KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Nathalie Fontaine scored 23 points helping the Cardinals to a 79-73 Mid-American Conference road win at Western Michigan Saturday afternoon in Read Fieldhouse.
With the win Ball State improves to 12-15 overall and 7-9 in the league action while Western Michigan falls to 12-15 for the year and 8-8 in MAC play.
Fontaine led Ball State’s attack with 23 points and added five rebounds. Shelbie Justice chipped in 16 points while Shelby Merder collected a career high 12 point performance. Brandy Woody had a double-double scoring 11 points while pulling down 12 rebounds.
Out of the break, Western Michigan tied the game immediately it then turned into an up and down contest until the Broncos went up 60-55 over the Cardinals at the 9:55 mark. Back-to-back layups from Woody and Fontaine along with a Justice free throw tied the game 60-60 with 8:41 left on the clock. Fontaine and Woody would follow with two more baskets to give the Cardinals back a 64-60 lead with just over six minutes to play.
With 2:33 left, the Cardinals sent Western Michigan's Jessica Jessing to the line Jessing would make both to tie the game 70-70. The Broncos then returned the favor and sent Woody to the line, where she would go 1-for-1. At the other end of the court, WMU missed their shot allowing Woody to get the rebound. Murphy hit a layup to give the Cardinals the 73-70 advantage, just under the one minute mark. A missed three point basket at the other end of the court would give Ball State back the possession. Fontaine would capitalize on a three point play after a layup and a free throw.
The Cardinals led 77-73 as time was winding down. The Broncos were then forced to foul sending Brittany Carter to the line. Carter would hit both from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
Western Michigan opened the game with a basket to take the early 2-0 edge over Ball State. After both teams traded baskets for the next five minutes, Ball State had the 9-8 lead over Western Michigan. The Cardinals then used a 17-10 run to go up by eight (26-18) with a Merder layup at the 7:24 mark. During the run, Ball State had baskets from Morrison, Merder, Justice, Fontaine and Bennett. The Broncos answered quickly putting together a 21-13 scoring spree to knot the game 39-39 with 1:12 remaining in half. Fontaine would hit a jumper in the closing minute to give Ball State the 41-39 advantage over Western Michigan at intermission.
The Cardinals shot 51.9 percent from the field for the game and out-rebounded the Broncos 33-31.
The Ball State women's basketball team will close out the Mid-American Conference regular season at home in Worthen Arena Wednesday, March 6 against Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. and then Toledo Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. Against the Rockets Saturday the Cardinals will say farewell to their two seniors, Katie Murpy and Brandy Woody.