Ball State falls short in down to the wire contest against Kent State

<p>Sophomore guard Blake Smith takes the ball from Junior forward Kelly McLaughlin, Jan. 25, 2020, in John E. Worthen Arena. Smith had eight points for the Cardinals. <strong>Jacob Musselman, DN</strong></p>

Sophomore guard Blake Smith takes the ball from Junior forward Kelly McLaughlin, Jan. 25, 2020, in John E. Worthen Arena. Smith had eight points for the Cardinals. Jacob Musselman, DN

Ball State Women’s Basketball (13-7, 5-3 MAC) was able to connect on the final shot of the game, however, it was only enough to cut their deficit to one point as the final buzzer sounded. 

Kent State (11-7, 4-3 MAC) came out on top over the Cardinals for the first time in three years winning 69-68. 

It was a contest that saw a total of 12 lead changes throughout as both teams continued to battle for control. 

The Golden Flashes struck first as they built an early lead in the first quarter. They connected on half of their shots in the frame and used a 12-2 run at the end to give them a nine-point advantage after one. 

The Cardinals woke up and turned it on in the second quarter as they started to find their groove scoring a game-high 30 points as a group in the second frame alone compared to the Golden Flashes’ 14 points. Ball State headed into halftime with a 40-33 lead. 

Sophomore forward Blake Smith had it going in the first half on the offensive end scoring 10 early points but she wasn’t able to keep the momentum going moving forward because foul trouble stalled her night. Smith ended the game with 10 points. 

However, the second half belonged to Kent State by a small margin but it was enough to get the job done at the end. 

The Golden Flashes ended the third quarter with a 7-0 run, which gave the Cardinals only a one-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes of play. Kent State took the lead back with 7:40 after a layup by freshman guard Nila Blackford and from there on out it was a back-and-forth contest.

Redshirt senior guard Megan Carter was able to connect on a dagger with 10 seconds left that gave Kent State a three-point lead. Ball State had one last chance but they couldn’t get an open look from behind the arc and were only able to connect on a two-point basket as time expired. 

Ball State players joke around on the sideline, Jan. 25, 2020, in John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State beat Miami of Ohio 80-63. Jaden Whiteman, DN

“We needed a three but took a two, so that’s on me,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “But we can’t do that.” 

Carter was a problem for the Cardinals throughout as she finished the contest with a game-high 20 points. Three other Golden Flashes also finished the game with double-digit scoring.

Ball State also had four scorers in double-digits as junior forward Oshlynn Brown lead the way in with 15 points. Graduate guard Jasmin Samz had 14, redshirt freshman guard Anna Clephane 12 and Smith with 10. 

The Cardinals were actually able to control the glass in a game that they loss which is not common for Ball State. They won the rebounding battle 40 to Kent State’s 29. 

However, the Golden Flashes were able to take advantage of the Cardinals turnovers. Ball State only had 14 of them in the contest, they average 17.1 per game, but Kent State made sure to make them pay for the ones that they committed as they recorded 18 points off of turnovers alone. 

On the bright side of the loss for the Cardinals, Brown knocked down two three-point shots in the game which were her second and third of the season as she continues to show her extended range which can deem to be helpful down the stretch for Ball State. 

The Cardinals will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday at home as they take on Western Michigan for the first time this season. 

Contact Daric Clemens with comments at diclemens@bsu.edu or on Twitter @DaricClemens

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