COVID-19 strikes again.
Due to health and safety protocols, Ball State Women’s Basketball (12-7, 5-4 MAC) have had its schedule adjusted multiple times, in this case forcing the Cardinals to have to play three games in five days.
The first of which on Saturday, Jan. 22, a win over Central Michigan (3-14, 1-7 MAC), a game two days later, another win over Miami (Ohio) (6-10, 2-5 MAC) and ending with Wednesday night's win over Buffalo (11-7, 5-3 MAC) 72-70.
Five days. Three games. Three conference opponents. Three wins.
Wednesday night's win against the Bulls, their first loss at home this season, came with added adversity for both teams, again brought by the health and safety protocols, as each team were out multiple players. The Cardinals dressed eight and the Bulls dressed seven.
“An incredible amount of toughness this team showed,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “With being down in numbers and being on the road to end this stretch, the girls stepped up to the plate.”
Freshman Ally Becki set her career high in points scored in Monday’s win over the RedHawks, yet she topped that with 21 points against the Bulls.
“Tremendous,” Sallee said of Becki’s recent play. “We have needed every bit of this, especially with [Sydney Freeman] out.”
Sallee said he has seen Becki improve over the course of her inaugural season, becoming a leader.
“She’s starting to build confidence and we trust her with the ball in her hand,” Sallee said.
The Cardinals were also backed by two other double-digit scoring performances in the form of senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir with 16 and junior Estel Puiggros who scored 16 points.
Sallee said one of the Cardinals keys to victory Wednesday night was a fast paced offensive attack, which he said they successfully implemented.
“I wanted to play really fast tonight, I thought that was our best chance to score,” Sallee said. “In a game like this, it only takes a couple of buckets.”
Another element of the game Sallee said he believed was essential to the team’s victory, and has all season, was rebounding.
“I told them before the game that the only way to win was to out rebound them,” Sallee said. It was our number one focus.” The Cardinals were successful in this out rebounding the Bulls 46-38, and ended up winning the game to boot. Graduate transfer Chyna Latimer led the Cardinals with 12 boards.
The Bulls had two players score 20-plus points, one being freshman guard Georgia Woolley who scored her career high with 24 and junior guard Dyaisha Fair with 22. Fair is ranked second in the MAC with 22.2 points per game.
The Cardinals will get a bit of a break, not back in action until a week from today, Wednesday, Feb. 2 against Ohio (11-5, 5-2 MAC). The game is set to tipoff at 7 p.m. EST in Athens, Ohio.