CLEVELAND, Ohio – The No. 5 seeded Ball State women’s basketball team (16-15) advanced to the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland after its 61-47 victory over ninth seeded Northern Illinois (11-19) Wednesday afternoon in Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cardinals will face No. 4 Buffalo Thursday at Noon in Quicken Loans Arena in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals.
For the game Ball State out-rebounded Northern Illinois, 39-to-24 while holding the Huskies to only four second chance points. Nathalie Fontaine led all scorers with 17 points and added eight rebounds. Brandy Woody chipped in 12 points while dishing out three assists and teammate Shelbie Justice finished the day with eight points.
After the first half, the Huskies were unable to recover from its halftime deficit against the Cardinals. Ball State led by as many as 14 points (40-26) with 15:56 left in the game after Woody connected on three-point play after a layup, followed by a free throw. The Huskies attempted to climb its way back into the ball game after putting together a 13-4 run making it a 44-39 ball game with 7:14 left on the clock. That was as close as Northern Illinois would get, as the Cardinals made crucial baskets down the stretch to secure the MAC Tournament second round victory.
Ball State opened the game with an 11-0 run which started off with a three-point basket from Justice and a layup from Katie Murphy. The Cardinals defense held Northern Illinois scoreless up until the 15:43 mark. The Huskies then answered with a 12-3 run to make it a 14-12 ball game with 9:58 remaining. Shelby Merder knocked down a three pointer at the 9:02 mark to snap Northern Illinois streak. The Cardinals closed out the half with a 17-11 scoring spree to take a 31-23 halftime edge over the Huskies.
The No. 5 seeded Ball State women's basketball team will take on No. 4 Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at Noon in Quicken Loans Arena. The Cardinals lost their only meeting against the Bulls in the MAC regular season.