“It’s all about wins," head coach Brady Sallee said.
Although Ball State (9-7, 2-4 MAC) held Toledo (13-3, 7-0 MAC) to its lowest point total against a Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponent this season in its 58-55 loss Jan. 19, Sallee was not satisfied with the result.
"Within our locker room, we’ll learn from this," Sallee said. "No moral victories in this program, that’s not Ball State. Never has been, won’t be while I’m here.”
Junior Sydney Freeman missed a 3-point attempt with no time remaining in the fourth quarter after graduate student Chyna Latimer stole the ball with three seconds left.
The Cardinals led 21-6 at the end of the first quarter, and prioritized rebounding by grabbing 16 rebounds in the first eight minutes.
However, things changed in the second half, as Toledo outscored Ball State 38-27. Sallee acknowledged and credited the Rockets success to poor ball control from Ball State.
“In the second half, they flipped the board on us and we turned it over nine times,” Sallee said. “I think our tempo put them on their heels at first, then they picked up the pressure on the ball.”
Latimer scored a career-high 18 points and finished with seven rebounds. Latimer said the Cardinals understand they need to improve attacking the rebound once it hits the rim.
“We pride ourselves on being aggressive,” Latimer said. “Those two seconds the ball is in the air, we have to hit and get.”
Latimer, who began the season as a starter but moved to the bench Dec. 2, has made three consecutive starts after redshirt junior Anna Clephane tore her ACL against Kent State Jan. 9. Clephane confirmed the injury in this tweet Jan. 13.
Latimer said she has taken large inspiration from Clephane and knew she had to increase her production.
“I told myself before the first game after Anna [Clephane] went down, ‘just do it because Anna can’t,” Latimer said. “I want to make her proud and my teammates and coaches have confidence in me to do what I can do.”
Dis Agustsdottir finished with 10 points on 2-of-3 shooting from the 3-point line. She collected a team-high eight rebounds and believes its all about mentality when rebounding.
“It’s all about mindset and want-to,” Dis Agustsdottir said.
The Rockets had two players in double-figures, including a team-high 14 points from junior guard Quinesha Lockett. Sallee said he was proud of the way the Cardinals competed against Toledo and placed some of the blame on himself.
“Toledo is a good team," Sallee said. "I think we showed we can be a good team as well. I wish I could’ve been better for them.”
Sallee said Ball State followed its gritty approach to the game well, but thought the Rockers executed their defensive gameplan.
“We played our tails off, played hard and followed our game plan,” Sallee said. “They tried to get us to third and long, and didn’t let us go deep on first or second down.”
The Cardinals return to action Jan. 22 against Central Michigan (3-13, 1-6 MAC). Tipoff is 1 p.m. at Worthen Arena.
Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at email@example.com.