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WBB Returns Home Sunday To Host Buffalo In MAC Play

Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Release: January 25, 2014
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Ball State vs. Buffalo
Worthen Arena (Capacity 11,500)
Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Muncie, Ind.
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The Cardinals Nest
-  Head Coach Brady Sallee is in his second season at the helm of the Ball State women’s basketball team, leading the Cardinals to a 25-25 overall record during his tenure.  He now owns a 161-134 career head coaching record, including his 136-109 mark in eight seasons at Eastern Illinois.

- Sallee helped Ball State post one of the most dramatic turnarounds in Mid-American Conference history a year ago as the Cardinals earned the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament with a 12-4 league mark.  Ball State improved eight games from its 4-12 MAC mark in 2011-12, which ties as the biggest MAC turnaround in the last 20 years. Sallee also became just the second coach in program history to start MAC play 8-1 in their first season.

- Ball State was selected to finish second in the MAC West Division preseason poll.  This is the Cardinals highest ranking in the MAC preseason poll since the 2008-09 season, when Ball State was picked to finish first.

- Buffalo enters the contest with a 10-7 overall record and a 3-3 Mid-American Conference mark.  The Bulls have won three straigh MAC contests, all of which came against the MAC West Divison, Toledo (51-46) Jan. 15, Eastern Michigan (84-83 OT) Jan. 18 and at Northern Illinois (63-52) Jan. 23.  Buffalo’s three league losses came at Bowling Green (62-50) Jan. 4, at Western Michigan (82-72) Jan. 7 and Central Michigan (82-68) Jan. 12.  The Bulls went 7-4 in non-conference action earning wins over Binghamton (65-47) Nov. 8, Youngstown State (72-65) Nov. 13, Canisius (68-59) Nov. 27, Pittsburgh (66-62) Dec. 1, St. Francis (87-77) Dec. 4, Niagara University (78-70) Dec. 21 and Robert Wesleyan (93-58) Jan. 1.

• Sunday’s game against Buffalo will mark the 19th time in program history the two schools have met with the Cardinals leading the all-time series 11-7.  The last time the Cardinals defeated Buffalo was at Alumni Arena by a score of 69-55, Jan. 23, 2013.  The last time Ball State won at home against Buffalo was Feb. 10, 2010 which resulted in a 84-62 victory for the Cardinals.  The Cardinals and the Bulls have never played an overtime game.

• Ball State is 7-6 when they play on Jan. 26.  The last time the Cardinals won on this date was an 77-46 victory against Ohio last season.  Ball State has never played Buffalo on this date.

• The Cardinals were the only team in the Mid-American Conference which owned a 12-4 league mark while only having seven active players on their roster in 2012-13.

• From 2009-present, the Cardinals own a 28-14 MAC record when playing at home during conference action.  Brady Sallee is 8-2 at home during league action.

• After scoring 17 points in the Cardinals’ loss at Toledo (Jan. 23),  Nathalie Fontaine has now scored in double digits 43 times out of 49 career games.  Fontaine has 704 points for her career as a sophomore and needs 96 to reach 800.  If Fontaine continues to average 16.5 points in the next 12 Mid-American Conference regular season games and at least one MAC Tournament game, she will make it to the 1,000 point club.

• Ball State has three players averaging double figures; Nathalie Fontaine (16.5 ppg), Brittany Carter (13.9 ppg) and Jill Morrison (10.4).

Shelbie Justice collected her first career double-double at Eastern Michigan (Jan. 9).  Justice pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds while adding 15 points in the Cardinals win.

• Junior guard Brittany Carter posted 13 points at Toledo (Jan. 23) which marked the 41st game in her career she has scored in double figures.  Carter has surpassed the 700 point mark for her career with 752 points.  Carter needs 48 points to reach the 800 milestone.

Nathalie Fontaine, the 2012-13 MAC Freshman of the Year, averaged 13.2 points per game and 6.6 rebounds in her first season at Ball State.  Fontaine was named to the MAC All-Freshmen squad, while also earning All-MAC Second Team honors.  As a true freshman, Fontaine ended the season just eight points shy of what Ball State’s all-time leading scorer Tamara Bowie had when she was a true freshman.  Fontaine ended the season with 423 points while Bowie tallied 431 points her freshman year.  Fontaine is now averaging 14.4 points and 6.6 rebounds over her career.

