Promising start results in six-point deficit for Ball State

Jumping out to superb start, which included building an 11-point lead less than seven minutes into the game, Ball State couldn’t maintain and build off its double digit lead, allowing Stetson to crawl back and take a six-point lead at the intermission.

Freshman guard Brittany Carter opened the scoring flood for the Cardinals with a 3-point field goal just 12 seconds into the game. Her second consecutive 3-point jumper gave Ball State a 6-4 advantage and it looked as if the home team was cruising.

But costly turnovers and miscues caught up to the Cardinals. The Cardinals committed 15 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play, which proved to be crucial in their inability to score late in the first half.

Ball State’s 11-point lead at the mid-way point of the first half slowly diminished. The Hatters tied the game at 23-23 with 4:05 to play, and took the lead on a Shanasa Sanders’ 3-point field goal with 2:28 remaining. The Hatters took advantage of the Cardinals’ turnovers, piecing together a 17-2 run to close out the first half.

The fast start, which could’ve benefited the Cardinals greatly, went to waste. Down by six with 20 minutes to play, the Cardinals have to pick up the intensity.

***

Good afternoon from inside John E. Worthen Arena, where the Ball State lady Cardinals will wrap up their brief two-game home stand with a 1 p.m. tip off against the Stetson Hatters of the Atlantic Sun conference.

Ball State enters today’s game having won three of its last four games. It’s three-game winning streak was snapped by Detroit Mercy on Thursday night as Ball State fell 87-68 on its home floor. The Cardinals had three players score in double figures against the Titans, including freshman Brittany Carter, who led the bunch with a career-best 15 points. Sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens also had another solid outing for the red and white, pitching in with 14 points. Senior center and co-captain Amber Crago tied her career-high with 12 points-(Crago set her 12-point career-high at Western Michigan on February 20, 2010). Ball State tied its second-highest point total of the season with 68 against Detroit Mercy. The Cardinals season-high came against visiting Murray State on Nov. 19 in an 81-72 triumph.

Stetson enters today’s game with a mark of 6-2, including wins over Bradley, Winthrop, Miami (OH) and ETSU. The Hatters have started just five players this season, including freshmen Clarissa Coddington and Cherisse Burris, sophomore Sasha Sims and juniors Shanasa Sanders and Victoria McGowan. The Hatters are full of talent. Sanders was awarded the Atlantic Sun Newcomer of the Week after recording career-highs in points with 24 at in a 77-62 losing effort to USF and eight rebounds in a 71-62 triumph over Miami. McGowan and Sims are also legitimate offensive threats for the Hatters. McGowan averages 14 points per game while leading the team in steals. Sims, who averages over 11 points per game, leads the group with a 92.6 shooting-percentage from the charity stripe thus far-a remarkable stat. In addition to her excellent form at the line, Sims heads the Hatters with 68 total rebounds, an average of 8.5 per game.

Outlook…

On paper, this game appears to be another tough challenge for this young Cardinals team. The offensive firepower of the Hatters could prove to be problematic for the Cardinals. Minimizing the number of second chances on the boards and playing sound, fundamental basketball will be key. Also, the team chemistry has to start to show. Against the Titans, the Cardinals couldn’t maintain consistent offensive pressure. On a number of occasions, the Cardinals weren’t getting clean looks at the basket and were taking unnecessary shots. It’ll be interesting to see how this team bounces back with minimal rest and just one day to prepare for this stout Stetson bunch.

Probable Starters…

Stetson

Clarissa Coddington (FR), Guard

Cherisse Burris, (FR), Forward

Shanasa Sanders, (JR), Guard

Sasha Sims, (SO), Forward

Victoria McGowan, (JR), Guard

Ball State

Brandy Woody (SO), Guard

Brittany Carter (FR), Guard

Jazmin Hitchens (SO), Forward

Katie Murphy (SO), Forward

Amber Crago (SR), Center

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