There were several stories to follow Saturday evening at Worthen Arena. The Ball State University women's basketball team was looking for its first win of the season after dropping a tough decision Monday night. Ball State looked to slow down Northern Arizona University's (0-4) freshman guard Amy Patton. Audrey McDonald crossed the 1,000 point mark for her career.
All these stories collided to create a memorable 74-69 Cardinal victory in a close, hard-fought game.
"This win will go a long way from keeping us playing as tightly as we have been playing," coach Kelly Packard said. "I was really pleading for some energy and emotion. I believe I saw the first chest bump of the season."
The energy would not come in the first half for the Cardinals as they struggled to find a comfortable tempo. Despite this struggle, Maggert notched a couple buckets and McDonald nailed two treys which put her over the 1,000 point mark for her career.
"It's exciting. I couldn't have done that without my teammates," McDonald said. "Honestly I couldn't get my shots or points without passes or screens from them, so they deserve half the credit."
Turnovers and miscues cost the Cardinals down the stretch of the first half and opened the door for Patton to lead the Lumberjacks back. Scoring nine first half points off the bench, Patton helped bring Northern Arizona within four of Ball State at the break, 36-32.
"She's tough. She's going to be a heck of a player — she is a heck of a player," McDonald said. "She's hard to guard. She does a lot of things. She's very quick and athletic. She's going to get hers. I feel you have to stop everyone else."
Patton continued to be the story for the Lumberjacks in the second half. While the two teams battled, trading the lead eight times, Patton continued to score as did Maggert.
"We didn't want to lose another game. We all had to step up and pick up our game and fight through the fatigue," Maggert said. "Patrice [King] made some free-throws and Audrey got a couple big stops."
With 4:24 left, Northern Arizona claimed a one point lead. Then the energy and passion flared up for the Cardinals. Patrice King hit a jump shot and Danielle Gratton nailed a 3-pointer and reacted with clinched fists and a passionate yell as the Lumberjacks took a time out.
King sank three free throws down the stretch to help keep Northern Arizona at arms length. She finished with 15 points.
Maggert finished with 21 points and 14 boards. Gratton and Ty'Ronda Benning chipped in nine points each.
"My main focus the last 10 minutes of the game was trying to collect the team a bit and find something to motivate us. We were kind of doing our own thing and needed motivation," King said. "I just wanted to push the ball a little bit and see what would happen."
Patton led all scorers with 26, three points shy of her career high of 29 set in her second collegiate game.