MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State women's basketball team (0-1) fell to Evansville 54-45 Friday night in Worthen Arena in the first game of head coach's Brady Sallee's tenure with the Cardinals.
Ball State pulled within four at 46-42 with 2:11 left in the contest on a pair of free throws from freshman Nathalie Fontaine, but Evansville hit a three pointer to go back up 52-43 with 36 seconds left to secure the victory for the Purple Aces.
Fontaine led all Ball State scorers with 14 points plus added five rebounds and two steals. Shelbie Justice added eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Cardinals. Brandy Woody managed seven points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals for Ball State.
The Cardinals were able to hold Evansville to 37.5 percent shooting from the field in the second half and 40 percent for the game, but Ball State could only shoot 28.3 percent from the field for the game.
Ball State trailed by five (32-27) after a layup from freshman guard Taylor Miller with 11:24 left to play in the game. Evansville put together a 5-0 run to go up by 10 (37-27) at the 8:10 mark. The Cardinals tried to fight back cutting the Purple Aces lead to seven (37-30) after junior guard Lindsey Wellman hit a three pointer.
It was a low scoring game to start the first half, with the game being tied 9-9 at the 8:11 mark. Evansville orchestrated a 6-1 run to give them a 15-10 advantage over Ball State at the 6:15 mark. Fontaine then single handedly put together a 4-0 run of her own after back-to-back baskets to close the gap to 15-14.
Evansville continued to hold on to its lead but a layup from freshman guard Taylor Miller knotted the game 20-20 with 1:04 left for the third time in the half. The Purple Aces Chelsea Falkenstein nailed a three pointer with 52 seconds on the clock, Fontain then answered with a layup but Evansville would hold on to a 23-22 lead over the Cardinals to end the half.
The Ball State University women's basketball team continues non-conference action at Worthen Arena Tuesday when it hosts in-state rival Butler at 7 p.m.