Ball State women's basketball picks up a Power 5 win over Pittsburgh

Junior Madelyn Bischoff dribbles the ball around a player against Northern Iowa Nov. 18 at Worthen Arena. Mya Cataline, DN
Junior Madelyn Bischoff dribbles the ball around a player against Northern Iowa Nov. 18 at Worthen Arena. Mya Cataline, DN

The Sun Coast Challenge was just the event Ball State women's basketball was looking for, head coach Brady Sallee said. 

With the opportunity to face Power 5 opponents on a neutral court, it was an opportunity the Cardinals could not pass up. 

The first game of the Challenge came against the University of Pittsburgh. Ball State defeated the Power 5 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Panthers 73-62. This is the second straight year the Cardinals have defeated Pittsburgh. 

The first quarter of the game saw a 14-0 run for the Cardinals after starting down 0-8.  

“We made a bunch of threes to get our lead,” Sallee said. “The accumulation of the press wore on them and we saw them asking for subs. It can get you. Our kids did a good job of playing through being tired and understanding what we had to do.” 

In the win, Sallee said the story of the game was the ability to get rebounds. Coming into the game, Sallee said he knew the Cardinals would have to win on the boards to stop Pittsburgh.

“For us to go get 14 O-boards (offensive rebounds), that has not been a strength of ours, it shows we can do it if we are consistent," Sallee said.  

In the end, Ball State outrebounded the Panthers 41-30. 

Junior Madelyn Bischoff went out in the first quarter of UConn and missed the game against Western Kentucky. In her return, she picked up where she left off with three 3-pointers to open her day. Sallee said that her scoring ability has a big impact on helping out the team and breaking down defenses. 

Sallee said Bischoff's ability to get to the line was essential in the win. In total, Ball State was 18-for-20 (90 percent) from the free throw line. 

“Getting to the free throw line is only as good as your ability to make them, and clearly that was through the roof today,” Sallee said. 

Although Ball State excelled in a multitude of categories, Sallee said today looked rather normal on his side. He said the ability to share the wealth in scoring has been consistent throughout the year. 

“We have a team and we pride ourselves on that part of it,” Sallee said. “We don’t worry about who gets the points or the shot, we worry about the type of shot it is and the execution that goes into it. This team is buying into that part of it.”

Part of sharing the wealth was junior Ally Becki. She had 17 points, six assists, nine rebounds, two steals and one block. Junior Alex Richards also finished above double-digits with 15 points.

Ball State’s second game in the Sun Coast Challenge will be against the University of Georgia, who comes in with notable wins over Troy and Purdue.

Sallee said Georgia brings a zone defense that is different from what they have seen so far this year. He said Southeastern Conference (SEC) athletes are going to be tough to stop everywhere on the court. 

Ball State will face Georgia on Dec. 21 with the start scheduled for noon. 

Contact Elijah Poe via email at or on X @ElijahPoe4.


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