• Freshman guard Jill Morrison’s made a season-high six three pointers versus Western Kentucky during non-conference action.  Recently, Morrison went 5-for-6 behind the arc in Mid-American Conference play at Ohio, Jan. 18. 

• In Mid-American Conference games only, Ball State ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.365), third in 3-point field goal defense (.272), third in scoring defense (65.3), fourth in field goal percentage defense (.388).   Jill Morrison sits at first in three point field goal percentage (.556).  In all games played, Ball State leads the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage (.354).

Jill Morrison entered the week ranked first in the MAC with a .880 free throw percentage.  Morrison, who has made 44 of her 50 attempts this season, is also 29th in the nation in free throw percentage at .905.  Morrison also is ranked first in the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage (.556) and is also ranked 19th nationally.

Fontaine Scores 20:  Sophomore forward Nathalie Fontaine scored 20 points at home against Bowling Green (Jan. 5) and then matched the performance the next time out at Ohio (Jan. 18).  The pair of 20-point performances gives her six for the season and eighth of her career.

Taking Tall Orders:  Freshman Renee Bennett, a 6-5 center who is the tallest Cardinal in school history, scored a personal-best 14 points against Tennessee Tech (Nov. 30) at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev. and at IPFW Dec. 29.  She brought down a season best eight rebounds at Wyoming, Dec. 14.

Winchester Wonder:  Jill Morrison has made eight career starts so far this season at Detroit (11/23), against Tennessee Tech (11/30), at home versus Western Kentucky (12/6) at Wyoming (12/14), at home versus No. 7 Louisville (12/17), at Northen Kentucky (12/21), at IPFW (12/29) and at Akron (1/4).  She has scored in double figures in eight of her last 16 contests, including a career-high 26-point performance in a win at home over Western Kentucky.  Morrison also added 15 points in wins against Detroit Mercy (11/23), Tennessee Tech (11/30), 17 points in a loss to Louisville (12/17), 14 points in a win at IPFW (12/29) and a loss at Akron (1/4).  She recently scored 19 points in a victory at Ohio (1/18).

Similar Opponents:  Ball State and Buffalo both played Pittsburgh this season.  The Cardinals played their second non-conference game of the 2013-14 season in Muncie dropping a 63-58 loss to the Panthers.  Ball State took a 56-54 lead with 4:08 to play for its final lead of the contest.  A pair of free throws by the Panthers at the 3:32 mark tied the game for the seventh time in the contest at 56-56.  Shelbie Justice hit a pair of free throws to close the gap to 59-58 with 1:25 to play, but a layup by Pitt at the 1:08 mark increased the advantage to 61-58.  Pittsburgh sealed the game with three seconds remaining on a pair of free throws to give them the final 63-58 margin. Buffalo earned a 66-62 victory at Pitt, Dec. 1.  Sloane Walton led the team with 13 points and hit two critical free throws in the waning seconds to secure the win.  Five UB players reached double figures in scoring for the first time since Feb 26, 2011.

80 Is The Magic Number:  When the Cardinals score 80 points or more in a game it results in a Ball State victory.  Ball State beat Detroit Mercy (80-74) Nov. 23, Western Kentucky (85-77) Dec. 6 and IPFW (83-75) Dec. 29.

Brady Ball:  Head Ball State women’s basketball coach Brady Sallee was a head coach at Eastern Illinois from 2004-12 which is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, where he posted a 91-55 (.623) overall league record. In his first two seasons at Ball State, he currently owns a 15-5 career Mid-American Conference mark.

D-D-D DEFENSE:  Ball State recently defeated Kent State 55-31 in Worthen Arena, Feb. 12.  The Cardinals have not held their opponent to 31 points since the 1974-75 season when Ball State defeated Notre Dame, 78-31, Feb. 8 in South Bend, Ind.  That same season the Cardinals defeated Goshen, 66-30, Feb. 21.

NOTHING BUT NET: Ball State had its best shooting performance of the season at Ohio (Jan. 18).  The Cardinals shot 58.7 percent from the field which included a 72.2 percent showing from behind the arc.

DID YOU KNOW:  Ball State is the only Mid-American Conference school to have beaten reigning 2013 MAC Champion Central Michigan last season not once but twice.  The Cardinals defeated the Chippewas at home 68-61 Feb. 7 and then again in Mt. Pleasant 67-63, Feb. 28.

BEHIND THE ARC:  Ball State’s 13 threes against Ohio (Jan. 18) was the most in a game since the Cardinals hit 14 against Buffalo on 2/10/10.

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