The struggles for Eastern Michigan leading scorer Cha Sweeney continued Wednesday night as she was held to only two points as the Eagles suffered their third loss in the Mid-American Conference to the Ball State University Cardinals, 76-54, in Muncie, Ind.
“I feel like we didn’t get off the bus and compete for 40 minutes tonight and that’s not like us,” coach Tory Verdi said.
Sweeney’s lack of offense early, put her in a slump she could not get out of for the whole night. EMU entered the final quarter with Sweeney still scoreless until 7:17 remaining in the game getting her first points since Jan. 13. The Eagles (11-5; MAC 3-3) did a good job keeping Cardinals from scoring for nearly five minutes cutting the deficit to eight points with a 7-0 run.
Ball State (13-4; MAC 5-1) closed the game on a 19-6 run and shot 46 percent (28-61) for the game and 39 percent (9-23) from beyond the arc. The Eagles committed 21 turnovers and shot only 33 percent (21-64) in the game and only went to the free throw line six times.
Janay Morton finished the game with 23 points and six assists, but she turned the ball over eight times. The only other double-digit scorer for the Eagles was Chanise Baldwin with 10 points. Cha Sweeney went 1-13 from the field in her performance.
“We need more contribution from other players on our team,” Verdi said. “We can’t allow our lack of productivity offensively to affect how we are defensively and that’s what happen here tonight.”
The Eagles were looking to get off to a hot start from behind the arc, but that did not go as planned. EMU struggled early in the first quarter missing six of their first seven shots from three. The Eagles ended the first quarter with an 11-point deficit 19-8.
The Eagles offensive would continue to struggle on the offensive end air-balling shots and committing unforced turnovers. Midway through the second quarter EMU had seven turnovers trailing as many as 15 points. Phillis Webb and Morton got it on for the Eagles combining for eight triples with 4:19 in the second quarter cutting the deficit within eight 30-22.
Sweeney went into the locker room remaining scoreless for the past six quarters going back to her previous game against Kent State. The Eagles did not attempt a free throw.
The Eagles entered the third quarter without a basket for nearly two minutes before Chanise Baldwin scored the points for EMU. The Eagles deficit increased to as many as 17 points after allowing a 9-0 run for the Cardinals trailing 48-31 in the closing minutes of the third.
Nathalie Fontaine was Ball State’s leading scorer with 27 points for the Cardinals. Her teammate Jill Morrison scored 21 points all from beyond the arc.
The Eagles look to bounce back at home as they host the University of Toledo Rockets Saturday afternoon. Toledo is coming off an 81-71 loss to the Akron Zips and are 4-1 – second in the MAC West.