Redshirt sophomore guard Anna Clephane has found success and consistency after bouncing back from a season-ending injury her freshman season against Vanderbilt. In the past six games, Clephane has played well over 30 minutes and has averaged 15 points while the Cardinals have gone 4-2 with her in the starting lineup.
In 2019-20, Clephane played all 31 games but started in just two. For the first nine games of 2020-21, Clephane averaged fewer than 25 minutes and six points per game.
However, after junior guard Essence Booker went down with a knee injury against Kent State mid-January, head coach Brady Sallee gave Clephane the opportunity to start and get more playing time.
“You credit her — she did the most with that opportunity,” Sallee said, “She took full advantage and now shows she has built it to a point where her confidence is sky high.”
Wednesday night against Central Michigan, Clephane had 21 points, eight rebounds, and played a career-high 45 minutes — an all-around performance from the redshirt sophomore guard against the Chippewas. Clephane played aggressively, getting herself to the free-throw line 12 times and going 8 of 12 from the charity stripe on the night.
“She has been incredible,” Sallee said. “I told her at the end of the game when she fouled out, ‘Kiddo, you poured it out today. I’m proud of you.’ To see her kind of reap the rewards of that hard work that she puts into it, as a coach, those are the good ones.”
With a loss in double overtime to the Chippewas and just one regular season game left until the MAC Tournament begins March 10 in Cleveland, the Cardinals will take this close loss as a learning experience to help better prepare themselves for the postseason.
“A lot of good things came out of [Wednesday’s] game,” Sallee said. “If this helps us lock in a little bit and we understand the importance of doing the little things, then we’ll be fine.”
For the next month, Sallee said, Ball State plans to play at its best in hopes of winning a MAC Title — something the team hasn’t accomplished since 2009. A little help from Clephane might go a long way in accomplishing that goal.