Ball State statistical leaders
Points – Brittany Carter — 17
Rebounds – Brandy Woody — 13
Assists – Shelby Justice — 5
They were big, physical and at the end of the first half, in control.
Atlantic Conference Coast opponent Pittsburgh held the Ball State women’s basketball team to 26 points in the first period. The Cardinals had committed 14 turnovers and scored just one basket from inside the paint going into halftime.
Pittsburgh went on to defeat Ball State 63–58 after the game slowed down in the second half.
Ball State head coach Brady Sallee said Pittsburgh’s size caused his players to avoid working the ball to the inside. The sloppy first half numbers come as no surprise, considering that play in the post is a key element of the Cardinals’ offense.
“Again, you always want to play from the inside out,” Sallee said. “With [Marvadene Anderson] in there I think we didn’t feel comfortable throwing it in. It was just a matter of reminding them that it’s OK to play inside.”
Anderson, the Panthers’ 6-foot-11 center, was a strong defensive presence that impacted the Cardinals’ offensive game. Though Ball State avoided the paint for most of the night, Anderson finished the game with two of Pittsburgh’s five blocks.
Ball State opened the second with a layup from sophomore forward Nathalie Fontaine, a three-pointer and then a second layup from Brittany Carter.
Sallee said there was no change in game plan, but Ball State slowly became more comfortable playing against Pittsburgh’s size. Most importantly, they realized that Anderson was just another player.
The Cardinals finished the second half with 12 points in the paint, a dramatic change from the first. Even passes to the paint were delivered with more confidence, and they helped Ball State climb back into the game.
Ball State took a 56-54 lead with 4:08 left in the game. Less than one minute later Pittsburgh tied the game for a seventh time.
The Panthers maintained the small lead in the closing minutes, and eventually secured a 63-58 victory. It was the second game that came down the closing minutes.
Junior Brittany Carter led the team with 17 points on the night. She was the team leader against Purdue as well, but looks forward to getting wins as a result of her production.
“Making shots is just part of the game,” Carter said. “It’s all teammates setting great screens and finding me when I’m open.”
Her strong personal performances don’t make up for the two losses that she feels Ball State could have won.
“It’s tough,” Carter said. “Just to absorb two tough games that … we should have had them.”