It was a sloppy start for both teams, but Butler’s (6-0, 0-0 Big East) experience gave them an advantage over Ball State Women’s Basketball (2-6, 0-0 MAC), as the Cardinals failed to extend their three-game win streak against the Bulldogs, losing 64-47. Here are four areas of Ball State’s play that stood out from their loss Sunday.
Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers.
Butler made it hard on Ball State from the tip-off, pressuring them all the way up the court. The Bulldog defense was able to control the game by staying tight on the Cardinals’ ball handlers, giving them little space to work with, which made the Cardinals commit costly mistakes.
“We turned the ball over way too much,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “Give them a lot of credit for their plan, and they took advantage of it.”
Ball State turned the ball over 10 times in just the first quarter and wasn’t able to clean up the play throughout, Cardinals finished with the most turnovers in a single game this season, 29.
“They just jumped everything that we were doing, jumped our ball handlers and made it hard for us to throw any pass,” Sallee said. “We have to learn to be tough enough to get open and still be able to execute on those situations.”
Ice cold shooting.
Shots weren’t falling for the Cardinals. Ball State struggled to knock down a field goal early, as Butler started the game with a 9-1 lead. Sophomore guard Maliah Howard-Bass made the first and only field goal in the first quarter making a 3-pointer at around the five-minute mark of the quarter. The Cardinals finished the opening quarter shooting 1-10 from the field and found themselves down 13-5.
The struggles continued for Ball State, and they never were able to find any rhythm on the offensive end. The Bulldog defense made the Cardinals look uncomfortable and it showed in the numbers. Ball State finished the contest only making 16-52 attempts.
Toughness is key
Sallee has talked about toughness being important all of this season. However, it is still a process for the Cardinals. Butler looked to be the more physical team and it caused Ball State a lot of problems. The Bulldogs were able to have control over positioning on both sides of the court and also controlled the boards. Rebounding has been a common low-point for Ball State this season, and it was outrebounded by Butler 44 to 36.
“It starts and ends with toughness, I think they whooped us in every toughness category,” Sallee said. “We have to learn how to be tough enough on the road.”
Maliah Howard-Bass is on a roll
On a positive note, the Cardinals have been receiving impressive play from Howard-Bass. And she continued it into Sunday as she led the Cardinals with 11 points, making it her fourth-straight game that she has scored in double-figures.
Howard-Bass attempted to be that spark for the team after making three 3-pointers in the first half, however, she was the only Cardinal that could make shots consistently. She finished the game shooting 4-9 from the field and knocked down 3-5 from the 3-point line.