WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Cardinals fall on road to Chippewas

Three players for Ball State score in double figures despite loss

For the second time in the last 10 days, the Cardinals squandered an opportunity to win on the road following a win on their home floor.

After defeating Northern Illinois 50-43 on Wednesday evening, Ball State (7-10, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) couldn't use its momentum on Saturday afternoon at Central Michigan, resulting in a 84-66 defeat.

The Chippewas (11-7, 3-1 MAC) managed to shoot over 60 percent from the field in the second half and outscored the Cardinals in the paint 42-26.

Coach Kelly Packard said those statistics were the reasons why the Cardinals weren't able to come away with the win.

"Looking at the shooting percentage numbers for Central Michigan, that attracts your eye right away," Packard said. "If you're getting in the paint that often and shooting such high field goal percentage, it's an easy way to get a win."

Three Cardinals managed to reach double figures in scoring.

Junior guard Shanee' Jackson tallied 14 points, two shy of her career-high of 16 points on Jan. 8 at Western Michigan. Sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens finished with 13 points while senior co-captain forward Suzanne Grossnickle recorded 11 points for the game.

The loss didn't bode well for Packard, who is now 2-18 on the road during MAC games dating back to the 2009-10 season.

Packard said the absence of experienced veterans with a good amount of playing time on the road during conference play has plagued her team over the last few seasons.

"If you go back to when we were a successful road team in the MAC, it would be my first year here [2008-09]," Packard said. "We had veteran players at that time in Kiley Jarrett and Porchia Green. Suzanne [Grossnickle] and Amber [Crago] were on that team, [but] weren't playing a lot. Part of that is just being prepared for what MAC play on the road looks like and being able to win on the road."

Packard said success away from home centers around having a purpose, which leads to good execution.

"I told them in the locker room before the game today, ‘if we don't win any road games and we hold serve at home, we're going to finish conference play at 8-8 and [that's] not going to allow you to be in the upper half of the West division,'" Packard said.

Ball State finishes its two-game road trip at Toledo on Thursday.

"It's a real struggle for us right now because if you look at every home team in the MAC and how they generally hold serve, the percentages are pretty high," Packard said. "You have to do something extra, something out of the ordinary on the road to be able to win."