In its first Mid-American Conference (MAC) game of the 2021 season, Ball State Women’s Basketball (7-4, 0-1 MAC) allowed 49 second half points and lost 82-58 against Bowling Green (6-4, 1-0 MAC) Jan. 1. However, the Cardinals reached a milestone in defeat.
Senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir recieved a pass from junior Sydney Freeman with seven minutes and 26 seconds left in the third quarter and connected on a 3-pointer to reach 1000 career points.
“We're all excited for Thelma to reach a milestone like that,” Sallee said. “I know she would have rather done it with a win, but you know, this is a full body of work kind of accolade. She's clearly been able to score the ball at a high level ever since she's got here. She goes about it the right way. She's one of our hardest workers and to see her accomplish the 1000 point marker, it's exciting for all of us and couldn't happen to a better person.”
Agustsdottir paced the Cardinals in scoring with 14 points, while Freeman led in assists with five. Freshman Marie Kiefer grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Bowling Green led 35-33 at halftime, and used a 31-13 run in the third quarter to extend its lead to 16 heading into the fourth quarter.
“[If] you give up 31 points in a quarter, that's going to be a problem,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “At the same time, we couldn't score the ball to save our life. I thought they came out and made a concerted effort to go get to the offensive glass. They flipped the rebound numbers on us almost upside down. They just started playing way tougher than we did. I thought they ramped up their energy and we just kind of stayed the same. Once they kind of hit a couple, I thought we started really pressing and we became undisciplined.”
The Cardinals entered the game ranked ninth in the MAC, and Sallee said it will be a long season and Ball State can't get hung up on a single loss.
“We get 18 or 19 more of these in the regular season,” Sallee said. “Every game you have got to learn from it… You can't get too high or too low during a conference season. It's a long grind. You tip your caps to Bowling Green and then move on and get ready for the next one. But there are definitely some places that we were exploited [and] we can get better for next time out."
Despite the loss, Sallee said the Cardinals’ first-half performance was solid and they will look to correct the second half issues in future contests.
“I think we played a half of basketball that wasn’t too bad,” Sallee said. “Even though we weren't shooting the ball great, we were solid enough on the defensive end, to have the lead going in and halftime. We'll find the positives in it and try to correct the negatives.”
Ball State continues its road trip Jan. 5 against Northern Illinois (3-6, 0-1 MAC). Tipoff is 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.