Ball State Women’s basketball team won against Pitt in overtime Dec. 11.
Eight days later, the Cardinals did the same with an overtime win against Tarleton State University in the Puerto Rico Classic with an 80-77 win. The win is the seventh in a row for Ball State, with a 9-2 record.
“I thought we had to show a ton of grit,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “I think it's the perfect word for what this game had to be. Tarleton State [Univeristy] presented us with some challenges guarding them. They had a quick point guard that was giving us fits and then they had some good size in the middle. We had to make a few adjustments and our kids did a great job, but really, we just had to fight and claw our way to get this one. [We] figured out a way to win it and our kids know how to win right now. It's a lot of fun to watch.”
Sallee also hit the point that he knew that his team was tough, even if he thought his team might be trying to kill him with another game going into overtime. Sallee gave a lot of credit to Anna Clephane who forced a charge and also hit the free throws to force overtime.
Helping in that overtime win was sophomore Ally Becki. Becki had 17 points in the game and led the Cardinals in overtime, hitting a three to start overtime.
“We’ve been there before and we're just trying to close it out,” Becki said. “We knew that we had to do, we needed to box out and rebounding. We knew what we had to do and we did it, it obviously worked out really well and I am excited for that and [for] us.”
Becki played 44 of the 45 total minutes possible, the most minutes for any Ball State player.
“When you got a good player like that in a game like that, it's hard to take her off the floor,” Sallee said. “I tried to spell her around some media timeouts to get her a little bit longer break because of the timeout but you know when you got one like that it's hard not to have her in there. She's such a competitor that she doesn't want to come out either, so she's special there's no doubt about it. As she goes, we go, I think we feed off her in the way she plays and how hard she plays. We've got a lot of leaders out there on the floor in Anna Clepahne and Annie Rauch, and Allys another one of them, and [she] played her tail off today.”
Sallee hinted to Annie Rauch, who had a double-double in today's game with 12 points and ten rebounds.
“We were doing pretty bad on the boards in the first half,” Rauch said. “We were down 10 or so something like that. So I think that there was a big emphasis on rebounding, going into the second half especially. So just having that extra motivation and knowing that that was something that was gonna help us win the game, I think contributed to it.”
Although the Cardinals came out with a win, at the half they were trailing.
“We're getting just absolutely obliterated on the boards so we had to fix that,” Sallee said. “We had to make free throws. You know, we didn't feel like we were getting a great whistle in the first half but our free throws were pretty much even we just missed like two-thirds of them. I felt like if we could solve the rebounding problem and if we could get to the free throw line and make them, which we did a ton of there in the second half and overtime, that was gonna make a big difference.”
At the end of the game, the Cardinals were still outrebounded 42-34. Ball State did win the turnover battle though, forcing 17 while only committing 10.
This is yet another extensive road trip for Ball State, with the first one being a two-stop trip in Utah in November, and now a two-game stop in Puerto Rico.
“These trips make it fun, especially trips like this to Puerto Rico, Becki said. “I mean definitely long but it's worth it in the long run.”
Rauch agreed with Becki as well.
“I feel like this kind of the same answer that everybody gives, but just the fact that we're together literally 24/7 I think helps,” Rauch said. “I mean, you're with anybody long enough you're gonna get tighter as a group and I think it helps on the court.”
The Cardinals look to make it an eight-game win streak and will take on the University of Richmond tomorrow at 2 p.m. for the second game of the Peurto Rico Classic.