The Eastern Michigan Eagles women's basketball team went into Muncie, Ind. looking for their first 3-0 start against the MAC since the 2006-2007 season. It didn't go as planned as EMU lost 59-54 to the Cardinals at Worthen Arena on Saturday. Areanna Combs had 18 points for the Eagles (7-7, 2-1 MAC) with a season-high in rebounds at 11.
Aaliyah Stanley scored 10 but struggled from 3-point range shooting 1-for-9. Sydney Freeman and Jasmin Samz each scored 13 for Ball State (11-4, 3-0). Oshlynn Brown scored 11 points to go along with 14 rebounds. EMU shot just 25% from the field against the Cardinals, its second lowest all season, just above 24% against Michigan in November. Ball State shot 35%, also below its season average (40%).
The first quarter was all Eagles when they had their largest lead of 11. Corrione Cardwell scored on a layup with 1:27 remaining in the opening period to make the score 15-7. The Cardinals couldn't answer after a turnover and missed layup by Brown. Combs grabbed the rebound and made a 3-pointer on the other end to extend the score to 18-7. Cardwell finished with seven points and two steals.
Ball State closed the gap to just two points at the 6:48 mark in the next quarter. Brown made 1-of-2 from the free throw line, followed by a short range jumper from Thelma Agustsdot. She had seven points with four rebounds. EMU went into halftime with a 28-22 lead after a made jump shot by Cardwell with 46 seconds left.
The key stats in the first half were the 12 offensive rebounds by the Eagles and the 0-for-8 3-point shooting by Ball State. It was an even third quarter with 16 points from each team. The Cardinals eventually surged forward to take the lead with 5:10 remaining in the game.
Brown and Samz both made a pair of free throws to make the score 46-44. EMU missed its next four shots which led to a 3-pointer by Agustsdot to give Ball State their first lead. Freeman and Combs traded layups just moments later. Combs added a free throw to tie the game at 49 after her and-one effort. The teams were tied at 54 with 1:13 left after a Samz scored off a layup and the foul. She hit the free throw to take another lead for the Cardinals.
EMU missed key shots down the stretch and Ball State added free throws en route to the five-point victory at home. Ball State is now riding a seven-game winning streak and will take on Central Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The Eagles will be home at the Convocation Center on Jan. 15 against Miami (OH).