Out of reach
Bulls women’s basketball drops second-straight MAC contest
The women's basketball team rallied from being down 14 points at halftime to trim its deficit to two points, but despite the Bulls', best efforts they had their three-game win streak at Alumni Arena come to an end.
The Bulls (5-13, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) continued MAC play Wednesday night with Ball State (8-11, 4-1 MAC). In a battle of 3-1 MAC records, Buffalo came up short, suffering a 69-55 defeat.
Turnovers plagued the Bulls throughout the night as they gave the ball up 30 times compared to Ball State's 17.
"We have to try to not turn the ball over," said sophomore forward Kristen Sharkey. "Taking care of the ball is a really big part of this game and if we can take care of the ball, we'll be successful."
After falling in a five-point hole to start the game, the Bulls battled back. They were unable to stay on top for long, as the Cardinals quickly regained the lead, forcing the Bulls to play catch up for the rest of the game.
Buffalo closed the gap multiple times throughout the first 20 minutes, but the Cardinals still took a 14-point lead into halftime.
The Bulls came out in the second half with fresh legs and new intensity. They started the half by going on a 17-5 run, forcing Ball State head coach Bradley Sallee to spend a timeout.
After slowing down the pace of the game in an attempt to regroup, Ball State's Brandy Woody began to really control the floor. Woody antagonized the Bulls' defense all night as she finished the game with 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals.
Buffalo committed 29 personal fouls to Ball State's 15 and gave up 31 points from the free-throw line.
"We have to play defense with our feet to limit the fouls," said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "We'll definitely have to get better with that moving forward."
Although neither the Bulls (19 for 53, 35.8 percent) nor the Cardinals (16 for 54, 29.6 percent) posted impressive shooting numbers from the field, a number of Ball State's shots from that range were virtually uncontested.
The Bulls picked up 29 defensive rebounds on the night. However, they failed to box out, allowing the Cardinals to grab 15 offensive rebounds.
"We certainly didn't do a good job of boxing them out," Legette-Jack said.
Wednesday was the first time in five games that the Bulls defense has given up 60 or more points to an opponent.
Freshman guard Mackenzie Loesing led the team in scoring with 18 points. She was also a perfect 5 for 5 from the free-throw line on the night.
Sharkey recorded her second-straight double-double, grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds to go along with 11 points.
Through the first three games of Buffalo's MAC schedule, its bench had outscored opponents 89-39. In Wednesday night's game, the Bulls' bench only put up eight points.
"We don't really consider anyone starters or bench players; we just have people who show up," Legette-Jack said. "Not everybody showed up tonight. Everyone has to continue to get better and we'll get back at it tomorrow."
The women's basketball team hopes to snap its two-game skid when Western Michigan (6-12, 2-3 MAC) travels to Alumni Arena on Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Before Saturday's tip, the Bulls will honor alum Brenna Doty as a "Legend of the Hardwood."
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