3 takeaways from Ball State Women’s basketball win over Central Michigan

Junior Ally Becki takes a 3-pointer against Central Michigan Feb. 21 at Worthen Arena. Ball State led Central Michigan 46-21 at half. Andrew Berger, DN
Junior Ally Becki takes a 3-pointer against Central Michigan Feb. 21 at Worthen Arena. Ball State led Central Michigan 46-21 at half. Andrew Berger, DN

Using their defense and their dominance in the paint, the Ball State Cardinals (23-3, 12-3 MAC) put together a start-to-finish performance, defeating the Central Michigan Chippewas (5-18, 3-10 MAC) 78-54. The win sets up a potential game of the season against the Toledo Rockets this Saturday afternoon. 

Here are 3 takeaways from the game.

Dictating and ending the Chippewa offense

The Chippewas were averaging 20.6 turnovers per game coming into Wednesday’s contest. The unusually high number is part of the reason the team has only a handful of wins this season. Ball State seized on the opportunity to cause havoc on the defensive end. 

Junior Ally Becki committed the first Cardinals turnover with 4:45 left in the second quarter. By that time, Central Michigan had already committed eight. 

The half ended with Ball State holding a plus-eight turnover differential. Off of those turnovers, the Cardinals scored 12 points compared to just two for the Chippewas. 

In total, seven different Central Michigan players committed at least one turnover. Chippewa junior Lisa Tesson reached her average of three turnovers per game in the first half. Because of the turnovers, Ball State got up eight more shots in the first half, shooting them at a 56 percent clip. 

Central Michigan also came in shooting 27 percent from the 3-point line. Ball State made a conscious effort to live with giving up the 3-point shot as Central Michigan made just one of their first seven attempts. 

Defense without fouling was also vital to the defensive performance, as the Chippewas shot just two free throws in the first half and 12 for the entire game. Central Michigan had only 21 first-half points. 

Richards continues to reap the points

Wednesday’s performance continues an off-and-on pattern for junior Alex Richard since the calendar turned to February. Against Ohio Feb. 3, Richard had 12 points and six rebounds. She followed that up with a two-point outing before an 11-point and nine rebound performance Feb. 11 James Madison University.

After only scoring two points at the free throw line Feb. 18, Wednesday’s performance was her career high. Whether it was her mid-range jumper, running the floor for easy layups or spin moves in the post, it was all dropping for Richard. 

Richard finished with 22 points, going 9-for-11(82 percent) from the field. She also went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line and pulled down four rebounds.

Senior Annie Rauch chipped in to Ball State’s efficient paint play. The Ohio native had 11 points and three rebounds, adding five points from the free throw line. Junior Marie Kiefer didn’t have the scoring output that her teammates did, but she had eight rebounds and sent back three Central Michigan shot attempts. 

All three outings contributed to 50 points in the paint. 

Showdown Saturday

When the Toledo Rockets traveled to Worthen Arena Jan. 21, the game felt big enough to CBS Sports Network who decided to broadcast the contest on national television. 

When Ball State returns the favor and travels to Savage Arena Saturday, the game won’t be televised nationally. Instead, this game feels big because it has the potential to decide who gets the number one seed in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament. 

Both teams head into the contest with a 12-1 MAC record. With just five games left in the regular season, both teams have a good chance of winning the remaining games on the schedule. If Ball State wins, they will essentially have a two-game cushion on the Rockets thanks to owning the head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Rockets win, they take over the number one spot in the conference. 

While the two teams still have to play Kent State, who sits in the third spot in the MAC standings, Saturday’s heavy-weight fight could be the launchpad both teams are looking for as March approaches.  

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


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