The Cardinals went into Kent, Ohio knowing that the Golden Flashes have the ability to play a complete 40 minutes of basketball. When the two teams first met in early January, Ball State was able to finish the game in the final 30 seconds. Wednesday's tilt favored Kent State in the final 30 seconds. Here are three takeaways from Ball State Women’s Basketball’s 69-68 defeat at Kent State.
Close games for the Cardinals are nothing new to them this season. 12 games have been decided by 10 points or less for Ball State and the Cardinals are 8-4 in those contests. The last time these two schools met, the game was decided by four points in favor of Ball State.
The Cardinals were set up in the final 10 seconds needing a 3-pointer to tie the game. Out of a timeout, Brown took the ball into the lane for a wide-open layup, but the Cardinals needed a three. Ball State’s miscues in the back-and-forth game proved costly for them down the stretch.
While the Cardinals have been known for their second-half performances this season, Ball State shined in the first half, particularly the second quarter. The Cardinals found themselves in what would be their largest deficit of the game at nine points when the first quarter came to a close. The Cardinals shot 68 percent from the field in the second quarter to keep them in the game.
The second half would prove to be costly for the cardinal red and white. Shooting just 29 percent from the field on 5-17 shooting allowed the Golden Flashes to outscore the Cardinals 19-13 and get back within one point at the quarter break. Ball State still had trouble from the field in the fourth as only three of their nine attempts fell from the field.
Ball State was able to hang in the game thanks to their rebounding abilities. The Cardinals recorded 40 pull-downs compared to the Golden Flashes 29. However, Ball State left ten points on the court as they went 14-24 from the charity stripe. A missed free throw by Oshlynn Brown left the Cardinals down one with 40 seconds to play.
Foul trouble created problems
Three starters for Ball State found themselves with four fouls late in the game. Junior guard Oshlynn Brown was forced to close out the final 2:21 with four fouls. She went to the bench and returned with 1:04 left in the contest. Freshman guard Sydney Freeman picked up her fourth foul with over seven minutes to play. That forced her to head to the sidelines and she wouldn’t return until 2:21 was left in regulation.
Freeman ended her night going 1-6 from the field, only scoring six points. While redshirt freshman Anna Clephane scored 12 points off the bench, Freeman’s absence in the fourth quarter was costly for Ball State.
Sophomore forward Blake Smith scored 10 of the Cardinals 40 and led the team in scoring at the break. Two fouls in the fourth quarter forced freshman forward Annie Rauch to play the remainder of the game. Smith’s post presence early in the game helped Ball State keep it close.