“Everybody would want an Alex Richard on their team:" the junior has been key to Ball State women’s basketball's success in year two

<p>Assistant Athletic Trainer Brad Bunten (left) and Junior Alex Richard (right) hug after the win against Ohio March 13 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Richard scored 22 points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN</p>

Assistant Athletic Trainer Brad Bunten (left) and Junior Alex Richard (right) hug after the win against Ohio March 13 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Richard scored 22 points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN

Before starting for Ball State women’s basketball, before standing out at Avon High School, or even before playing highly competitive AAU ball, Alex Richard picked up a basketball at the age of four. 

Now in her second season at Ball State, Richard, a transfer from Butler, is a starter with a key impact on the Cardinals' success. 

“Everyone loves Alex on the team,” assistant coach Casey Morrissette said. “You want her on your team – you don’t want her on the other side. She will have your back, and you do not have to second guess that. She is a very loyal and passionate teammate. She brings us energy and gives us a good laugh at times as well. Everybody would want an Alex Richard on their team.”

It was in her youth and high school that she met her current teammates — playing with junior Madelyn Bischoff and against junior Ally Becki. 

Richard first played in the Indy Girls Hoops League (IGHL), where she met Becki. From IGHL she made the jump to AAU basketball, where she played for Indiana Elite’s Prime team. During her time in AAU, she played with Bischoff throughout high school. 

When it was time to pick where she wanted to go to college, Richard committed to Butler University during her sophomore year due to what she called the stressful and complicated nature of the recruiting process. 

In her first year, the Bulldogs were 1-27 and 0-18 in the Big East. After her freshman year, she decided to enter her name into the transfer portal. 

“It is hard when you are not winning,” Richard said. “Nothing against the coaches and staff, I still talk to my old teammates, I just knew it was time for me to go. I did not love the environment and culture.”

Bulldog to Cardinal: first year at Ball State

“Alex is an Indiana kid, and we love Indiana kids,” Morrissette said. “When she was at Butler, we watched her career there. As soon as we saw her enter the portal we jumped on her and got her to campus.”

When being recruited, Richard said the consistency of the coaching staff made her feel special to the Ball State program. 

“I was choosing between here and another school, and Audrey [McDonald-Spencer] made a list of the pros and cons of each school,” Richard said. “To me, it showed that she cared about my happiness. She knew writing that list of the pros and cons could have very well gone to the other school, and it just showed the want and care they had in me.” 

Junior Alex Richard shoots a free-throw against Eastern Michigan March 1 at Worthen Arena. Richard scored 10 points in the game. Kate Tilbury, DN

Now all in on being a Cardinal, Richard had her first season at Ball State in 2022-23. Jumping to a new program, Richard said it took a lot of work to acclimate. 

“It was demanding, but it was also rewarding,” Richard said. “The pace of the game was different, the continuity offense we ran was different, and it was also very humbling for me. I ended up adjusting well, but that summer kicked me in the butt.” 

Although she struggled in the transition period, she said the whole team and staff worked with her to get better. She said she could talk to any coach or player without fear of judgment and they would help her work through any problems. 

One of the coaches who helped her was Morrissette. Once the director of operations and recruiting coordinator, Morrissette is now an assistant coach. While involved with getting Richard to Ball State, Morrissette said the two have a relationship built in loyalty and trust. 

“Through thick and thin, good times and bad times, we are there for each other,” Morrissette said. “I’ve mentored her in a way where it is an open door policy – she can come to me with basketball, life, all those aspects. [Richards is] somebody who has made me a better coach, and I hope when she leaves this program that I’ve impacted her life in a positive way.”

Richard played in all 35 games last season where she averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds and was the second-highest on the team in blocks with 28. 


“She can make me laugh wherever I need a laugh,” Bischoff said. 

Before ever playing with Richard on the court, Bischoff said she knew the two would get along together with their similar personalities. Richard and Bischoff have known each other for so long that Richard said even their families are close to each other. Bischoff stayed in contact with Richard during the recruiting process and said she was trying her best to get Richard in the red and white. 

“We call each other sister, we have a sister relationship,” Richard said. “She is a majority of the reason why I am here at Ball State.”

Bischoff said some of the best memories between her and Richard are traveling and being in the “family” atmosphere that was AAU basketball, and yet their friendship has strengthened at Ball State. 

“I see [the Richard family] as my family too,” Bischoff said. “We love each other and I know I’ll always be there for her, and she will always be there for me.”

Bench to starter

Junior Alex Richard drives forward Jan. 21 against Toledo at Worthen Arena. Richard had 16 points. Andrew Berger, DN

Compared to her first season, Richard said she has improved on running the floor, being versatile at the rim and shooting from 15 feet out for the 2023-24 campaign. Richard started 29 of 31 games this season.

Morrissette said Richard has trusted the program and gained confidence in herself. That confidence is not only seen by coaches but by players as well. 

Bischoff sees the confidence and comfort in Richard as she has adjusted to Ball State in her second season as a Cardinal. Bischoff said Richard’s aggressive play and drive to win have a large role in the success of the team. 

“She works really well in our offense in trying to get to the post,” Bischoff said. “She has adjusted super well.” 

For this year's Cardinal team, Richard said she has never been on a team with so much camaraderie. She said each of her teammates is like a sister, and she would be willing to take a bullet for each one of them. 

Having respect and trust in each teammate has played a major role in the team's success this year, Richard said. She also said the humor of her teammates and making the most out of everything has been a blast for her. Trust, humor and confidence, Richard said, helps the Cardinals' common goal – win. 

After a first round win in the MAC Tournament, the Cardinals moved to 28-4 on the season. With the will to win, Richard said everyone is totally bought into the Ball State program.

“I take a lot of pride in the program and the team,” Richard said. “I am proud to be a part of this basketball team and to be a future Ball State alumni when everything is done. I love the team, I love the coaches, I love the culture that we have created. It is honoring, humbling, and I take a lot of pride in it.” 
Contact Elijah Poe via email at elijah.poe@bsu.edu or on X @ElijahPoe4.


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