Ball State guard Gabby Smith charges to the basket where she drew a foul from Kent State guard Mariah Modkins in John E. Worthen Arena Jan. 23, 2019. Ball State defeated Kent State to break their losing streak and set their overall record for the season 7-11. Eric Pritchett,DN
Late leads, road struggles keep Ball State Women's Basketball from flying
The 2012-13 season marked a new era for Ball State Women's Basketball with the hiring of head coach Brady Sallee and right from the get go Cardinal fans have seen nothing but, success from their team. Since taking over the program, Sallee has had 120-75 overall record and coached the team to one of their best seasons in program history, 25-7 record last year.
However, this season has seen a drop off from seasons past, as fans have not had to deal with the word, “losing” from their Cardinals in quite some time. The Cardinals are 7-12 and 2-5 in the MAC so far this season. One of the biggest factors pointing towards this downward shift, is the loss of five seniors, Moriah Monaco, Destiny Washington, Frannie Frazier, and Carmen Grande from last year’s team.
“Those losses have shown this season," Sallee said. "I think any time you lose experience like that it’ll be tough, but the new players we have are continuing to grow every game which is good."
The Cardinals have had leads heading into the second half or fourth quarter on four separate occasions this season including, the 65-62 loss on Saturday against conference opponent Western Michigan at home. The Broncos were trailing by 11 entering the final quarter and outscored the Cardinals, 22-8.
Blown leads and the struggles closing out games have been a trend all season. The Cardinals had a 41-32 half time lead against Fordham to lose, 78-70, a 7-point lead with under 6 minutes left versus Quinnipiac, to lose 69-66, and led by four on the road at Miami (OH) with 8:22 left to eventually see the RedHawks go on a 15-8 run to win, 60-57. Just one play or two could have seen those games turnout differently.
With nine underclassmen including six freshman Gabby Smith, Abi Haynes, Hadassah Harris, Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, Blake Smith and Anna Clephane, this team has shown signs of a young core going through growing pains. With eleven games remaining all in the MAC, including six more road contests, the Cardinals will try to find success and have a stronger showing the rest of the way. Freshman Thelma Dis Agustsdottir talked about this season as whole.
“It’s been a tough season so far," Agustsdottir said. "We know we are a young team here with most of us getting this first-hand experience, but with a good part of the season left, will keep growing and improving our play."