Several hours before tipoff, Ball State Women’s Basketball (11-7, 4-4 MAC) lost four players due to health and safety protocols and had eight active players.
However, Ball State overcame its inactives in its 67-64 win against Miami (Ohio) (6-9, 2-4 MAC) Jan. 24. Graduate student Chyna Latimer said the Cardinals mentality didn't change and they approached it like any other game.
“I don’t think it affected our mindset,” Latimer said. “We always go out and play together and play tough.”
The Cardinals were led in the scoring by freshman Ally Becki with a career-high 19 points. She made 3-of-6 from the 3-point line and led Ball State with three assists. Latimer recorded her fifth consecutive game in double-figures with 17 points. She grabbed 10 rebounds, notching her first double-double of the season.
“It's about always being ready,” Latimer said. “Having the confidence in my teammates, they trust me to go out there and make a play.”
Ball State outrebounded Miami 44-36, and head coach Brady Sallee said Latimer's rebounding was pivotal towards the Cardinals success.
“Those ten rebounds were big, she went out there and got them,” Sallee said. “I think we fed off that.”
Sallee said the Cardinals scheme was not impacted by their shortened roster because he preaches the importance of depth.
“I don’t think the game plan was affected at all, it was next man up,” Sallee said. “I tell them all the time, I don’t care who starts, and I have never spoken truer words in my life.”
Sophomore Ivet Subirats scored nine points in a season-high 26 minutes. In her first action since Jan. 15, Subirats said she had trouble adjusting but thought Ball State's performance showed its competitiveness.
“It was a little bit of a struggle for me,” Subirats said. “But I think we all can step up and play.”
Ball State led by 18 points with five minutes and one second remaining in the third quarter, but the RedHawks cut the deficit to five with one minute and 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals shot 21-of-29 from the free-throw line, and Sallee said he was glad Miami kept it close because Ball State was forced to make free-throws for the first time this season.
“They [Miami] don’t stop playing, they’re used to being down big and it doesn’t affect them,” Sallee said. “A game like this is good for us, this is the first time all season that we’ve had to get the ball in to get fouled at the end of a game.”
The Redhawks were paced by junior guard Peyton Scott, who led all scorers with 23 points. Scott was 8-of-8 from the free-throw line and led Miami with four assists.
The Cardinals travel to play against Buffalo (11-6, 5-2 MAC) Jan. 26. Tipoff is 7 p.m.