What do pineapples and Ball State women’s basketball have in common? Not much, but you can dish them both out in many ways.
“Our team is kind of like a pineapple, you can serve it so many different ways,” junior Nyla Hampton said. “Sliced, chopped, little circles, chunks, you never know what you are going to get exactly. There are so many different ways to swing it, and it makes it fun for me to play that way.”
The way the pineapple was cut today was for senior Estel Puiggros.
Coming off a game where she was 0-for-4 from the field, Puiggros had 18 points today, a career-high. She said against Kent State that it was just one of those days where the team was not hitting shots, but today was a game where the team was making a bunch of shots.
Her effort led the Cardinals (20-2, 10-0 MAC) in a 97-66 win over Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponent Ohio (7-13, 4-6 MAC).
“It could be anyone else, and it was just my night,” Puiggros said.
Head coach Brady Sallee said the preparation heading into the game was able to stifle out anything the Bobcats did on both sides of the court.
Now on a 14-game win streak and having 20 wins on the season, Sallee said no matter what the group always focuses on the task at hand. He said the focus is always “1-0 today with a groundhog mentality.”
"An immature team can get bored with repetition, but repetition is what makes you great,” Sallee said. “A mature team understands the process.”
Sallee said it does not feel like a streak because each game is focused on one at a time with no time to think about winning streaks.
Hampton said the one at a time mindset is essential to the Ball State women's basketball culture.
“It’s not about who we play two games from now, it is not about who we play three games from now, it is about our next game coming up,” Hampton said.
Hampton had 10 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals against the Bobcats. Although she was all over the stat book, Hampton bases how well she plays on her defensive results. She wants to be disruptive and look at the assist-to-turnover ratio to evaluate her game.
Hampton said she feels like this is potentially the best basketball she has been playing in her career.
About halfway through the MAC Sallee said there are so many places where the team can improve. Watching film after every game, there is a focus on the things the team did wrong, with a little bit of right.
“This group wants to see the stuff that we did not get right so we can improve on it,” Sallee said.
“This group is driven to get things right. There is a real will to win. It might be more than that, there is a real will to do it to the level of standards we want it to be.”
Ball State will travel to Northern Illinois University to take on the Huskies Feb. 7 with the game starting at 7 p.m. ET.