Bulls Go Bird Hunting
Ashley Zuber (2) and the women’s basketball team continued their winning ways against Ball State. Alex McCrossen /// The Spectrum
Saturday wasn't a good day to visit Alumni Arena if you were wearing anything other than blue and white.
Just days after senior forwards Kourtney Brown and Jessica Fortman made history in a huge win over Central Michigan (12-7, 4-3 Mid-American Conference), the Bulls (11-10, 4-4 MAC) trampled the Ball State Cardinals (9-12, 4-4 MAC) by a score of 77-61.
The Cardinals seemed to be overwhelmed in the opening minutes, when Brown scored nine of Buffalo's first 11 points to put the Bulls ahead. Buffalo led for the entirety of the game in which Brown, Fortman, and senior guard Ashley Zuber scored 60 of the Bulls' final point total.
In light of the Bulls' recent record-breaking play, it would be understandable if the team began to buy into its own hype. Head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald believes that her players have maintained the focus that they need to win.
"I don't know if [the team success is because of] the personal accolades for the players," Hill-MacDonald said. "I think that the thing that's motivating the team right now is [themselves]. As long as we're winning, [it wouldn't matter] if we didn't have any milestones."
Zuber was key to the Bulls' victory. She set a career-high in scoring for the second consecutive game. After dropping 15 points against CMU, she contributed 16 points in the win against the Cardinals and shot 67 percent from 3-point territory.
Despite scoring a career-high, Zuber credits the entire team's effort for the win.
"It just feels good to win, that's our goal… as long as we get a win I'm happy," Zuber said. "A lot of people contributed, and our team is very unselfish. It doesn't matter who puts the ball in the basket."
Brown turned in another great performance as well. She earned her fifth straight double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds, adding to her career total of 1,009 boards.
The Bulls took a 15-point lead with just under 12 minutes remaining in the first half and went into the locker room on top by 20 points.
The Bulls knew that they could not become complacent. Hill-MacDonald and the Bulls were aware of the Cardinals' success during the second half and were well prepared to hold off a comeback attempt.
"We know that Ball State has been a second-half team this season," Hill-MacDonald said. "Coming into this game, they scored 200 more points in the second half than they had in the first. We knew that they were capable of big runs. We talked about the need to match the intensity that we had in the first half."
Saturday's victory marked Buffalo's first win against the Cardinals since 2001. The triumph also marked the Bulls' first MAC win at home this season.
"I didn't realize it was our first conference win at home," Hill-MacDonald said. "It feels wonderful. Getting a win anywhere feels good at this point, but getting it at home makes it even sweeter."
The Bulls seek to continue their win streak Thursday night against Western Michigan in Alumni Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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