Ball State women’s basketball falls to Toledo in a key conference game

Junior Marie Kiefer jumps to get the ball as it is tipped off to start the game against Toledo Feb. 24 at Savage Arena in Toldeo, Ohio. Kiefer played 23 minutes of the game. Mya Cataline, DN
Junior Marie Kiefer jumps to get the ball as it is tipped off to start the game against Toledo Feb. 24 at Savage Arena in Toldeo, Ohio. Kiefer played 23 minutes of the game. Mya Cataline, DN

Ball State, 12-1 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). 

Toledo, 12-1 in the Mid-American Conference with their only loss coming to Ball State Jan. 21. 

Coming into the Feb. 24 matchup, the two teams battled for top position in the MAC. 

40 minutes later and a 22-point win, Toledo (21-4, 13-1 MAC) showed why they are coming off a conference championship and still the team to beat in the MAC with their 70-48 win. 

With a ruckus crowd of 5,556 people in attendance, Savage Arena sits as one of the hardest places to play in women’s basketball. Toledo is 25-1 against the MAC at home since the 2021-22 season, with the one loss being Ball State (23-4, 12-2 MAC) last season. 

Head coach Brady Sallee said leading up to the game, talking about the atmosphere was not a focus point because all the players knew what to expect out of the Toledo faithful. 

“Honestly, we appreciate it [the crowd],” Sallee said. “It is great for women’s basketball.”

Sallee said there were two main focal points for Ball State. Points in the paint and rebounding. 

“Those two categories were the first two things on our board that we knew we had to win to win the game,” Sallee said. “I do not know this, but I am going to guarantee they had the two same things. They won that battle, plain and simple.

“That is the competition and you have to win that battle in order to win this war.”

Toledo took both categories, the Rockets outrebounded the Cardinals 47-26 and had 20 more points in the paint than the Cardinals. 

After the first quarter, the Rockets led Ball State 10-6 in a defensive battle for both teams. Sallee said both squads came out brutally tight before the game. He also said that there are going to be games in the future that come up where it is a slow start, but he said the team will have to learn how to prevent slow starts in a better way. 

Ball State opened 3-for-13 from the field and Toledo was 4-for-15 in the first 10 minutes. The 3-pointer is a common shot for Ball State, but the Cardinals opened up 0-for-4 to start and 1-for-7 at the half. 

Sallee said the Cardinals were having trouble getting anything going to help create ball movement in the first half as a whole. He said Toledo improved their ball screen defense and made it harder to get to a “crisp place offensively.” 

In the second half the first half carried over for Ball State. Turnovers, rebounding, points in the paint and any offensive momentum were a struggle for the red and white. Ball State ended 18-for-54 (33 percent) from the field, 3-for-15 (20 percent) from three and 9-for-16 (56 percent) from the free throw line. 

Before timeouts and even sometimes during the timeouts, Sallee could be seen talking to the officials about calls. He said all talk was fighting for his team with both coaches “fighting their tails off.” 

WBB v Toledo 16.JPG
Ball State women's basketball head coach Brady Sallee talks to a referee about a bad call against Toledo Feb. 24 at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio. The Cardinals lost 70-48 against the Rockets. Mya Cataline, DN

On the defensive side for Ball State, Sallee described their effort as a reactive effort more than an aggressive effort. 

“We got caught ball watching at times and when you do that you are getting screened and all kinds of stuff is happening,” Sallee said. “Blame that on the road, I do not really know there is one fault for it. Credit Toledo for their ball movement and ability.

“We have to learn from our struggles, I think that is going to be the big one.” 

Ball State will return to Worthen Arena Feb. 28 to take on Akron at 6:30 p.m. 

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


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