Looking to the ground: Alex Richard leads Ball State women's basketball over Saint Louis

Junior Alex Richard shoots the ball against Tennessee Tech Nov. 6 at Worthen Arena. Richard scored 18 points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN
Junior Alex Richard shoots the ball against Tennessee Tech Nov. 6 at Worthen Arena. Richard scored 18 points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN

Ball State women’s basketball put up 13 points in the first quarter against IUPUI. Ball State put up 13 points in the first quarter against ranked Notre Dame. Today, the Cardinals only put up 11 points in the first quarter against Saint Louis University. 

Three straight games, three straight first quarters under 15 points. 

Although the Cardinals won against IUPUI and Saint Louis. In those games, slow opening quarters for Ball State have put themselves in tight situations down the line. The Billikens fought until the whistle, but Ball State proved to be too much for Saint Louis in the 71-64 win. 

The Cardinals opened 4-for-16 (25 percent) from the field and 1-for-10 (10 percent) from three. 

With the slow start in the quarter, junior Ally Becki thinks the team will just need to be in the gym more to prevent them. 

“I think a couple of us are struggling to make shots right now,” Becki said. “It just means putting in more work. Hard work beats talent, it is kind of cheesy, but you just have to get in the gym and keep getting up shots.” 

Head coach Brady Sallee said even though today was not a good shooting night, they were getting a lot of good looks. He said it is exciting to see those open looks because they will eventually start going in.

“It is hard to get on a roll when we miss shots,” Sallee said. “To our teams' credit, we had 18 second chance points. We were going to get the misses and we were turning defense into offense.”

Without making shots, Sallee said you have to look to the ground. The main player on the ground for the Cardinals today was junior Alex Richard. 

“She [Richard] finished at a high level and went and got some boards,” Sallee said. “I thought she was active and playing tough. That is what she has got to be.”

Last year, Richard played in all 35 games but started in zero of them. This year, Richard has started in five out of seven games. Growing into a starting role, Sallee said Richard has been able to develop and learn the Ball State system. He said her consistency and confidence have grown over her time in the red and white. 

Against the Billiken, Richard finished with 17 points on 8-for-12 (66 percent) shooting. She was able to generate offense for the Cardinals when seemingly nobody else could. With her 11 quick points in the first two quarters, she was the spark Ball State needed. 

Becki said it was exciting to see Richard get into the groove of things during the game.

“I am happy for her to play well, execute well and know her role,” Becki said. “In practice, she has been disciplined and knows what to do. Seeing her grow as a player is awesome. As she grows, we grow.” 

With Becki leading the point, she said Richard and her on the court have been reading each other well. Today, she said the defense was switching on screens so either she had an open shot, or Richard could take it in the paint with a mismatch. 

With the win, Sallee said the Cardinals have proven they are able to win without scoring a lot of points and win by playing defense. 

Forcing 30 turnovers, Becki said the addition of junior Nyla Hampton has helped everyone become a better defender. She said the defense as a whole has been played harder and loves to speed up teams to create turnover opportunities. 

Sallee said anytime the team can pull out a close win, it will grow confidence and the mindset that Ball State can compete with anyone. 

Looking ahead to UConn, Sallee said it is exciting, but it has to be just another game for Ball State. Learning off of Notre Dame, Becki said the Cardinals are just going to have to play their own game against UConn. She said the team is almost able to know what is needed of them to compete against the Huskies. 

The game in Storrs, Connecticut, will tip off at 7 p.m. Dec. 6. 

Contact Elijah Poe via email at elijah.poe@bsu.edu or on X @ElijahPoe4.


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