Bouncing back from its loss to Purdue, Ball State Women’s Basketball(1-1, 0-0 MAC) took down Cleveland State (1-2, 0-0 Horizon) in a thrilling 67-62 victory in Worthen Arena.
“We’ve worked more on end-of-game situations this year than we ever have before,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “They came out today and did it like we do in practice every day and that’s always what you want to see.”
Led by junior Jasmin Samz with 18 points and a career-high 11 points from freshman Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, the Cardinals defeated the Vikings for the fourth consecutive time in the all-time series.
“A game like this just lights a fire under us to go out and practice hard and continue to get better,” Samz said. “We’re going to go into the next practice and work just like we have been to keep doing what we did today.”
Samz lit a fire in the Cardinal offense entering the game, registering a quick nine points, shooting 4-5 from the field. Both teams’ solid defensive performances resulted in five turnovers for the Vikings and six for the Cardinals in the first quarter alone.
The Cardinal turnovers quickly increased to 10 at the beginning of the second quarter. Senior Nakeya Penny and sophomore Oshlynn Brown helped to keep the Cardinals within reach, recording six points each and Brown bringing down four rebounds. While the Vikings’ outside shots weren’t falling, they were able to maintain the lead thanks to seven second-chance shots down below.
Junior Jade Ely was a guiding force on the Viking squad with four quick points to start the half, while freshman Savanna Crockett grabbed six rebounds throughout the quarter. The Cardinals were able to cut down the Vikings’ offensive rebounds in the third quarter. The Cardinals led by one heading into the fourth. Samz explained that these are situations that they practice day-in and day-out.
“Brady is constantly having us run drills that resemble these close-game situations,” Samz said. “We may think it’s crazy when he has us run through them all the time, but today showed that it helps to be prepared for those scenarios.”
JaMiya Braxton with three three-point baskets gave the Vikings an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter. They’re 13-4 run saw a score of 60-52, but Dis Agustsdottir and Samz ignited the offense late in the quarter. Dis Agustsdottir grabbed four points and Samz drilled a left-corner three to bring the Cardinals back within one, 60-59.
The game changing play was a Samz left-corner three to push the Cardinals ahead 64-62, immediately followed by a charge taken by Maliah Howard-Bass to give the Cardinals possession with one minute left. The Vikings were forced to foul for the remainder of the game and put Brown on the line, where she sealed the game with two free throws.
“Maliah drawing that charge was a huge turning point,” Sallee said. “Of course, Jasmin helped us out with a couple big threes, but the threes don’t amount to what they need to if you don’t get the stops.”
Crockett led the way for the Vikings with 15 points and 13 rebounds, along with junior Mariah Miller who recorded 16 points.
Along with Samz and Dis Agustsdottir, Brown registered nine rebounds and 10 points, while Maliah Howard-Bass tallied eight points.
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