Ball State had never lost a game to the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons, and Tuesday night was no different. The Cardinals pocketed their first win of the season, led by sophomore Anna Clephane with 16 points, in their 83-52 victory. All but two players on the roster contributed points of their own.
“They were really unselfish,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “It takes a team-first mentality to sacrifice what may be good for you for the betterment of the team, and I thought that’s the way we played tonight.”
That team-first mentality sealed the Cardinals’ first 30-point victory since last December’s matchup against Urbana University (Ohio).
Graduate student guard Jasmin Samz, sophomore forward Blake Smith and freshman guard Estel Puiggros each posted 10 points. This comes after Smith scored just three points in last week’s game and averaged 3.3 points last season. Sallee said Tuesday night displayed how she’s been performing during scrimmages.
“We’ve seen this pretty much all preseason. That’s the way she’s played — really aggressive and tough,” Sallee said. “She didn’t have the best game a week ago, but I think she took that as a motivator and wanted to be different. Good things happened for her tonight.”
Ball State scorers vs. Purdue Fort Wayne
Anna Clephane - 16 points
Blake Smith - 10 points
Jasmine Samz - 10 points
Estel Puiggros - 10 points
Oshlynn Brown - 9 points
Thelma Dis Agustsdottir - 8 points
Annie Rauch - 6 points
Maliah Howard-Bass - 6 points
Sydney Freeman - 5 points
Arbrie Benson - 2 points
Aliyah Walker - 1 points
Smith topped her previous career high of nine points, nearly tied her personal best in rebounds and went 5-for-7 from the field. In 21 minutes of play, she managed to be a guiding force for the Cardinals along with Clephane, Samz and Puiggros.
The increased efficiency on the rebounding end made all the difference in the Cardinals' season opener. Every player who saw minutes registered at least one rebound. Junior forward Oshlynn Brown and senior guard Arbrie Benson led the crew with seven apiece.
Team effort was the story of the previous game, too. While the Cardinals came up short against IUPUI, eight players contributed points, seven added rebounds and six dished out assists. Twelve players saw minutes that night, and the team collectively forced 23 turnovers.
Against the Mastodons, the Cardinals managed to force 22 turnovers, from which 18 of their points were scored. They also managed to grab 43 rebounds, compared to the 26 they had against the Jaguars.
The Cardinals improved in nearly every category from game one to Tuesday night. They cut their turnovers down by nine, bumped their field-goal percentage up from 34 percent to 50.8 percent and took almost twice as many 3-point shots.
With a win under their belt and camaraderie on high, Ball State takes on Cincinnati for the second year in a row this Saturday. The all-time record for the matchup is 8-5 in favor of the Bearcats.
Contact Gabi Glass with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @gabiglassbsu.