While the season has been rocky thus far for this fresh-faced Ball State Women's Basketball (7-14, 2-7 MAC) team, the Cardinals displayed persistence and rigor in matchup against Central Michigan (16-5, 7-2 MAC). But it wouldn’t be enough. The Chippewas came out on top, 81-63.
Dropping their third game in a row, the Cardinals showed much improvement from their matchup against Ohio last weekend. Cutting their turnovers from 27 against the Bobcats to 12 against the Chippewas, along with an improvement in shot percentage, head coach Brady Sallee was very happy with his team’s first half performance.
“To go into halftime with a one-point lead on a team like Central is huge,” Sallee said. “It was a big positive for us and we have to build off of that. We have to do what we did there, but for all 40 minutes.”
The Cardinals were active and alert throughout the entirety of the first half, spreading the wealth of points throughout the roster. The team effort in forcing Chippewa turnovers and the Cardinals’ accuracy behind the arc kept them neck-and-neck with the team sitting at the top of the MAC West division.
While she was quiet in the first quarter, sophomore forward Oshlynn Brown capitalized in the second, posting eight points and seven rebounds, with a cherry on top in the form of two blocks.
Despite losing the rebounding battle by nine at the half, 50 percent from three and their ability to limit their turnovers to four kept the Cardinals composed and determined, and they went into halftime with a one-point advantage over the Chippewas.
Chippewa senior Reyna Frost had already sealed a double-double by halftime. The forward, reigning MAC scholar-athlete of the week, effortlessly governed the Chippewas’ recent victory over Buffalo, registering 28 points and 21 rebounds. There has not been a game this year that Frost did not score double-digits.
“You have to give her credit,” Sallee said. “She’s a great rebounder. If you can control her getting those rebounds, you control their number of possessions and then her number of points, as well. She really supplemented their offense.”
The Chippewa momentum surfaced entering the second half, senior Presley Hudson joined Frost in displaying her veteran status by guiding the team, recording 13 points of her own by the middle of the third quarter.
The handle the Cardinals had on their turnovers in the first half seemed to slip in the second, where they doubled their total from the half to amount to eight. By the beginning of the third, the Chippewas had posted 12 points off of Cardinal turnovers.
“They really got after us and forced those turnovers,” Sallee said. “It gave them too many transition buckets. We have to take better care of the ball, but you have to give them credit for making it hard on us.”
Things got out of hand as Frost continued to shape the game. The senior ended the night with 28 points and 20 rebounds, her third time this season posting 20+ in both categories. While Brown recorded another double-double for the Cardinals with 18 points and 12 rebounds, the Chippewas’ four players clinching double-digit points and the unstoppable performance by Frost bested the Cardinals in the end.
The Cardinals will take on Northern Illinois on Saturday in Worthen Arena following the men’s game at 2 p.m.
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