Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated Ball State Men's Basketball had defeated Toledo 88-77 when it was actually Ball State Women's Basketball. This error has been corrected.
The Cardinals proved they could win in multiple ways Saturday afternoon.
Ball State (13-9, 11-7 MAC) defeated Toledo (10-12, 6-12 MAC) 88-77. The story of the game took place on the offensive end of the court, where the Cardinals shot 12 of 24 from the 3-point line.
“We've always preached, 'play your game, understand who you are as a player,'” head coach Brady Sallee said. “We just trust what our players have been working on, and that showed today. If this film is out there, which it will be, I think everybody's going to look and say, 'OK, well Toledo tried it, and it didn't go so well.'”
Sophomore guard Sydney Freeman scored a career-high 28 points. She did most of her scoring from deep, where she finished 6 of 9. She also dished out nine assists while committing just two turnovers. Sallee was pleased with Freeman and the rest of the team's offensive execution against a game plan that challenged them to make plays outside the arc.
“They made a concerted effort to not let us throw it inside,” Sallee said. “I thought we were patient — we executed, and we got the outside shots that we wanted. I mean, Syd was feeling it, bombs away.”
Junior forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir totaled 18 points. She shot 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. Redshirt sophomore guard Anna Clephane chipped in 13 points and has scored in double-digits 14 of her last 15 games.
Junior guard Essence Booker played in her first game since Jan. 9, where she suffered a knee injury that caused her to miss time. In 19 minutes, Booker scored 10 points. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, she played an important role in sealing the victory, shooting 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
Sophomore guard Quinesha Lockett paced the Rockets with 24 points. While they never held the lead, the Rockets came back from a 13-point deficit in the first half and a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter. While Sallee would have liked if the Cardinals kept their 20-point lead, he was delighted with how they pulled through in crunch time.
“I think you need to have multiple layers to how you end games,” Sallee said. “Unless you're just the most talented team on every single floor and you can just impose your will, you have to be able to adjust and see what another team's doing. I think it's big to be able to win in a different way.”
With two home games remaining, the Cardinals will finish with an 11-2 record on the road — the best in the Mid-American Conference. Eleven wins are also the most road wins Sallee has had in his tenure as the Cardinals' head coach.
Ball State will return to action Wednesday, March 3, hostin Central Michigan (13-8, 11-6 MAC). The Cardinals won the first meeting 69-66 Feb. 3. Tipoff is 7 p.m.