The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team was on the short end of a 31-6 run in the last 12:28 of the second half, which sealed the Eagles’ fate as they fell to the Ball State Cardinals, 56-34, on Wednesday at James E. Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind.
The Eagles’ 34 points was the team’s lowest scoring total in a game this season.
“We executed our game plan, but unfortunately we couldn’t sustain [the game plan] for 40 minutes and led to our scoring woes,” EMU coach Tory Verdi said. “If you want to be successful and win games, you can not take possessions off and decide when to turn things on. We did not play the way we are capable of in the second half and it was our downfall.”
EMU falls to 6-19 overall and 4-8 in the Mid-American Conference, while Ball State moves to 13-13 and 9-3 in the MAC.
For the Eagles, senior Taylor Bird scored eight points and had three blocks in 23 minutes.
Freshman Bianca Cage scored eight, on 3-of-11 shooting, to go along with 2-of-5 from three-point range.
Junior Sara Stone chipped in four points and seven rebounds.
For the Cardinals, freshman Nathalie Fontaine put together a double-double with a game-high 16, on 5-of-14, to go along with 6-of-12 from the foul line and 12 rebounds.
Junior Katie Murphy also had a double-double with 10 on 4-of-11 and grabbed 15 rebounds.
Sophomore Shelbie Justice scored 11, on 3-of-7, to go along with 2-of-4 from three-point range and dished out a game-high four assists in 35 minutes.
Junior Brandy Woody chipped in with 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 38 minutes.
As a team, the Eagles shot 16-of-59 (27.1 percent) while the Cardinals went 18-of-65 (27.7 percent), and EMU grabbed 30 rebounds compared to Ball State’s 38.
From the foul-line, the Eagles went 0-of-6 while the Cardinals went 14-22.
“Natachia went to the line six times and came up empty,” Verdi said. “Our game plan was to get to the foul-line more, and we knew defensively how Ball State sags off and the way they gap. As a result, they gap and force you to take outside shots, and in this case it did not go in tonight.”
The Eagles jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on junior Desyree Thomas’ jump shot.
The rest of the first half was a back-and-forth affair as both teams exchanged leads, but not a lot of scoring occurred as the Eagles went into the locker room up 15-13 on the Cardinals.
The first eight minutes in the second half began the way the end of the first half did, with both teams exchanging leads.
With 12:18 remaining left and the Eagles up 28-25, the momentum began to turn in favor of the Cardinals.
Ball State went on a 13-0 run to put them ahead 38-28.
Timely free-throw shooting and clutch shooting by the Cardinals ultimately led to the demise of the Eagles.
The Eagles dropped both of their regular-season meetings to the Cardinals. The other loss occurred Feb. 3 when Ball State defeated EMU 56-41.
This is the first game this season no Eagle players scored in double figures.
On Saturday, the Eagles returned home to take on their MAC rival, the Western Michigan Broncos. The Eagles emerged victorious, 73-69.
The full story on the game can be found on page 5 of this issue of The Eastern Echo.