Coming off back-to-back Mid-American Conference victories at home over Western Michigan [67-60] and Central Michigan [86-77], Ball State (7-10, 2-2) puts its two-game win streak on the line tonight when it travels to Dekalb, Ill., for an 8 p.m. tipoff versus the Northern Illinois Huskies (6-10, 0-4) at the Convocation Center.
The Cardinals have played with an endless amount of confidence over their last two games and maintaining their confidence tonight is crucial for the Cardinals.
"The reality of it needs to ring into our team's ears too," Coach Kelly Packard said. "Northern Illinois has lost some games by some slim margins."
The Huskies have lost their last two contests. They fell to both Toledo (42-31) and Western Michigan (71-67) this past week. Even though they've struggled as of late, underestimating the Huskies is out of the question.
"They're going to come at us very, very hard," Packard said. "They're hungry for a win. They're on their home floor."
Though the Huskies average just 57.9 points per game, they excel at firing from beyond the arc. Senior guard Marke Freeman is shooting .479 percent from three-point land to go along with her average of 15 points per game. Preparation is so important when traveling on the road. It will definitely be key for the Cardinals.
"We really have to be prepared, especially when you're going into somebody else's building," Packard said. "[We need to be] really focused and [make sure] that we're able to simulate some intensity on the road that mirrors the way we've played the last two games."
Senior guard Ty'Ronda Benning has been red hot as of late. She averaged 27.5 points over her last two games. Packard will look to the MAC West Division Player of the Week to set the tone for the rest of the team.
"She's often times the person with the ball in her hands making some decisions," Packard said. "I have somebody that's expressive and showing emotion in confidence. We've really got to be able to latch on. I think we have been able to look toward her for that."