In the highly built-up final Ball State Women’s Basketball home game against Toledo, there were a lot of things to look for in a key matchup. There was a close first half, foul trouble throughout, aggressive plays, a comeback from behind and lastly, a shot that could have won it all.
Prior to the game, Ball State honored its two seniors, Anna Clephane and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, for their last home game after five years in the program. Clephane finished the night with nine points and Dis Agustdottir finished with six.
Tough Mid-American Conference (MAC) first-half basketball
Just around six minutes into the game, there had already been eight lead changes. Right from the start, it was destined to be a close game.
At the end of the first quarter, things were just as close as they were four minutes prior, Ball State did hold a small 16-14 lead though. Both teams had the same amount of rebounds at 10 and the Cardinals had one more turnover with five.
Things stayed close (no surprise) through the second quarter as well. With around three minutes to play until halftime, Toledo was up 36-34. A large part of this lead was being able to draw fouls from the Cardinals.
Going into halftime, the Rockets had a 42-35 lead after some big fouls by the Cardinals.
Fouls, Fouls, Fouls
Toledo had 10 fouls in the first half, but Ball State was able to beat that with 14.
11 of the 14 fouls were from the starting five, courtesy of sophomore Ally Becki, Clephane, Dis Agustsdottir, sophomore Madelyn Bischoff and sophomore Marie Kiefer.
After a foul from Clephane, she was also called with a technical foul. This resulted in the Rockets’ senior Sophia Wiard hitting three out of four free throws.
This led to a large free-throw difference in the first half. Ball State had only taken six free throws in the first half while Toledo took 17.
Going into the fourth quarter, Clephane picked up her fourth foul, meaning one more would put her out of the game. Clephane, being the team’s leading scorer, would be a major loss if fouled out.
It wasn’t only Clephane who picked up her fourth foul in the fourth quarter, Kiefer and Becki also picked up four fouls with eight minutes to go. To add on, key bench player senior Annie Rauch, picked up her fourth foul in the quarter as well.
At the end of the game, Becki fouled out with eight seconds remaining. The foul came off a reach-in to try to get the ball back.
Ball State ended the night with 24 total fouls, with 17 of them coming from starters. There were 45 total fouls between both teams.
The fourth quarter nobody saw coming
With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Toledo built itself a 17-point lead. The lead looked as if it was too large to come back, but Ball State had other plans.
After multiple stops, multiple points and, of course, multiple fouls Ball State found themselves back in the ballgame.
42.2 seconds sat left on the clock after a Ball State timeout, the score was 67-70. Up to this point, Ball State outscored Toledo 20-10 in the fourth quarter.
After a defensive stop for Ball State and a turnover from the Cardinals, it put the ball back in Toledo’s hands. After free throws, Ball State was able to get the ball back.
With eight seconds remaining, Clephane banked in a three, making it a two-point game with 3.4 seconds left to go, 70-72.
After a Toledo travel in the backcourt, Ball State had .4 seconds left to go with the ball in hand.
The play went to Kiefer whose shot just fell short, sealing the win for Toledo.
Even after a loss, there is still a positive to take away from this game, showing the Cardinals were able to fight after being down a large number of points and almost pull off a big comeback win against a top team.
Toledo had too much to handle
Ball State struggled to stop Toledo senior guard Quinesha Lockett who had 11 points in the first half, finishing with 20 points and three steals.
Junior Sammi Mikonowicz had a double-double for the Cardinals. She had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Wiard finished with 17 points and was 7-for-10 (70 percent) from the free throw line.
Toledo was also able to out rebound the Cardinals 38-31 offensive rebounds. Even if the total gap was not all that big, the offensive rebounds extended their possessions, giving them more options to score.
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