In a win-or-go-home situation, No. 6 seeded Ball State (14-11, 12-9 MAC) suffered a 61-59 loss to No. 3 seed Ohio (14-7, 11-6) in its opening game of the 2021 Mid-American Conference Tournament Wednesday evening.
Here are four takeaways from the contest:
Cardinals and Dis Agustsdottir go down fighting
Despite falling behind in the second half, Ball State did not allow the Bobcats to run away with the game. With one minute remaining, the Cardinals had possession, down five. A few seconds into the final minute, junior forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir sunk her third three of the quarter, which cut the lead to two. The comeback eventually fell short, but Dis Agustsdottir put on a shooting display in the loss. She finished with a team-high 21 points on a season-high 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc.
Bobcats use second half perimeter shooting for offensive boost
Ohio, who entered the night ranked first in the conference in team scoring per game (78.5), struggled to find its offensive rhythm in the first half. They shot a combined 2-of-16 from three and only managed to score nine points in the second quarter.
However, those shooting struggles disappeared in the second half. The Bobcats came out and converted on 6-of-9 from downtown in the third quarter. Redshirt freshman Erica Johnson finished with 19 points on 5-of-11 from downtown, three of which came in the third quarter.
Brown sets school record in final game
Senior forward Oshlynn Brown pulled down a career-high 22 rebounds in what is potentially her last game as a Cardinal. Her previous best was 19, which came on Feb. 6 against Akron. In 38 minutes of action, she finished with 12 points and four blocks.
Rebounding has been a crucial part of Brown's four years in the program. She passed Emma Jones' total of 1,028 career rebounds to become the program's all-time leading rebounder on Jan. 24.
Turnovers pile up
In their two regular-season meetings, the Cardinals committed a total of 57 turnovers against Ohio. In Wednesday's loss, Ball State tallied 21 turnovers. 15 of those turnovers came from the starting five.
Ohio managed to score only six points off the Cardinals’ turnovers. Senior guard Cierra Hooks led the Bobcats defense with four steals.
Ball State has now lost seven consecutive games in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. They finished the season as the only MAC program to play all 20 conference games.
Ohio advances to play No. 2 Central Michigan in the semifinals Friday, March 12.