort of forward Emily Maggert down low to put the brakes on the Crusaders winning start.

Maggert, a junior, enters Tuesday with three straight double-double performances and will garner attention from coach Keith Freeman's team.

Freeman, Valparaiso's all-time winningest women's coach, likes to run a half-court style offense.

The game gets under way at 7 p.m. at Worthen Arena.

Game notes:

Ball State leads the series 6-4 with Valparaiso having won four of five.

Audrey McDonald has exactly 1,000 points in her career.

McDonald has 245 treys, nine shy of holding the school record for most
3-pointers in a career, set by Johna Goff.

Maggert is averaging 19.6 points a game and 11.6 boards a game.

Valparaiso is 3-0 for the first time in school history.

Valparaiso's Lauren Kenney was a second team Horizon League selection.

The Crusaders shoot the ball very well from the stripe, shooting 12-13
in the second half against Colorado State. They have made 19 more free
throws than their opponents have taken.

Forward Lauren Kenney and guard Betsy Adams have scored in double figures in all
three Valparaiso games this season.


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