WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State hosts WMU in MAC home opener

Cards looking for first win in MAC play

After squandering its first two Mid-American Conference contests to Toledo (63-46) and Eastern Michigan (70-62) on the road last week, Ball State (5-10, 0-2 MAC) is in a funk.

Ball State looks to get back to its winning ways when it hosts Western Michigan (4-11, 0-2) at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena.

Western Michigan enters tonight's matchup in search of its first win in MAC play after dropping both of its conference games last week — 72-62 to Central Michigan and 63-60 to Toledo in overtime. The last time the Cardinals and Broncos met, the Cardinals came away with a 67-43 victory in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

Ball State has yet to post a win in 2011, and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. The Cardinals' last victory came on Dec. 30 (78-59 versus St. Louis). Since then, the Cardinals have not come close to matching their 78 points versus the Billikens. The Cardinals are averaging 53.6 points per game while opponents have scored 73 points per game opponents are averaging in the three-game stretch. The team's youth has a lot to do with the inconsistencies.

"It's been long for us outside the St. Louis game," coach Kelly Packard said. "We're playing a lot of young players a substantial amount of minutes."

With a 27-game schedule not including tournaments and postseason play, a short memory is essential for the young Cardinals. Packard said it wasn't ideal starting out conference play with back-to-back road games, especially with a young team.

Chances are good for a couple of freshmen to be in the starting lineup for Packard tonight. No matter who is on the court, execution is the focus for the Cardinals.

"Right now we just have to grind out wins," Packard said. "We need to do all the little things like getting an extra possession with an offensive rebound or making sure we stay really specific to the scout and just chip away at people right now."

Packard said it's always more comfortable to play at home. She hopes the presence of a familiar venue will keep her team settled against the Broncos.

"We just need to see the game in series of possessions instead of trying to take on the whole 40 minutes all at once," she said.


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