Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball extended its winning streak to six games and made its Mid-American Conference record 2-0 on Saturday by defeating the Ball State Cardinals 70-62 at the Convocation Center.
Tavelyn James led the Eagles in scoring with 25 points. Kristin Thomas had four blocks, tying her career high, and also added two steals and four rebounds.
The Eagles turned 18 steals into 24 fast-break points. Twenty-seven turnovers resulted in 32 points for Eastern.
“We’ve been fired up from winning,” James said.
BSU scored the first points of the game and the teams found themselves tied three times before the Eagles got off to a 9-0 run giving them an eight point lead halfway through the first half.
“The way you start is what counts,” Thomas said. “We have to initiate the flow of the game and gain control.”
The Cardinals cut the Eagles lead down to six after a pair of three-pointers by Megan Craft and Brandy Woody with 2:36 remaining.
Cassie Schrock put Eastern back up to 67-57 after a fast-break layup off of a Sydney Huntley-Rodgers steal. BSU used excessive fouling to give it a chance at a comeback.
Huntley-Rodgers accounted for six of EMU’s steals, while James had five and Schrock had four. EMU blocked eight shots with Thomas accounting for four of those shots.
Schrock fell three assists short of her second career triple-double as she scored 19 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for her 13th career double-double.
“I’m trying to be an overall complete player,” Schrock said. “I try to rebound and score as often as possible while making the extra pass when it’s needed.”
James went 11-of-18 from the floor including 1-of-2 on three-pointers and was 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. Paige Redditt had 11 points and seven rebounds, with Huntley-Rodgers getting nine points and five assists.
Ball State ended with three players in double digits. Katie Murphy led with 17 points. Craft scored 12 (4-of-6 on three-pointers), and Emily Maggert had 11 points and seven rebounds. Woody had nine rebounds.
Ball State shot 28.6 percent on 8-of-28 from the field in the first half. It also had 14 turnovers before the break.
The second half opened with both teams trading baskets until the Eagles put up eight unanswered points to put them up 36-31 with 15:40 to play. The run was triggered by a block by Thomas, which resulted in a fast-break layup for James. The Eagles out-scored BSU 24-0 on fast break points, with 16 coming from James.
Eastern continues its three-game homestead at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, as they host instate rival Central Michigan University (10-4, 2-0 MAC).
“We’re well prepared for Central,” James said. “That’s the team who plays us the hardest.”
Going into the game Gilbert will be relying on her guards to show up.
“Our little guards have to play big,” Gilbert said. “We can’t make any mistakes, but we feel really good!”