Ball State Women's Basketball (2-6, 0-0 MAC) are 1-1 in the all-time series record against the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-5, 0-0 SEC), and they look to post their third win of the season on Thursday when the teams meet again, but this time in Muncie.
Falling short to Butler on Sunday, the Cardinals hit 16-52 shots from the field and racked 29 turnovers throughout the game against the Bulldogs.
“We’re new in a variety of spots,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “It’s not just freshmen. We have some inconsistencies here and there and room for improvement, but we have got to be tough enough to play through some of those inconsistencies.”
Last season saw the Cardinals first win over the Commodores with a score of 88-79. Since then, the Commodores have added freshman forward Brinae Alexander, who has posted 89 points on the season and averages 11 per game.
“They’ve got a few new pieces this season,” Sallee said. “But you see them taking some big strides under [head coach Stephanie White]. They’ve got a good big, they’re playing hard and they’re really competing.”
Returning for the Commodores is the six-foot five-inch junior Mariella Fasoula. She currently leads Vanderbilt in points with 117 and in rebounds with 67.
A power player for the Commodores last season against the Cardinals was now-sophomore Chelsie Hall. The guard posted 25 points, going 10 for 14 from the field, and five rebounds, leading the team in both categories.
Looking to the Cardinals, sophomore Oshlynn Brown maintains the top spot in the points category, registering 92 on the season, followed by freshman Anna Clephane’s 67. But it’s been sophomore Maliah Howard-Bass who has provided a spark to the Cardinal offense in recent games.
“A lot people see her ability to shoot the ball,” Sallee said. “But for us, our trust has grown in her ability to defend and she understands the system much better, and it makes her play harder.”
Howard-Bass has recorded double-digit points in the last four games and has tallied 13 three-pointers on the season. The sophomore is at 100 percent from the free throw line this season and has posted five steals, as well.
“I’ve tried to improve my game all-around,” Howard-Bass said. “I’ve developed my shot, I’ve started driving to the basket more, and I spent my time in the off-season becoming a more well-rounded player.”
Though they are coming off of the loss at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Cardinals look to maintain their home-court momentum, having won their last two games in Worthen.
The game will begin at 7 PM on Thursday in Worthen Arena.