Buckets were hard to come by in Tuesday night’s matchup between Ball State and IUPUI where the Cardinals lost, 65-48. The Cardinals struggled to gather momentum in the first half, tallying more turnovers than they did points after two quarters.
“The room for growth is exciting,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “This one may have stunk, but this group has shown that they’ll fight. They’ll come in the gym on Thursday, and they’ll want to get better.”
Despite the sore outcome for the Cardinals, there were some shining moments for a few players on the squad. While the team racked up the turnovers, it was able to force IUPUI to rack up 23 of its own and posted 12 steals throughout the night. Four players stood out in particular, contributing nearly three-quarters of the points for the Cardinals.
Thelma Dis Agustsdottir
The Iceland native contributed numbers in almost every category Tuesday, leading the team in points with 11 and grabbing three rebounds. As the only player to reach double-digits for Ball State, Agustsdottir contributed two of the team’s four 3-point baskets and shot 57 percent from the field. An essential player in last year’s lineup, she has become part of the key personnel to the Cardinal offense.
Coming off an ACL tear that occurred midseason last year, the sophomore guard was anything but timid. Clephane provided a spark for the Cardinals with nine points and five steals, and Sallee was as thrilled as anyone to witness her comeback.
“I was so excited to see her be able to come out and play that way,” Sallee said. “[Clephane] has worked so hard just to get back out on the floor. For her to be able to come out and be that spark and play with that much energy has everybody excited.”
Clephane pulled down rebounds on both ends, provided fast break points and gave the Cardinals their defensive edge to stay in the game throughout the night.
Benson is a fresh face on the Cardinal team, and while her minutes on the court may have been quiet, her efforts did not go unnoticed. The Northwest Missouri transfer added six points and four rebounds while only seeing 12 minutes of playing time. Add her two assists, and the senior played a crucial role in getting some quick points for the Cardinals while also maintaining a strong defensive presence.
Another new member to the squad, Freeman made her name known Tuesday, playing the role of the primary ball handler alongside freshman Estel Puiggros. Freeman added seven points to the board and pulled down five rebounds while tacking on four assists. The freshman from Albion, Indiana, was a highly-touted recruit, and she showed why against IUPUI.