101 points, three players over 20 points and a couple of career-high nights encapsulates the night Ball State Women’s Basketball had in its win in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
Fans filled Worthen Arena for a hopeful WNIT win, for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
At the final buzzer, the Cardinals beat Belmont 101-86, the third time this season Ball State has scored over 100.
Belmont’s offense and defense in the first quarter simply suffocated the Cardinals
If you have ever seen the movie “Hoosiers,” you know a famous line that says you do not shoot until you pass the ball four times. Maybe Belmont took some tips from the Indiana staple, as the Bruins’ ability to pass the ball around the arc hurt the Cardinal defense.
By the end of the first quarter, the Bruins were shooting 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from the field and added on by shooting 4-of-8 (50 percent) from the 3-point line.
The defensive effort from Belmont was just as dominant, forcing three turnovers, outrebounding the Cardinals 8-6 and also picking up two steals to Ball State’s zero.
For the Cardinals’ offense, they were 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from the field and 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) from the 3-point line.
Belmont was led by junior guard Destinee Wells; she had 35 points and shot 11-20 (55 percent) from the field by the final buzzer.
The near-perfect second and third quarter for the Cardinals
Ball State had 30 points in the second quarter, almost outscoring the Bruins by double, as Belmont only scored 17 points in the second quarter.
The Cardinals shot 10-of-17 (58.8 percent) from the field and 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) from the 3-point line.
Ball State was led by sophomore duo Ally Becki and Madelyn Bischoff.
Becki had seven points in the first half and added eight assists in the first 20 minutes of play. Bischoff had 12 points and shot 4-of-5 (80 percent) from the field and a perfect 4-4 from 3-point land.
In the last 30-second sequence in Worthen Arena, not a fan was in their seat.
Wells brought up the ball for Belmont with time running out, drove to her right and was blocked by Becki, leaving only two seconds on the shot clock for the Bruins to get up a shot.
After the inbound, forward Tessa Miller was able to make a layup. Five seconds remained on the clock.
Bischoff then drove down the court to the top of the key and as time expired, drained the three.
Worthen erupted, and going into halftime Ball State led 42-40.
The Cardinals came out in the third quarter and one-upped themselves, scoring 32 points in only 10 minutes.
Ball State was shooting 13-of-25 (52 percent) from the 3-point line, not from the field, from the 3-point line.
At the end of the game, the five starters had 93 out of the total 101 points.
SHOCKER: Anna Clephane and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir duo do well
This is no surprise. No shocker at all, in fact, it is ALMOST a guarantee it happens every game.
It is easy to see the special connection between the two friends and teammates.
Graduate student Thelma Dis Agustsdottir hit four threes in the third quarter, breaking the single-season record for 3-pointers made.
At the end of the game, Dis Agustsdottir had 20 points and six 3-pointers. She needs two more threes to break the all-time 3-pointers made record for Ball State.
Clephane ended her night with a career-high 31 points and was 12-16 (75 percent) from the field.
Improvements from the loss against Bowling Green in the MAC Tournament
A large part of the loss to Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament come down to 3-pointers and free throws. Both were improved on today for the Cardinals.
Against the Falcons, the Cardinals shot 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) from the 3-point line which was a large reason they were unable to climb back and advance to the championship game. Today, at the final buzzer, Ball State shot 16-of-32 from beyond the arc, 50 percent.
Another reason for the loss in Cleveland was free throws, as Ball State only hit 7-of-14 (50 percent), and with a close tournament game on the line, it hurt the Cardinals’ chances. Today, they were 11-of-12 (91.7 percent).
Contact Elijah Poe with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElijahPoe4.