In a game originally scheduled for Nov. 12, Ball State (4-2) defeated Purdue Fort Wayne (4-3) 86-56 Dec. 2. The Cardinals forced 29 turnovers and scored 32 of their 86 points off those turnovers.
After COVID-19 exposure in the Mastodons program, the game was rescheduled Nov. 30.
Head Coach Brady Sallee said even though the timing was abrupt, each program was ready to play. He wanted to send thanks to the staff in helping put together this game in Worthen Arena.
“We want to thank all the people behind the scenes, from the people behind the table that weren’t scheduled, to the people who set up our facilities, to our administrators and sports information department, and everyone else involved,” Sallee said.
After posting a 1-2 record in the Van Chancellor Classic Nov. 26-28, Sallee thought the Cardinals needed to work on having ‘multiple efforts’ and improve on aggressive defense without fouling. Ball State committed a season-low 10 fouls, and Sallee thinks the Cardinals showed rapid improvement against Purdue Fort Wayne.
“They just collectively made that decision and said we’re not going to be that team [how they have played earlier in the season], we’re going to be this team [the team that played tonight],” Sallee said. “This group listens and puts things into action.”
Redshirt junior Anna Clephane scored a season-high 20 points along with six rebounds and a team-high five steals. Clephane thinks the Cardinals are at their best when they play at a faster pace and force turnovers.
“I think our team works really well in transition,” Clephane said. “It makes it a lot easier for everyone to get involved.”
Senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir scored 18 points, while junior Sydney Freeman poured in 16 points to round out the Cardinals scorers in double-figures.
Freshman Marie Kiefer made her first collegiate start and had eight points with six rebounds and two steals.
“It felt great,” Kiefer said. “It’s definitely a lot different than high school.”
Kiefer suprised Sallee with how physcial she was in practice at the start of the season.
“Marie will throw some shots, it kind of surprised me the first few weeks of the year, but she definitely has some spunk in her,” Sallee said.
Clephane said the Cardinals enjoy playing a physical brand of basketball and is key to her personal success.
“I think it’s more effective for me to play physical,” Clephane said.
Sallee mentioned the physical defense throughout the game was something the Cardinals has been working on, and hopes to see continue the rest of the season.
“It looked like they [Purdue-Fort Wayne] were going to catch the ball, then she [Clephane] just ran right through it and it started becoming contagious,” Sallee said. “When you get that snowball rolling, it’s fun to watch.”
The Mastodons were led by junior guard Sylare Starks with 16 points.
The Cardinals return to the floor Dec. 4 against the University of Pittsburgh (6-2). Tipoff is 1 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.