From the time the ball tipped to when the final buzzer sounded, the Cardinals were dialed in.
From the time they were up 2-0, the Cardinals held the lead and never relinquished it.
Ball State (4-4, 2-2 MAC) took command of the game from the jump and held the lead firmly for a 93-78 win over Toledo (6-2, 2-2 MAC). Ninety-three are the most points Ball State has scored this year, and head coach Brady Sallee was pleased with the way his team played offensively.
“I thought our execution was as good as it has been all year,” Sallee said. “The biggest stat I am most excited about is 20 assists. It tells you the ball was moving with purpose, and we were making extra passes for great shots.”
The Cardinals benefited from a balanced scoring output, with five players eclipsing double-digits. Senior forward Oshlynn Brown led the way with a season-high 24 points. She also pulled down 13 rebounds, giving her a third straight double-double. Brown made a living from the free-throw line, finished 8-for-13 from the charity stripe.
“Osh did a great job of understanding where she was going to hurt Toledo tonight, and that was down in the paint,” Sallee said.
The starting backcourt of junior guard Essence Booker and sophomore guard Sydney Freeman continued to impress offensively. Freeman finished with 18 points and eight assists, while connecting on 4-for-9 shots beyond the arc. Booker totaled 13 points in 34 minutes of action.
Other top scorers include Anna Clephane (14 points) and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir (15 points). Clephane started in place of junior forward Blake Smith, who is out with a leg injury. While Clephane is a natural guard, she played the forward position because of Smith’s absence and made her presence felt with eight rebounds.
Ball State committed a season-high 29 turnovers just four days ago in its loss to Bowling Green. Toledo ramped up the full court pressure at many points throughout the game, but the Cardinals kept their composure and turned the ball over just 12 times.
Sallee said he noticed the development of his team in the turnover department and credited its toughness.
“It was a team that wanted to take care of the ball,” Sallee said. “It was a complete focus on how important that part of the game is for us to get better.”
Toledo sophomore guard/forward Quinesha Lockett paced its offense with 34 points, while sophomore guard Sophia Wiard chipped in 23.
The Cardinals return to action this Saturday, Jan. 9, when they travel to Kent State (4-2, 3-0 MAC). Ball State split both its matchups with the Golden Flashes last year.