A common belief among basketball players and coaches is the result of the game is usually decided at the free throw line.
Sunday's game between Ball State University and the University of Toledo provided evidence that this belief is true.
In the last minute of the game, the Cardinals led 66-62 when the Rockets began fouling, hoping for a few missed foul shots. Toledo did not get what they hoped for, as Ball State made seven of eight, six coming from senior guard Audrey McDonald.
"I always assume, and I know that's bad, but I assume [McDonald] will make her foul shots every time she steps to the line," coach Kelly Packard said. "She has such composure and confidence when she takes foul shots."
McDonald said her confidence shooting foul shots comes from her trying to make a foul shot every time without hitting the rim. She said even if she does hit the rim on a foul shot, the ball will still go in.
Junior guard Ty'Ronda Benning also had an impact in the final minutes of the game against the Rockets. In the final 5:30 minutes, Benning made four baskets inside the paint that either tied the game or extended the Cardinals' lead.
"At halftime I wanted [Benning] to make the adjustment of attacking the basket off an on-ball screen," Packard said. "When she started attacking, she was able to get shots in the paint and really helped her confidence."
Benning also had a trip to the foul line in the closing minutes – missing her first attempt and making the second.
"I was nervous walking down the court to take the foul shots because I didn't know what the score was," Benning said. "That's why I missed the first but came through on the second one. Making those foul shots was big in getting the win today."