The Ball State Women's Basketball team celebrates after defeating Toledo 78-73 during the senior game in John E. Worthen Arena Feb. 24. Madeline Grosh, DN
Ball State's season ends with loss to Purdue in WNIT
As the final buzzer sounded, the Ball State crowd was silent after watching Ball State fight for 40 minutes but fall short to Purdue in heartbreaking fashion.
When it looked like things might get out of hand for the Cardinals, they ran off an 11-0 run to make things even with the Boilermakers at 69 apiece.
“We mashed the pedal to the metal but just ran out of gas,” head coach Brady Sallee said.
Purdue was able to gain a 73-71 lead with 41 seconds remaining, and Ball State had a good look on a 3-point shot, but it didn’t fall, and the Boilermakers handled business at the free throw line, putting the game out of reach and winning by a score of 77-72.
Ball State was down for majority of the game. However, the team was never out of it and showed that it wasn't going to go down easy.
“We went as hard as we could today," Sallee said. The tank is empty in that locker room. [A] bunch of kids hurting and [a] bunch of kids tired, but it didn’t keep them from playing their hearts out; that’s what I’m proud of.”
It was a battle from start to finish, but Ball State’s struggled on the offensive side, which hurt it at the end. The Cardinals finished the game shooting just 36.3 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from behind the 3-point line.
Senior forward Moriah Monaco recorded a double-double in her final game as a Cardinal, putting up 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Junior guard Carmen Grande dished out 13 assists and added nine points.
Purdue was feeling it from start to finish, shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from behind the arc.
“At the end of the day, they made some shots and we didn’t.” Sallee said.
Ball State was able to cause a lot of problems for Purdue with its press defense, forcing the visitors to commit 22 turnovers.
The Cardinals also dominated the offensive glass, snatching 20 offensive boards to the Boilermakers' seven. However, it only resulted in five Cardinal points.
“If you look at their stats, trying to figure out how they won,” Sallee said.
It wasn’t the way the Cardinals wanted the season to end, but Sallee is proud of the Ball State team.
“Had a lot of people stepped into some roles, lineups and playing time or whatever and really perform their tails off,” Sallee said. “Every single game we went out on the floor, we literally had a chance to win and that’s just through heart, fight and determination.”
The Cardinals finished the season with the second-most wins in programs history with a 25-7 record.