Ball State women’s basketball (4-3) lost its game on Saturday to Pittsburgh (7-2) 64-54.
The Cardinals kept the score close throughout but could never obtain a lead in the contest.
Head Coach Brady Sallee said the team is used to playing physical teams like the Panthers.
“I think we’re used to playing teams the level we are playing,” Sallee said. “The reason it was a close game throughout is we kept them from doing what they wanted to do.”
The Panthers were led by junior forward Amber Brown, who recorded 17 points and 14 rebounds. Sallee said the Cardinals knew what she could do going into the contest.
“She was really good,” Sallee said. “We couldn’t keep her away from the rim or the boards, especially in the first half.”
Ball State junior Annie Rauch, who had eight points and four rebounds, said she embraces her role off the bench, to come in, and be a physical interior presence for the Cardinals.
“Being physical is something I like to do,” Rauch said. “So it’s exciting when you have that opportunity because you know that’s going to be one of the big factors of the game.”
Rauch said one of the tenants of the team is toughness, and it is preached often.
“One of the things we always talk about is toughness, whether it’s physical or mental toughness,” Rauch said. “Staying focused on that is going to be what brings us success.”
Junior Sydney Freeman, who had 10 points and five assists, said her role as a leader on the court during the game involved ball handling.
“The main thing is taking care of the ball, for me,” Freeman said. “Just getting the ball to the other side.
Sallee said toughness has to be a more consistent theme throughout every game this season for the Cardinals.
“It has to become a habit, you can’t just flip a switch at game time,” Sallee said. “The huge factor was the 17 offensive rebounds they had.”
The Panthers out-rebounded the Cardinals 51 to 30 and 17 to 11 on the offensive boards. Pittsburgh used these offensive rebounds to create 34 points in the paint.
Sallee was sure to give the Panthers kudos for their strong showing in the interior.
“They’ve been a really good offensive rebounding team and have done this to just about every team they’ve played this season,” Sallee said. “It’s not an excuse, you just have to give them credit.”
The Cardinals' leading scorer was redshirt junior Anna Clephane who had 17 points.
Ball State women’s basketball will be back in action Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. EST against IUPUI (5-3).
Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at email@example.com