Eagle women lose 56-41 to Ball State Sunday

Taylor Bird (1) drives to the hoop during EMU’s 56-41 loss to Ball State on Sunday.

Not only a basketball game, but more importantly discipline was lost on Super Bowl Sunday as the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team failed to put together its first back-to-back wins of the season, as the team fell to the Ball State Cardinals, 56-41, at the Convocation Center.

“We did not fight the adversity, the way we needed to,” EMU head coach Tory Verdi said. “When another team throws a punch at you and knock down back-to-back threes, you have to respond, but we didn’t.”

EMU freshman Bianca Cage was held scoreless in her second career start—a far cry from her previous game when she scored 23 points against Northern Illinois University.

In 24 minutes, Cage shot 0-of-13, to go along with 0-of-10 from three-point range.

EMU senior India Hairston recorded her first double-double of the season with ten points and ten rebounds.

In a Dennis Rodman-esque performance, junior Sara Stone scored two points, on 1-of-3 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Eagles.

EMU Junior Desyree Thomas scored a season high of 12 points, one shy of her career high of 13, on 5-of-10 shooting, to go along with three steals and two assists.

Rounding out the Eagles’ main scoring was senior Taylor Bird, who scored five, dished out three assists, three blocks and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench.

For the Cardinals, freshman Nathalie Fontaine recorded a double-double with a game-high 14 points, on 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with 10 rebounds in 39 minutes on the floor.

Sophomore Brittany Carter scored 12 points, on 3-of-6 shooting, to go along with 3-of-4 from the foul line and four rebounds.

Senior Shanee’ Jackson scored 12 points, on 6-of-17 shooting and grabbed six rebounds, in 24 minutes off the bench to round out Ball State’s main scoring.

After a three-point make from Ball State’s Carter to open the game, Hairston made EMU’s first basket of the game at 17:36 of the first half.

For the early part of the first half, both teams exchanged leads.

Then, EMU went on a 10-2 run to go up 20-12 and forced Ball State to call a 30-second timeout with 3:44 to go in the first half.

Coming out of the timeout, the Cardinals closed the half on a 6-0 run to pull within two points of the Eagles, at 20-18.

Exactly one minute into the second half, EMU responded by forcing Ball State into a shot-clock violation by making sure no player drove to the paint for a shot attempt.

At halftime, Ball State head coach Brady Sallee, seemingly displeased with a call the referees did not make against EMU, could be seen yelling at the officials as he and his coaches made their way toward the locker room. Sallee, however, was not hit with a technical foul.

The early stages of the second half were a carbon copy of the first as both teams again exchanged leads.

With the Eagles up 27-26 and 12:37 remaining in the game, Ball State’s Fontaine took control of the game by splitting the defense and getting multiple looks in the post.

With 7:05 remaining in the second half, Verdi was given a technical foul for arguing with officials over a questionable foul called on Hairston.

Responses by the Eagles’ defense to Ball State’s offensive plays were lethargic at best, and as a result the Cardinals went on a 23-6 run.

Game Notes:
EMU falls to 5-16 and 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference, while Ball State moves to 10-11 and 7-1 in the MAC.

The attendance for the game was 200.

Sophomore Amber Bogard sat out for the third straight game with an undisclosed arm injury.

Looking Ahead:
The Eagles travel to Akron, Ohio, to take on the Akron Zips Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Akron is 14-7 and 5-3 in the MAC. The Zips defeated the Buffalo Bulls, 75-57, on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Akron’s player to watch out for is junior Rachel Tecca, who has averaged 18.4 points and 8.4 rebounds on the season.

Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be heard on WEMU 89.1 FM.

If you don’t want to wait for the results, check out The Echo’s website two hours after the game ends for a recap. While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of the stories about the women’s basketball team and the rest of the teams at EMU.

Social Media
Follow me on Twitter @EasternEchoGeno.

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