RECAP: Ball State women's basketball falls to 3rd in MAC West after loss to Ohio
Ball State women's basketball had a chance after junior guard Frannie Frazier hit a 3-pointer with five seconds to go against Ohio.
Frazier's shot pulled the Cardinals (17-8, 10-3 MAC) within two, 70-68, and the Bobcats (18-5, 9-3 MAC) had just missed two of their last four free throws.
Ohio senior Quiera Lampkins took the ensuing inbounds pass and three seconds ticked off the clock before she was fouled.
Ball State stats
Shooting: 22-55 (40.0 percent)
3-point shooting: 7-19 (36.8 percent)
Rebounds: 41 (12 off., 29 def.)
Renee Bennett, 27 points
Shooting: 21-52 (40.4 percent)
3-point shooting: 16-35 (45.7 percent)
Rebounds: 25 (3 off., 22 def.)
Kelly Karlis, 15 points
Yamonie Jenkins, 15 points
She sank both shots to ice the Bobcats' 72-68 win.
"Hats off to Ohio," head coach Brady Sallee said. "They won a hard-fought game."
Throughout the game, Ohio took advantage of Ball State's aggressiveness. Time and time again, the Bobcats would drive into the lane to draw a double team before dishing it out to the perimeter for an open three.
"I thought my players executed the plan just like I asked them to do," Sallee said.
Ohio shot 16-35 (45.7 percent) from beyond the arc, well above its 29.9 percent shooting percentage entering the game, and only hit five shots from 2-point range.
"I think our kids did a wonderful job executing the gameplan," Sallee said. "They did everything a coach wanted them to do."
The Cardinals outscored the Bobcats 24-10 in the paint and outrebounded the Bobcats 41-25 as well, in large part because of senior center Renee Bennett.
Bennett recorded her eight double-double of the season with 27 points — one shy of her career high — and 12 rebounds. Bennett was efficient as well, shooting 8-12 from the floor and 10-11 from the free-throw line.
"She was our X-factor," Sallee said. "I thought she was great, she played through a lot but kept her composure and kept doing what she does."
Senior guard Jill Morrison was second on the team with 14 points and was 4-7 from beyond the arc. She said she wasn't worried about matching Ohio shot-for-shot.
"We just try to play our game," Morrison said. "Like we're not really worried about what they're doing."
Ball State entered the game with the best record in the Mid-American Conference, and looked like it early, jumping out to an 18-8 lead with 2:18 left in the first quarter. But Ohio countered with a 23-4 run to take a 32-22 lead in the second quarter, and led 36-30 at halftime.
With Northern Illinois (17-6, 10-2 MAC) and Central Michigan (18-6, 10-2 MAC) both winning today, Ball State falls to third in the MAC West.
"I just got done telling the team this — I think we're in the same place," Sallee said. "If we win this game, does it mean we didn't have to win any of the next ones coming up? Of course not."
Ball State's next game is Saturday at Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Illinois.
This article will be updated.