3 takeaways from Ball State’s road loss at UConn

Junior Ally Becki dribbles the ball towards the net against Northern Iowa Nov. 18 at Worthen Arena. Mya Cataline, DN
Junior Ally Becki dribbles the ball towards the net against Northern Iowa Nov. 18 at Worthen Arena. Mya Cataline, DN

The Ball State Cardinals (6-2) had a tough time stopping the duo of redshirt junior Paige Bueckers and senior Aaliyah Edwards Wednesday night, losing by a score of 90-63 to the UConn Huskies (5-3).

Here are three takeaways after Ball State’s first road loss of the season. 

Doing what they do well

The first seven games of the young season have seen a few Cardinals players near the top of the nation in multiple statistical categories thanks to juniors Nyla Hampton and Madelyn Bischoff, among others. Wednesday night, their success in their respective departments continued. 

Hampton didn’t score at all in the first quarter, but her impact was felt on the defensive end. Coming in, Hampton held the fifth spot in the nation for steals, averaging 4.0 per game. Hampton matched that total in the first period. 

After Indiana-native and freshman Ashlyn Shade scored eight of the first 11 Huskie points, including two 3-pointers, Hampton took the responsibility of staying in front of Shade the rest of the night. She held her scoreless the rest of the half. 

Meanwhile, Bischoff came into the night ranked 11th in the country in 3-pointers made per game (3.29) and 17th in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting exactly 50 percent from downtown. 

Ball State looked to Bischoff to carry the offensive load in the first quarter. She had 12 points, making four of her five attempts from 3-point land and scored over half of the Cardinals’ points in the first quarter. 

With 38 seconds to go in the first, Bischoff planted her right foot and rose off the floor to contest a pull-up jump shot on the defensive end. As she planted, she stepped on senior Estel Puiggros’ foot and rolled her ankle. She limped off the floor and didn’t return for the rest of the contest. The Cardinals weren’t able to replace her production the rest of the way. 

These lights are bright

While a few aspects of what makes Ball State the number three team in the college insider mid-major poll traveled with them to Storrs, Conn., some others did not. 

Junior Ally Becki came into the game averaging 5.6 assists per game, good for 27th in all of women’s college hoops and first among Mid-American Conference (MAC) players. She was also averaging a shade under 12 points per game. With Bischoff going down, Ball State needed their second-leading scorer to come through. 

Becki struggled to get settled in from the start Wednesday night, and never really found a flow or rhythm. In the first half, she went 0-for-6 from the field, and didn’t get in the scoring column until early in the third quarter. She finished the game with five points and two assists. 

The Cardinals have struggled to be enforcers in the rebounding department so far this year, as they have gotten outrebounded by an average of almost six rebounds per game. It was more of the same Wednesday as they got rebounded 38-to-21. 

Comparatively, looking at Ball State’s game against Notre Dame earlier this season who coincidentally was also ranked 17th at the time, The Fighting Irish outrebounded the Cardinals by 28. While it was better against UConn, Ball State will need to be better in that department going forward. 

The sisters

There was a unique storyline to this game for Ball State. It was about more than the Cardinals traveling to the 11-time national champions. 

Sophomore Hana Mühl for Ball State and senior Nika Muhl for the Huskies faced off for the first time as sisters. Their family was in attendance to see them compete. 

Hana took advantage of the moment, scoring nine points on 4-of-6 (67 percent) shooting. She also added two assists in 27 minutes of play. Meanwhile, Nika contributed in multiple ways. She finished with four points, three rebounds, two assists and added three steals on the evening. 

Yet another non-conference game against a ranked opponent is in the rearview mirror for Ball State. After the Notre Dame game and this one in Gampel Pavillion, the Cardinals will look to use the lessons they’ve learned against top teams the rest of the season. They will return to action Sunday at Western Kentucky with tipoff scheduled for 3 p.m. 

Contact Caleb Zuver via email at cmzuver@bsu.edu or on X @zuves35.


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