After recording the fewest number of wins in 25 years with eight last season, Ball State Women’s Basketball is looking to get back to a playstyle that will lead them to success for the upcoming season. 

“Playing fast is something we want to try and get back to like we did two years ago, and so far so good,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “Our upperclassmen have been good setting the tone of the speed that we are trying to practice and the competitive levels that we are trying to get to.”

The Cardinals faced a lot of growing pains last season with a lot of inexperience in eight underclassmen. This year, the team will look familiar, as it returns 10 players with at least a year under their belt and only features four freshmen.

The standouts of the returnees consist of sophomore forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, following an All-Mid-American Conference freshman team honor averaging 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in her debut season, junior forward Oshlynn Brown, who led the team in 2018-19 with 12.7 points per game and 9.4 rebounds and graduate student Jasmin Samz, who led the team in minutes played per game with 30.7. 

Ball State has found leaders in the group that have stepped up and guided the team around them such as Brown, Samz and senior forward Aliyah Walker.

“They have a ton of experience at this and are able to send the right message, which is always important,” Sallee said. “We got kids that want to be led, so it’s a two-way street, and that dynamic has been really positive so far.”  

Their guidance will be tested early on as Ball State faces a three-game road stretch to start the season, which can be difficult for the less experienced group of players. 

Maliah Howard-Bass, Thelma Dis Agustsdottir and Jasmin Samz look on as their teammates run a play during practice Oct. 29, at the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center. The Cardinals are coming off an 8-23 season, the lowest in the past decade. Eric Pritchett, DN

Throughout the offseason, the Cardinals focused on becoming more competitive, starting with competing against each other. Sallee said an emphasis has been putting the players into situations where they can go against teammates and fight to earn a position. 

“We try to put them in as many uncomfortable situations as we can and teach them how to function at a competitive level, and they’ve handled it really well,” Sallee said. 

The team went at it in one-on-one situations, two-on-two, three-on-three and also running up and down against their men’s practice team to try and build a competitive attitude in hopes that it carries over throughout the season. 

“I want to see us hunker down and just compete,” Sallee said. “I want to see us play until exhaustion. We have enough players, so you have to go out there and play to exhaustion, and I don’t want to see anybody put their foot on the brake.” 

The Cardinals will look to transfer their work from the offseason to the real thing Nov. 5 as they travel to Indianapolis to take on IUPUI for their first contest of the season. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. 

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