After the first ten minutes of play, Ball State women’s basketball led Chicago State University by six points. Although the Cardinals were shooting 66 percent from the field in the quarter, something just felt off.
Head coach Brady Sallee said that the Cardinals did not open the game as sharp as he hoped they would.
In the break, junior Madelyn Bischoff said that the message heading into the 2nd quarter was simple, “play our game and keep fighting.”
The 2nd quarter saw Ball State outscore the Cougars 24-7. Sallee said it was the defense that made the difference in scoring for the second quarter.
“We can defend in the half-court as well, and that is what we had to do to win convincingly,” Sallee said.
Win convincingly they ended up doing, defeating the Cougars 85-56.
The Cardinals finished shooting at a 55 percent rate for the night, Sallee said the team clearly is going to make shots. That being said, he said the Cardinals cannot rely on just making shots. He said Ball State has not run into a team that is shooting well, but it is just a matter of time until they do. When they do, he said they will have to rely on tough defense to persevere.
With the high shooting percentage though, Bischoff said it is the teams' trust in each other that is able to boost that percentage. She said having that trust in each person to shoot and share the ball keeps everyone confident on the floor.
Bischoff started her second game in a row 3-for-3 from 3-pointer, she said that the largest contributor to her high-scoring games has been her gain in confidence.
“Just thinking that the next one [shot] is going to go in and really concentrating on each shot,” Bischoff said.
Although the shooting percentage was high, Chicago State went on a run in the third to cut the lead to 14 in the third quarter. Junior Ally Becki saw sophomore Hana Mühl as the game-changer for the Cardinals in the 2nd half.
“She was sacrificing her body out there and making plays,” Becki said. “I think she turned it around for us in the 2nd half.”
With Becki and Mühl in the same position group, Becki said that they work well together and know where each other wants the ball in spots. She said that it is fun to see Mühl dive for loose balls and play hard for her team.
Mühl is a part of the bench that has delivered in each of Ball States' games this season. The bench tonight accounted for 40 out of 85 points scored. Mühl finished with 10 points, Rauch finished with 18 points and senior Estel Puiggros finished with 12 points.
“I think our bench is a great strength of ours,” Bischoff said. “I think they are one of the best [parts of the team].”
Coming off of a game on Nov. 11, the schedule was a little different than usual for Ball State. Although it was different, Sallee said the team has to be prepared and ready to go regardless of the shortened time to prepare.
“As the season wears on, that is going to be important,” Sallee said. “During conference play, we play on Wednesday and sometimes it is on the road and we will get back late. You just have to learn from this experience and take what we did well. We have to look in the mirror at the stuff we have to be a little bit better at.”
On paper, Sallee said that the University of Northern Iowa is the best team the Cardinals have seen so far. He is expecting a heavy-weight match come Saturday, Nov. 18.
“It is going to be one of those [games] where every possession is going to be monumental,” Sallee said. “It should make for a whale of a game.
Becki echoed her coach and said she expects every team to give the Cardinals their toughest.
“They are not going to out-hustle us on our floor. They are coming to us,” Becki said. “We are excited to get back on our floor.”
The matchup against UNI will start at 11 a.m. in Worthen Arena.