Coming off a successful road trip that saw the Cardinals win two games in Utah, Ball State was back at home against Western Kentucky.
The Cardinals (5-2) were able to win with a score of 82-76, topping the Hilltoppers (1-5), with head coach Brady Sallee saying the Cardinals did “just enough.”
The Ally Becki and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir effect
There is no doubt the sophomore Becki is one of the Cardinals most impactful players, and in tonight’s game she showed yet again why she is a leader.
In the first quarter alone she had eight points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals, all of that within nine minutes of playing time.
Becki was all over the court, diving for loose balls, breaking any press the Hilltoppers threw and passing the ball around.
At the end of the first half, Becki added two points and a rebound.
She continued to have on-court dominance in the second half. Becki was diving for loose balls (again), breaking the press (again) and passing the ball around (again).
By the end of the game, Becki had 17 points, led the team with eight rebounds and also led the Cardinals with seven assists.
For graduate student Dis Agustsdottir, after a tough first couple games of the season, she has found her groove and has begun to find her stride.
In the first half, Dis Agustsdottir had 12 points, two rebounds and was 5-7 from the field.
At the end of the third quarter, she added to her total, sitting at 17 points. By the final buzzer she had 22 points, finishing the night 4-9 from three, and also played for 38 minutes of the total 40.
If it shows you how dominant Becki and Dis Agustsdottir are, they were the only team members in double digits in the first half, and the next closest teammate was sophomore Madelyn Bischoff with five points.
At the end of the game, redshirt senior Anna Clephane was the only Cardinal other than Becki and Dis Agustsdottir with double-digit points with 19.
Ball State defensive dominance… at first
After the first quarter, the Cardinals only allowed six points, the fewest of the season. Most of this came with the credit of Ball State’s all too usual full-court press.
This is no surprise, and it’s beginning to sound like a broken record, but the ability to create turnovers suffocates any offense Ball State faces.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Cardinals had already forced 12 turnovers and showed no signs of slowing down. They ended the half with 17 turnovers.
Oddly enough, of those 17 turnovers, the Cardinals had 17 points off of them in the first half. At the end of the game, Ball State forced 27 turnovers.
Even if the Cardinals were losing the rebounding battle after the first quarter, they were still winning by 12.With the Ball State defense’s dominance in the first quarter, and most of the first half, they were outscored by five points in the second quarter.
The third quarter, yet again, was not a strong one from the Cardinals. Even if they matched Western Kentucky with 20 points each in the third, at some points the Hilltoppers cut the Cardinals one time 20 point lead to eight.
Two and a half minutes into the fourth quarter, Ball State was getting outrebounded 33-26. The rebounding by Western Kentucky was able to put them in the game, creating open shots from the perimeter for three or putbacks for two. They were outrebounded 44-32 total in today’s game, including allowing 18 offensive rebounds.
Even with the game getting close in some moments, the Cardinals were able to finish the game and sneak by with a win after being up big and almost blowing a lead, getting outscored 29-23 in the fourth.
The Cardinals struggle shooting from beyond the arc (again)
Seeing Ball State fall short from the 3-point line has been a recurring theme this year, and it was seen yet again against the Hilltoppers.
The Cardinals continue to fall short from the 3-point line, shooting just 5-18 from the arch in the first half, an abysmal 28 percent.. Even with the poor first half percentage, they were able to raise it in the second half to 32 percent from three.
As a whole, the Cardinals finished 43.8 percent from the field. Taking out the threes from Dis Agustsdottir and Becki, the Cardinals would have shot 1-12 from three.
Ball State returns to action Monday, Dec. 5, taking on Saint Louis (2-8) at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana, at 6:30 p.m.