PREVIEW: Ball State women's basketball vs. Northern Illinois
First place in the Mid-American Conference is on the line for Ball State women's basketball this weekend.
Ball State (14-6, 7-1 MAC) hosts Northern Illinois (14-5, 7-1 MAC) Jan. 28 as part of a doubleheader with the men's team to celebrate Worthen Arena's 25th anniversary.
The Cardinals and Huskies are tied for first place in the MAC West Division, and both sit near the top of the leaderboard in several categories.
Northern Illinois scores a MAC-best 88.5 points per game and has scored less than 80 just three times all season. Ball State, however, has the best scoring margin in the conference (plus 11.9 points) and only allows 60.7 points per game. Ball State has lost both games its opponents have scored at least 80 points, while Northern Illinois is 1-2 when it scores less than 80.
Both offenses are efficient — the Cardinals lead the MAC with a 44.8 percent shooting percentage, and the Huskies are second with a 44.6 percent shooting percentage.
Northern Illinois's strength is its three-point shooting. The team leads the MAC by hitting 37.2 percent of its attempts beyond the arc. Sophomore Courtney Woods leads the Huskies with 16.7 points per game and she hits 40.9 percent of her 3-point attempts.
The Cardinals, though, have an outside threat of their own in junior forward Moriah Monaco. She scored a career-high 35 points in Ball State's 89-75 win over Buffalo Jan. 25 behind and tied her career-best by making eight three-point shots. She's made 40.6 percent of her three-pointers this season and scores 16.0 points per game.
Senior center Renee Bennett, however, is the Cardinals leading scorer with 17.0 points per game.
Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., immediately following the men's game against Western Michigan.