Ball State Women’s Basketball becomes ‘mentally tougher’ in Van Chancellor Classic

Ball State Women's Basketball head coach Brady Sallee calls a play from the sideline on Nov. 3 at Worthen Arena.
Ball State Women's Basketball head coach Brady Sallee calls a play from the sideline on Nov. 3 at Worthen Arena.

Ball State (3-2) won one of its three games in the Van Chancellor Classic Nov. 26-28, but head coach Brady Sallee believes the Cardinals can become "mentally tougher" after the adversities they faced throughout the weekend.

Ball State: 67

Texas Tech: 71

The Cardinals dropped their opening game against Texas Tech (5-1) Nov. 26. After outscoring the Red Raiders 24-13 in the third quarter, Ball State failed to close out the game. 

Sallee said the Cardinals were able to execute down the stretch, but fell short in defensive rebounding. 

“I thought we fought our tails off," Salee said. "It probably came down to a couple free throw box-outs that we didn’t execute. One of the great things about these tournaments is you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself."

Ball State was led by redshirt junior Anna Clephane with 15 points. The Red Raiders were paced by senior forward Taylah Thomas with 18 points. 

Ball State: 66

Stephen F. Austin: 87

The Cardinals lost their second consecutive game Nov. 27 against Stephen F. Austin (6-1). The Lumberjacks turned Ball State over 22 times, but Sallee thought the Cardinals handled the press defense well. However, Sallee believes Ball State struggled in its half-court offense.

Ball State redshirt Junior Anna Clephane shoots a free-throw on Nov. 3 at Worthen Arena. Clephane finished the night with 20 points.

“We need to understand how locked in you have to be for 40 minutes,” Sallee said. “The good thing about playing a team like this is you learn a lot about yourself. I think this will pay off for us in the long run.” 

The Lumberjacks were led by junior guard Stephanie Visscher with 24 points, while Clephane led Ball State in scoring for the second consecutive game with 15 points.

Ball State: 73

Saint Joseph’s: 67

The Cardinals ended the weekend with their first win against Saint Joseph's (1-6). Ball State registered three players in double figures, including Clephane with 12 points. Senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir finished with a team-high 13 points, while junior Annie Rauch scored 12 points.

In three games, Clephane shot 4-of-7 from three. She averaged a team-high 14 points.

“She’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, and she’s stepping up in the role we need her to play in,” Sallee said. 

While Sallee thought the Cardinals were efficient offensively, he believes Ball State must improve its defense and ability to defend without fouling.

“We need to figure out a way to play tougher without fouling,” Sallee said. “We have to be tougher and put our nose to the ball.” 

Ball State returns to Worthen Arena Dec. 3 against Pittsburgh (5-2). Tipoff is 1 p.m.

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

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