EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Junior guard Shelbie Justice scored a season-high 14 points and sophomore forward Nathalie Fontaine added 12 but the Ball State women's basketball team could not overcome a slow second half start causing the Cardinals to suffer a 80-69 loss to in-state rival Evansville Wednesday night in the Ford Center.
With the loss Ball State falls to 0-3 on the season while Evansville improves to 2-3 overall.
For the game, Ball State held Evansville to 34.9 shooting from the field (22 of 63) while Ball State shot 42.9 percent. The Purple Aces out-rebounded the Cardinals 46 to 34, marking the first game Ball State had been beating on the glass this season.
In the second half, Evansville used a 20-10 run to boost the Purple Aces lead to 19, 61-42, with 13:06 remaining. But the Cardinals slowly started to climb their way back into the ball game after freshman guard Jill Morrison's 3-point basket which was followed by a layup, sparking a 14-2 run for the Cardinals.
With 7:30 left to play in the game, junior guard Brittany Carter knocked down a three pointer to bring Ball State within seven, 63-56. But that was as close as the Cardinals would get, Evansville then rattled off eight straight points to build its lead back up to 15 (71-56) with 3:19 remaining.
Both teams traded baskets at the start of the half, Ball State built its biggest lead 15-11 with 12:45 on the clock after Justice knocked down a three point basket. Evansville would then put together a 7-3 run over the next four minutes to tie the game 18-18 with 8:28 left on the clock.
After the tie, the Purple Aces scored 23 points to take a 41-32 halftime lead over the Cardinals at intermission.
For the second straight game, senior guard Brandy Woody led the Cardinals with 10 rebounds while adding seven points and six assists. Justice's 14 points led Ball State in scoring, while Fontaine contributed 10 and Murphy finished with nine.
The Ball State women's basketball team continues its four-game road stretch, Saturday when the Cardinals travel to Detroit for an 11 a.m. tipoff in Calihan Hall. Ball State will play at the South Point Shoutout in Las Vegas, Nev. (Nov. 29-30) before returning home Dec. 7 against Western Kentucky.