The Cardinals show ‘guts’ to pull out overtime victory over Huskies

<p>Sophomore guard Sydney Freeman dribbles the ball March 6, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals beat the Broncos 76-69. <strong>Jaden Whiteman, DN</strong></p>

Sophomore guard Sydney Freeman dribbles the ball March 6, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals beat the Broncos 76-69. Jaden Whiteman, DN

Ball State women’s basketball (8-4, 1-1 MAC) defeated Northern Illinois (3-7, 0-2 MAC ) 83-82 in overtime Wednesday night. The Cardinals went down early in overtime and junior Sydney Freeman hit two clutch 3-pointers to put the game within reach. 

After a back-and-forth exchange, it came down to a putback layup by redshirt junior Anna Clephane with just one second remaining on the clock to win the game for the Cardinals. 

These clutch plays and the 83 other points scored throughout the game came without starting senior, Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, who went down with an injury two minutes into the contest. 

Head coach Brady Sallee said he and the team are optimistic about Dis Agustsdottir’s status going forward. 

“I don’t know the extent of the injury, but we don’t think it’s anything crazy,” Sallee said. 

The Cardinals had to use their depth in light of Dis Agustsdottir’s injury, including a season-high 11 points for junior transfer Jazmyn Turner. Sallee said he was proud of how Turner stepped up in a big game. 

“If we can get more of that play out of her, she’s going to see the floor more,” Sallee said. 

The Cardinals had four players with double-digit points, but it was two consistent starters Sydney Freeman and Anna Clephane who each had 20 plus points.  

 Sallee said he noticed a lot of girls on the team step up in the game to make game-changing plays. 

“It’s kind of a next-man-up mentality,” Sallee said. “We had a lot of guts to make big plays down the stretch.” 

This was an offensive game throughout, the two teams throwing up 139 shots total. Each team took their fair share of looks from distance with 25 plus attempts for both the Huskies and the Cardinals. 

“Offensively both teams were really good,” Sallee said. “If you like defense, this game probably wasn’t for you.” 

The Huskies were led by junior guard Chelby Koker who ended up with 28 points, the game’s highest scorer. Sallee said Koker was on the Cardinals' radar coming into Wednesday’s game. 

“You try to make her earn [points] and down the stretch, we made a couple of big stops against her,” Sallee said. 

After a big loss at Bowling Green Jan. 1, the Cardinals ensured that this loss didn’t turn into a losing streak, something Sallee said can’t be allowed to happen in conference play.

“I think in conference play, you just can’t get on the rollercoaster of wins and losses,” Sallee said. “We put it to bed, we lost one game for God’s sake.” 

The Cardinals' next action will be against the  Miami (OH) RedHawks (4-6) in Muncie at Worthen Arena, the first game being played at home for the women’s team since December 20th, a game Sallee said his team is eagerly gearing up for. 

“We’re just excited to play in front of our crowd,” Sallee said. “Every time Ball State plays Miami (OH) it’s a big day.” 

Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at kmsmedley213@gmail.com

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