As winter break creeps in, Ball State Women’s Basketball (2-7, 0-0 MAC) prepares to kick off its final stretch of its non-conference schedule against Western Kentucky (5-6, 0-0 Conference USA) for Sunday’s matchup against the Lady Toppers.
Rather than taking the last few days to focus on their upcoming competition, head coach Brady Sallee says the main focus for the team has been self-reflection and working on themselves.
“This time off has time off has been all about us so far,” Sallee said. “The thing about basketball is that playing a number of games so close together can cause some slippage, so this time is allowing us to get some things taken care of and just worry about us.”
The last action the Cardinals saw was last Thursday in Worthen, where they fell to Vanderbilt, 60-43. While the Cardinals have lost two in a row, history shows that this could be followed by an upswing.
In the 2017-2018 season, the team’s two consecutive losses were followed by four consecutive wins, and the same pattern was shown the year before.
“Execution and shooting the ball have been our big focuses in the last couple of practices,” Sallee said. “We’ve been working on the things that have lost us a few games. It’s simple to identify what we need to work on, but it’s harder to actually get it fixed.”
Junior forward Aliyah Walker says this time off has been a good break from focusing on their opponents and switching gears to tailor their own game.
“Most of the time, we’re worried about the other team and what they’ll do,” Walker said. “It’s been good to focus on us and work on what we can do.”
While the anticipation of the upcoming game is looming, the players are knee-deep in studying during this last week of the semester. Sallee says it’s hard to expect the team to execute at a high level in the midst of finals week.
“They’re swamped with all of the studies this week,” Sallee said. “We try to get them in the gym, get them to sweat a little, but once finals are over is when we’ll really start gearing our focus to [Western Kentucky].”
The Lady Toppers have posted wins over Southern Illinois and ETSU. They also registered 90 points against MAC opponent Central Michigan, who ranked at the top of the conference.
They are on a three-game winning streak and have not given up more than 57 points in a game during that span. Junior forward Dee Givens is a guiding force on the Toppers’ squad, recorded 20-plus points in each of those matchups.
Other Cardinal matchups over winter break include Tennessee State University and Urbana University.
The Cardinals will meet the Toppers in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Sunday at 5 PM central time.