Starters lead the way for Cardinals in season opener
Coming into the season, women's basketball head coach Brady Sallee faced many questions about how he and his team would replace the program’s all-time leading scorer, Nathalie Fontaine.
It’s not easy to replace a player who averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, but after the Cardinals' 88-60 win over the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the starting five showed they are ready to fill the void.
Junior forward Moriah Monaco led Ball State with 24 points on the day. She said she knows it will take time to completely move forward but thinks today proved it’s possible.
Minutes played by starters
Senior guard Jill Morrison: 31
Junior forward Moriah Monaco: 31
Sophomore guard Carmen Grande: 31
Senior center Renee Bennet: 27
Senior guard Calyn Hosea: 26
“[Fontaine], she was a great player,” Monaco said. “You have to give her credit, but if we keep playing the way we all can, we can get that out of the way.”
The starters combined to score 70 of Ball State’s 88 points, and their contributions went beyond the scoreboard.
Senior center Renee Bennett put up a double-double of her own, accounting for 22 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore guard Carmen Grande nearly added another double-double to the stat line with 9 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Senior guard Jill Morrison also added 12 points.
While much of the focus often centers around the leading scorers, senior guard Calyn Hosea was a big contributor in other ways. She scored just 3 points, but she contributed 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Sallee said he was pleased not only with those stats but also with Hosea's defensive effort.
“She’s somebody who, in that lineup, we can always put on another team’s best perimeter player,” Sallee said. “We know we’ve got that defensive prowess with the way she plays.”
Ball State will look for more of the same from its starters at 7p.m. Nov. 16 when it hosts against Evansville.