Cardinals fail to complete comeback in home loss against Kent State

Ball State Freshman Ally Becki dribbles the ball behind the three-point line while guarded by a Kent State defender at Worthern Arena Jan. 9. Becki scored 10 points for the Cardinals during her 24 minutes on the court. Eli Houser, DN
Ball State Freshman Ally Becki dribbles the ball behind the three-point line while guarded by a Kent State defender at Worthern Arena Jan. 9. Becki scored 10 points for the Cardinals during her 24 minutes on the court. Eli Houser, DN

In its first Mid-American Conference home game of the season, Ball State Women’s Basketball (8-5, 1-2 MAC) fell 54-51 against Kent State (9-4, 1-3 MAC) Jan. 9.

After trailing 27-20 at halftime, the Cardinals used a 20-point third quarter to hold a 40-39 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Kent State junior guard Katie Shumate connected on two free-throws to extend the Golden Flashes to three with three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. After a Ball State timeout, junior Sydney Freeman missed a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime as the final horn sounded. 

Freshman Ally Becki said she was disappointed in the loss because the Cardinals had the Golden Flashes on the ropes. 

“You can always make excuses like if we would’ve had just one more minute,” Becki said. “I thought we had them.” 

The Cardinals shot 6-of-26 in the first half, and Head Coach Brady Sallee acknowledged the lackluster first half for Ball State. Sallee said the Cardinals had to make an adjustment coming into the second half. 

“There was a bad taste in our mouth at halftime,” Sallee said. “It turned into one of those games that goes back and forth.” 

Becki said the Cardinals mindset changed in the third quarter and they began playing like themselves. 

“I think we started being more accountable,” Becki said. “We were tired of them [Kent State] getting what they wanted.”

Ball State Women's Basketball players stand with arms interlocked during the national antherm at Worthern Arena Jan. 9. Kent State defeated the Cardinals 54-51 after trading the lead throughout the second half. Eli Houser DN

 Redshirt junior Anna Clephane was one of two Cardinals to score a team-high 10 points. Becki also scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Becki said the coaching staff has been telling her to take open looks. 

“The coaches have been telling me I need to be more aggressive,” Becki said.

Sallee said the MAC is a competitive conference and most games will be nail biters.

“I like the fight because in this conference you’re going to need to have it,” Sallee said. “It’s going to be a different match-up every night.” 

Sallee recognized the margin for error is little in MAC games, and said although not much went the Cardinals way, they stayed in the game.

“In a game where we didn’t get too many breaks, I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win,” Sallee said. “We have enough players in our locker room that understand what playing in the MAC is.” 

The Golden Flashes were led by freshman forward Bridget Dunn, who scored 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Kent State outrebounded Ball State 43-32.

The Cardinals travel to Eastern Michigan (4-5, 1-1 MAC) Jan. 12. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

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

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