Senior Reyna Frost works hard… but so does junior Jasmin Samz.
Despite Frost’s dominance and posting yet another 20+-point game on her season, Samz matched her tonight in Worthen Arena.
However, while each posted 26 points, the other components to Central Michigan’s (21-6, 12-3 MAC) squad showed their stripes, as well, pushing the Chippewas passed Ball State (7-20, 2-13 MAC) for the second time this season.
“I told them after the game that if we keep playing this hard, good things are bound to happen,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “They’ve been working their tails off.”
The Cardinals won the first and third quarters of the game, but free throws were a key factor in the Cardinals’ struggles. While they went 50 percent from the line, the Chippewas were 8-9 in the first half. That along with six turnovers in the second quarter alone saw the Cardinals fighting to stay in the game.
The Cardinals posted three threes in a matter of two minutes, two from veteran Samz and one from freshman Gabby Smith. Those shots behind the arc joined with six points from freshman Thelma Dis Agustsdottir put the Cardinals up at the end of the first quarter, 21-19.
But that Cardinal run didn’t set well with head coach Sue Guevara, and her team came out of the huddle and posted a three, a steal from sophomore Micaela Kelly, and a deep two in the first minute of the second quarter. Kelly and senior Reyna Frost dominated the game heading into halftime, combining for 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Twenty-seven percent from the field, six turnovers in the second quarter alone, and a loss of the rebounding game saw the Cardinals entering halftime with a 15-point deficit at 45-30.
And still they fought. Samz, Agustsdottir, and senior Nakeya Penny all contributed points to cut the deficit to just seven points at a score of 49-42. The Cardinals won the third quarter at 21-15, but the Chippewas continued to battle and still held a 60-51 lead at the quarter’s finish.
“We haven’t let the circumstances define who we are and who we’re going to be,” Sallee said. “We kept playing hard, we keep fighting. Yeah, we’ve not won some games that we’d like to have back, but it’s going to pay off and when it does, it’s going to pay off in loads.”
The Chippewas scored eight to the Cardinals’ three in the first minute and a half of the fourth. Samz grabbed her 23rd point to give her a new career-high, but the Cardinals continued to trail and the Chippewas fought to widen the gap yet again.
Frost maintained her control of the game as she posted 26 along with 14 rebounds by the final buzzer. Pushing her team to a 81-64 victory over the Cardinals, Frost was accompanied by Kelly and senior Presley Hudson, who posted 16 and 18 respectively.
Samz was the story of the night for the Cardinals. With 26 points and five threes, the guard missed just three shots from the field and one from the free throw line.
“After that Akron game, we had a bitter taste in our mouths,” Samz said. “This team has no quit, we never have. We stand back up and say, ‘okay, what’s the next challenge?’”
Agustsdottir and Penny both contributed nine to the Cardinal scoreboard, and sophomore Oshlynn Brown, who was kept quiet in points with five, led the team in rebounds with nine.
Contact Gabi Glass with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gabiglassbsu