Ball State women’s basketball has found success early this season.
The Cardinals started by playing five games in just 12 days. Three of those games were on the road and things could not have gone much better for Ball State.
Ball State has overcome its first six opponents to start the season 6-0 for the first time ever.
“It was important to put this group on the road with a lot of games thrown at them early just to see how we would respond and see how some of the new kids would play under the lights,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “Clearly we have passed all those test pretty well and we have had some different kids step up.”
After defeating in-state foe Butler Wednesday, Ball State will travel to West Lafayette Monday to go head-to-head with a another tough in-state rival in Purdue.
“We really just try to worry about the next game,” Sallee said. “The minute you become unfocused those winning streaks go away.”
Purdue has started its season 5-2, with losses to Utah and USC. The Boilermakers have handled all five mid-major opponents early in 2017-18, but struggled with Mid-American Conference opponents Miami and Central Michigan at home.
The Boilermakers average 69.6 points per game while shooting around 46 percent from the field.
“It really becomes less about who you are playing and it more about how you are playing,” Sallee said. “For us we are just trying to play the way that we know we are going to be successful.”
The Cardinals have used a fast paced offense to get the advantage over their opponents so far this season. Junior point guard Carmen Grande has racked up 48 assists in Ball State’s first five matchups to help lead the offense.
“I think we are playing at a speed right now, scoring a lot of points and getting up and down," Sallee said. "I think our pace of play has made it tough for other teams to maintain for 40 minutes. If we can continue to take care of the ball and play at that pace, we will be a tough team to play.”
Ball State has averaged 80.6 points per game this season so far while also holding opponents to just 62.4 per game.
The Cardinals scoring has been a team effort as five players average double-digit points per contest, with senior forward Moriah Monaco leading the group with 17.6.
“The chemistry is really good and they are having fun playing with each other,” Sallee said. “They care about each other which really shows out on the floor. Whoever we need to step up, steps up.”
Monday’s contest has a 7 p.m. tipoff at Purdue.
Contact Daric Clemens with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DClemens_