Cardinals fly past eagles on the road

The Ball State Women's Basketball team celebrates from the sideline during a game against Northern Illinois Feb. 1 at Worthen Arena. Brandon Dean, DN
The Ball State Women's Basketball team celebrates from the sideline during a game against Northern Illinois Feb. 1 at Worthen Arena. Brandon Dean, DN

On Feb. 4 against Kent State, Ball State Women’s Basketball had 29 points in only 10 minutes, or you can say one quarter. 

On Feb. 8 against Eastern Michigan, the Ball State Women’s Basketball team had 28 points in 20 minutes, or you can say one half. 

There was no doubt there was a lack of offense that was unusual in the first half for the Cardinals.

“We were struggling to make shots which you know could very well have made us uncomfortable,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “We kept defending in that stretch and really locked them down there in the first half, gave ourselves an eight or nine=point lead going into the half and then get some things figured out there.”

Ball State (20-4, 10-1 MAC) did end up figuring things out and was able to beat Eastern Michigan (12-10, 4-7 MAC) 68-50. The win advances the Cardinals to 10-1 in Mid-Amercian Conference (MAC) play, the first time since the 2001-02 season. 

The statistics from the first two quarters were very similar, so much so, down to the number of shots Ball State took. 

The Cardinals were 6-of-14 (43 percent) from the field and 2-of-7 (29 percent) from three in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Ball State was 6-of-14 (43 percent) from the field and 2-of-8 (25 percent) from three. 

Ball State was held scoreless for about four minutes that first quarter, but directly after the scoreless minutes, the Cardinals went on a 12-0 run. There would be another run, but not for Ball State. Eastern Michigan went on a 12-2 run to make the game close in the second quarter. 

“I think Eastern is a good defensive team,” Sallee said. “If you look at their numbers, you look at their scores, teams don't score easily against them. You get a little bit of a feel for the game and as long as we continue to defend as we did, then a game that's kind of playing at that pace, honestly, a nine-point lead felt like 20. I felt like we were in control even though we weren't making a ton of shots. The most important thing is we're getting good shots. We trust everybody with those shots and if we continue to get them we know it's just a matter of time [until they fall].”

There were two players who really hit their shots, that being redshirt senior Anna Clephane and graduate student Thelma Dis Agustsdottir. 

“Anna Clephane started putting it on the rim a lot,” Sallee said. “Thelma started getting loose for open shots and you know it was Katy bar the door at that point.”

Clephane had 23 points on 8-of-15 (53 percent) shooting from the field. She was also 7-of-8 on free throws. Clephane also had 10 rebounds, equalling her first double-double in her college career.

“It felt really good, it was cool,” Clephane said. “I'm glad my parents were able to make it there. I wasn't really sure I was close to that so they kind of screamed and I got it. I was like, oh, that's exciting. It was something new.”

Dis Agustsdottir on the other hand had 25 points on 9-of-18 (50 percent) shooting from the field. She also had seven 3-pointers in the game, going 7-of-16 (44 percent).

“It felt really good, kind of feel like I felt my shot again,” Dis Agustsdottir said. “Glad that we got the dub and that we played really well together.”

A key to the win was being able to force turnovers for the Cardinals. They were able to force 23 turnovers with their defense. 

“It was just a really good help defense,” Sallee said. “They understood what they were trying to do and what we were trying to take them away from. The fact that we could turn them over 23 times really just in the half-court, we pressed like two possessions. Part of that was early on, we didn't get to the free throw line, which we were gonna press out for free throws, but we didn't get to the free throw line the whole first half so we didn't get in our press. I thought we were just really locked in defensively. Minus a couple of kids getting loose on some threes, I thought it was one of our better defensive efforts all year.”

Clephane shadowed her coach’s points on the defensive efforts. 

“I felt like we were clicking on defense for a while,” Clephane said. “We had a lot of good blocks, Marie, underneath. A bunch of people were getting blocks and then we were able to kind of trap them in the post, which was a game plan. I think that helped us to get a lot of those turnovers so it felt good to click on defense like that.”

The Cardinals did in fact have a lot of blocks, seven total. Four came from sophomore Ally Becki, and the other three came from sophomore Marie Kiefer. 

This win marks 20 wins this season for the Cardinals, it is the sixth time to do so under Sallee. 

The Cardinals will travel to Akron for their next opponent on Feb. 11 with the game starting at 2 p.m. 

Contact Elijah Poe with comments at elijah.poe@bsu.edu or on Twitter @ElijahPoe4.

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