Cardinals secure road victory against Eagles in ‘Battle of the Birds'

Ball State Graduate Student Chyna Latimer takes a shot from behind the 3-point line against Bellarmine University at Worthern Arena Dec. 20. Ball State won 84-63 over the Kinghts. Eli Houser, DN
Ball State Graduate Student Chyna Latimer takes a shot from behind the 3-point line against Bellarmine University at Worthern Arena Dec. 20. Ball State won 84-63 over the Kinghts. Eli Houser, DN

In her first start since Nov. 28, graduate student Chyna Latimer was ready for the moment.

“I’m so proud of her,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “You could see it in her eyes, she’s been practicing differently and it showed tonight.” 

Ball State Women’s Basketball (9-5, 2-2 MAC) defeated Eastern Michigan (4-6, 1-2 MAC) 83-73 Jan. 12 behind a season-high 17 points from Latimer. In replacement of redshirt junior Anna Clephane, Latimer also grabbed a season-high seven rebounds.

Ball State led by as much as 20 with three minutes and 41 seconds reamining in the third quarter, and didn't reliniquish the lead for the entire contest. Sallee said he was impressed with the Cardinals ability to keep the lead in a road enviroment.

“Huge [win], especially on the road,” Sallee said. “Then you take the talent of our opponent into consideration too.”

Junior Sydney Freeman scored 15 points, while junior Annie Rauch scored a season-high 12 points. Junior Estel Puiggtros finished with 11 points and senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir poured in 10 points.

The Cardinals scored 38 points in the paint and shot 10-of-26 from the 3-point line. Ball State forced the Eagles to commit 18 turnovers, and Sallee credited the performance on both ends to execution.

Junior Sydney Freeman (11) looks to shoot the ball against Utah State on Dec. 11, 2021, at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana. Freeman was a leader in points, scoring 16 throughout the game. Amber Pietz, DN

“We took the ball through the teeth of their defense,” Sallee said. “We got whatever we wanted.” 

The Cardinals outrebounded the Eagles 38-24. Sallee said Ball State dedicated ample practice time towards rebounding and he's noticed improvement as the season has progressed.

“Right from the get-go, I thought Marie [Kiefer] set the tone,” Sallee said. “Annie [Rauch] was really active in the pick and roll game and got some put-backs along with it.” 

Ball State outscored the Eagles 27-13 in bench points, and Sallee said the Cardinals have faith in their depth.

“We have a lot of players who can have a big night and we trust the players we put out there,” Sallee said. 

Eastern Michigan was paced by redshirt senior guard Areanna Combs with 23 points. Combs shot 8-of-14 from the field and converted 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.

The Cardinals return to action Jan. 15 against Akron (6-4, 3-1 in MAC) in Akron, OH. Tipoff is 2 p.m.

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

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