MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State women's basketball team (0-2) lost a hard fought battle to in-state rival Butler (1-1) by a score of 68-62 Tuesday night in Worthen Arena.
Junior guard Brandy Woody led the Cardinals in scoring with 17 points, which tied her career high. Freshman forward Nathalie Fontaine chipped in 13 points on the night after shooting 5-of-7 from the field, while also pulling down nine rebounds. Sophomore guards Brittany Carter and Shelbie Justice each had 10 points.
Ball State scored 23 points off of Butler's miscues and 12 off of second chance points. The Cardinals struggled from three-point range, managing only a .263 percentage, but tallied 12 steals on the defensive end.
A three pointer from Carter and two buckets from Fontaine allowed the Cardinals to open the second half with a 7-0 run which knotted the game at 37-37 with 16:25 to play. Carter then nailed a three to give Ball State the lead 40-37 for the first time since the 17:24 mark of the first half.
The second half consisted of four ties and two lead changes. The Bulldogs edged away from the Cardinals at the 3:46 mark taking back the lead and then continued to control the contest the remainder of the half. Butler led by as many as eight (62-54) with 2:02 play. Ball State was able to come within five (64-59) with just over a minute left in the game but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs would make their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Ball State came out of the gates strong as Woody knocked down a three pointer in the opening minutes. Both teams saw one lead change and three ties within the first four minutes of play. Butler took a 10-8 lead at the 16:09 mark and built a 12-point cushion (28-16) with 7:52 left to play in the period. The Cardinals then orchestrated a 10-2 run to come within two (32-30) at the 1:22 mark after baskets from Fontaine, junior forward Katie Murphy, Justice, senior guard Shanee' Jackson, Carter and Woody. Butler would end the half up 37-30 over Ball State.
The Ball State women's basketball team heads to former Mid-American Conference member Marshall Saturday for a 5:30 tipoff.