WBB Travels To MAC West Division Foe Toledo Thursday
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 25-24
overall record during his tenure. He now owns a 161-133 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.
- Toledo enters the contest with a 7-9 overall record and a 2-3 Mid-American Conference mark. The Rockets have lost two straight MAC contests, at Buffalo (51-46) Jan. 15 and at Western Michigan (78-72) Jan. 18. Toledo’s two league wins came at home versus Northern Illinois (73-71) and Miami (68-52) Jan. 12. The Rockets non-conference wins came against Mississippi Valley State (95-48) Nov. 10, Kanasas City (96-81) Nov. 20, Cal State Fullerton (59-58) Nov. 29, Detroit Mercy (79-70) Dec. 6 and St. Bonaventure (64-62) Dec. 15. The Rockets were picked to finish third in the MAC West Divsion behind Central Michigan and the Cardinals in the league’s preseason poll.
• Thursday’s game against Toledo will mark the 71st time in program history the two schools have met with the Rockets leading the all-time series 46-24. The last time the Cardinals defeated Toledo was at Savage Arena by a score of 75-69, March 7, 2009. The Toledo game marks only the second team Ball State has faced from the MAC West Division. The Cardinals played at Eastern Michigan, Jan. 9 which resulted in a 70-66 win for Ball State. Toledo sits at 1-2 against MAC West opponents.
• Ball State is 5-6 when they play on Jan. 23. The last time the Cardinals won on this date was an 69-55 victory at Buffalo, last season. The Cardinals have played Toledo once on this date which resulted in a 64-57 victory in Muncie, Jan. 23, 2000.
• 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 20 points in the Cardinals’ win at Ohio (Jan. 18), Nathalie Fontaine has now scored in double digits 42 times out of 48 career games. Fontaine has 687 points for her career as a sophomore and needs 13 to reach 700.
• 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 11 points at Ohio (Jan. 18) which marked the 40th game in her career she has scored in double figures. Carter has surpassed the 700 point mark for her career with 739 points. Carter needs 61 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 14.3 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 last Saturday.
• In Mid-American Conference games only, Ball State ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.388), second in 3-point field goal defense (.257) third in scoring defense (.63.8), third in field goal percentage defense (.381). Nathalie Fontaine sits at first in three point field goal percentage (.571) while Jill Morrison is second in that same category (.529). In all games played, Ball State leads the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage (.361) and is third in rebounding defense (37.2).
• 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 (.447) 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 Toledo both played nationally-ranked Purdue this season. The Cardinals opened up the 2013-14 season in West Lafayette dropping a 63-57 loss to the No. 18/23 Boilermakers. Ball State had a 21-12 advantage over Purdue with 7:22 left in the first half. Purdue came back to knot the game 26-26 at intermission. Toledo hosted No. 18/23 Purdue, Nov. 17 and suffered an 81-79 loss to the Boilermakers. The Rockets trailed Purdue 41-39 at the half. Toledo led 52-51 with 14:43 left in the contest but Purdue quickly went on a 16-5 run to go up 67-57 and the Boilermakes never lost their lead after that. Both teams also earned wins over Detroit Mercy and also suffered losses to Evansville.
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 15-4 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.