Aggressiveness in the paint leads to 5 straight wins


MAC West Division Standings

Ball State 11-3

Western Michigan 9-5

Toledo 8-6

Eastern Michigan 7-7

Central Michigan 7-7

Northern Illinois 6-8

An emphasis inside the paint has led the Ball State women's basketball team to five straight wins and an 11-3 record in the Mid-American Conference overall.

The Cardinals outscored their opponents in the paint in the last four games by an average of 13 points. They have shot over 40 percent overall in the last four games, raising their season average to 42 percent. 

"The defenses have given us opportunities in the paint and we have been taking advantage of it by being more aggressive," head coach Brady Sallee said.

A few players have benefitted from this new aggressive style. 

Junior Nathalie Fontaine has scored an average of 12 points from inside the paint during the five-game streak. Sophomore Renee Bennett has averaged six points from the paint and has seen her season scoring average rise from 5.9 to 7 points per game. 

In addition to increased scoring, the team's rebounding margin, especially on the offensive end, has improved.

During its winning streak, Ball State is averaging 37 rebounds per game and has out-rebounded its opponent in four of those victories.

"When I look at a game, one of the first things I look at is rebounding," Sallee said. "It's something we have worked on all season because of how important it is for us to win."

Prior to this recent string of victories, the Cardinals had only out-rebounded their opponents in four of the previous 20 games. 

Ball State's efforts have put them on top of the MAC West Division and one game behind Ohio for the league's top record overall.

Its current seed would give the team a bye through the MAC Tournament's first three rounds.


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