Cardinals use strength in numbers to secure Sallee's 300th career win

<p>Head Coach Brady Sallee watches his team play Nov. 9, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals beat the Panthers 84-75 in overtime. <strong>Kyle Smedley, DN</strong></p>

Head Coach Brady Sallee watches his team play Nov. 9, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals beat the Panthers 84-75 in overtime. Kyle Smedley, DN

Ball State Women’s Basketball (1-0) started off its regular-season with a 84-75 overtime win against Milwaukee-Wisconsin (0-1) Nov. 9. The win marked the 300th career for head coach Brady Sallee.

The Cardinals were driven by a mixture of veteran and new players, including freshman Ally Becki, who scored a team-high 17 points in 24 minutes. She also converted 3-of-5 shots from three, another team-high. In her first collegiate game, Becki said she felt comfortable.

“I feel really good," Becki said. "Having my teammates pass me the ball and trust me with it is really cool."

Redshirt Junior Anna Clephane had 12 points, including the final layup in regulation to force overtime. In close games, Clephane believes it’s a matter of putting the situation in perspective.

“You have to focus on what’s right in front of you,” Clephane said. “You can’t really focus on the score or fouls, you just have to focus on what you can control.” 

Senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir chipped in 14 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line. Sallee was impressed with the Cardinals depth, and emphasized the age of the players on the court is not a factor. 

“I don’t think at any point during the game we’re thinking, ‘Oh there are three freshmen and two seniors out there,” Sallee said. “We believe in our depth.” 

Sallee said Ball State is building trust in multiple aspects of the game, which has created no mental difference between upperclassmen and new players.

“Every second we are out there, we are building,” Sallee said. “I want them to play free and hard and to trust their teammates.”

Freshman Ally Becki shoots a three point shot Nov. 9, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals beat the Panthers 84-75 in overtime. Kyle Smedley, DN

Sallee said the Cardinals culture led to the “scrappy” play to help secure the win.

“I think it’s a part of wearing Ball State across their chest,” Sallee said. “It forced us to play with multiple efforts today.” 

Ball State held its lead for seven minutes and five seconds, but Clephane remained confident due to the trust in her teammates. 

“I was pretty confident, because I know what this team has and I know what we are capable of,” Clephane said.

Sallee was impressed with the Cardinals poise under pressure and will use this performance as momentum heading into their next game. 

“With everything on the line, to learn from that and execute as well as we did, (I) can’t say enough about this group,” Sallee said. “I was really impressed with our in-game situational decisions.” 

The Panthers were led by senior forward Megan Walstad, who totaled 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Despite the win, Sallee said practice the next few days will remain normal because the Cardinals understand its all about the next game.

“All we’ll worry about is being 1-0 on Friday,” Sallee said. 

The Cardinals return to Worthen Arena Nov. 12 against Purdue Fort Wayne. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m.

Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at kyle.smedley@bsu.edu.

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