Three weeks is a long time to wait for a win.
Just ask coach Kelly Packard how painful it was to see her team come up short in six consecutive Mid-American Conference games before Ball State University defeated the University at Buffalo 84-62 Wednesday night.
"I'm a rookie at managing a losing streak," Packard said. "I've not been a head coach of a team that's been in that spot. Whether I handled it right or wrong I'm not sure. I'd stay affirmed and nurturing if I had to do it again. I hope it's a long time before I'm in that position again."
High energy defense and sharp shooting from the guards helped snap the six-game skid.
"It does feel like it's the first win of the season again," junior forward Emily Maggert said. "It's nice to get a win after losing six games. We're going to have more confidence in our shooting and ourselves in general. We just need to get another win now."
The defense set the tone early for Ball State (10-14, 4-7 MAC). The pressure created turnovers and allowed Audrey McDonald and Shannon Klei to snipe from beyond the arc.
"I'm not going to lie, it felt good," Klei said. "After hitting the first [3-pointer], I got into a rhythm and felt confident on offense and defense. I felt that a lot of things were going our way."
In all, the Cardinals shot a white-hot 58.3 percent from 3-point land. Ball State knocked down 14 3-pointers on the night, including eight in the second half.
"It's contagious," Klei said of the 3-point run. "We felt it in shoot-around. We performed really well in the shoot-around and it just transitioned into the game. We just grabbed it and ran."
Klei led all scorers in registering a career-high 16 points. She also added three steals and three assists.
"It means a lot to contribute the way I did. It's not all about points," Klei said. "It's about the team and the 13 people on the roster."
In addition to the sharp shooting, the Cardinals played lockdown defense. Buffalo (7-17, 3-8 MAC) took an early 1-0 lead, but after a 13-0 Ball State run, the closest it would get was within four points just before halftime. Ball State used a high-pressure defense to take control of the game.
"It's kind of mentally draining from constantly switching from one thing to another," Maggert said. "You've always got to be focused and paying attention to what you should be doing. You get tired and people make runs, but you've just got to make a bigger run than they do."
Maggert and McDonald posted 15 points a piece. Maggert also pulled down 10 rebounds for her 15th double-double of the season. Benning finished with 12 points, while Amber Crago recorded 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
"It's all building at this point," Packard said. "The contribution level was high tonight. I'm not sure the last time we had five players in double figures."