MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State women’s basketball team (17-15) advanced to the final 16 of the WNIT for the first time in program history with a 53-48 victory over Northern Iowa (17-17) Sunday afternoon in Worthen Arena.
The game came down to the final minute when Ball State took a 49-48 lead over Northern Iowa on a Brittany Carter jumper with 33 seconds to play. The shot gave the Cardinals their first lead of the second half. Carter then knocked down two from the charity stripe to give Ball State a 51-48 advantage with 14 seconds left in the contest.
Northern Iowa’s Jacqui Kalin could not get a clean look at a game-tying three on the next possession, and the Cardinals grabbed the rebound. The Panthers were forced to foul Nathalie Fontaine, who knocked down two more free throws for the final margin.
Fontaine finished with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds, while Carter added 16 points. Kalin paced Northern Iowa with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but the Cardinals forced her into a 4-for-15 shooting performance.
Ball State now advances to meet the winner of the Illinois State versus Kansas State game, which will be played Monday at 8 p.m. EST in Manhattan, Kan. The date and location of the Cardinals’ next game is still to be announced.
Neither team managed to shoot better than 32 percent from the floor Sunday, but Ball State was able to get to the free throw line. The Cardinals made nearly four times more free throws (19) than Northern Iowa attempted (5).
Northern Iowa started the game with an 11-2 run to take an early lead over the Cardinals. Ball State then put together a 9-0 run to tie the game at 11-11 with 8:17 remaining in the half. The game was tied 17-17 at the 3:51 mark, but the Panthers quickly regained the lead to head into halftime up 26-22.
Northern Iowa pushed its advantage to nine points at 39-30 with 12:21 to play and still led by eight at 44-36 with 7:22 left, but Ball State out-scored the Panthers 17-4 the rest of the way.