It was a slow start for Ball State Women’s Basketball (0-1, 0-0 MAC), as first-game jitters seemed to hold the Cardinals back early, and they never could recover, falling to IUPUI (1-0, 0-0 Horizon) for the first time in history, 65-48.
The Cardinals couldn’t find a bucket until the 2:28 mark in the first quarter, and they went on a 6-0 run to cut the Jaguars' lead to 7-6. Those were their only baskets in the first quarter, which put them down six points at the end of the quarter.
“You see a lot of nerves out there on the road. We started a pretty young squad, and they jumped us pretty good, and turned us over, and it just kind of snowballed and we buried ourselves,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “This was our first time being under the lights, and you just never know until you see them out there.”
Ball State struggled to find rhythm from the beginning, as they continued to turn the ball over, committing 10 in just the first frame. It continued to plague their offense, as they finished the contest with 26 total team turnovers.
“We were playing a little bit hesitant, and they feasted on that and turned us over. The tough part about it was they were front court steals where they can turn them in to offense,” Sallee said. “Nothing we can do but learn from it. The good news is we know the talent in our group, and I trust it.”
The Jaguars took advantage of the many mistakes in the first half and built onto their lead in the second quarter, scoring an efficient 19 points and walking into the locker room with a 31-17 edge.
Ball State was able to make some runs in the second half, but IUPUI seemed to always have an answer and kept a comfortable lead throughout.
The Cardinals' offense at times was able to find open looks at the basket, but it just couldn’t knock them down consistently. Ball State shot 34 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from the 3-point line. The Cardinals only had one scorer in double figures, as sophomore forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir recorded 11 points.
The defensive effort from the Cardinals was up to par in certain spurts and caused the Jaguars to make mistakes of their own, as they turned the rock over 23 times. Ball State continued to mix up the defense, as they presented a press defense and man-to-man. However, IUPUI’s ball movement led to open shooters, and they put them in the hoop.
“Our defense, for really not having a deep scout, was pretty good,” Sallee said. “I thought we got in a stretch where their ball movement was quicker than our rotations, and that hurt us.”
IUPUI had a 38-26 advantage on the glass, which caused the Cardinals' defense to work harder on the defensive end.
“What hurt us on our defense was not being able to finish the play with rebounds, and I thought they really beat us up on the boards," Sallee said. "That’s something again we are capable of fixing, and we just have to have that sense of urgency to fix it."