Bulls Lose Fourth Straight While Cardinals Continue To Roll
For the women's basketball team it's pretty clear that this season has taken a turn for the worse.
The bad news: four losses in a row, all to MAC opponents.
The latest loss came at the hands of the first-place Ball State Cardinals, 72-59 on Saturday night in Munice, Ind. in front of 1,750 fans. The Bulls now fall to a meager 4-8 in conference play (9-14 overall), when they had stood even at 4-4 just 14 days ago.
So is there any good news?
Yes. The Bulls have gotten tremendous production from their sophomore forward Jessica Kochendorfer, who is proving to be the young break-out star of the program. In Saturday's game, Kochendorfer posted 27 points, leading all scores.
"I'm really proud of Jessica and the way she's been playing for us," said UB Head Coach Cheryl Dozier. "We have to get someone else to step up offensively in addition to her."
Aside from Kochendorfer, who was the only Buffalo player in double figures, the rest of the team struggled from the field in the second half. The Bulls had only four field goals in the final 16 minutes of play. They did, however, manage to score on the free-throw line, getting 10 second-half points, and going 14 of 17.
The Cardinals (18-4, 10-1 MAC) used two key runs to secure the game. The first came in the opening period to retain the lead going into halftime. The second run was the clincher, a 26-7 title wave that left Ball State up by 25 points, 70-45, with 7:17 left on the clock.
Once again, the Bulls got into trouble with turnovers. The Cardinals capitalized much like Western Michigan did when Buffalo committed 23 turnovers in their previous outing.
"I didn't think we did a bad job defensively," said Dozier. "There wasn't any one player who hurt us. But, when you turn the ball over 26 times, you don't give yourself very many offensive opportunities."
The game opened up with both teams handing the lead back and forth, with neither squad being able to get up by more than five. Kochendorfer tied the game at 22 with 6:06 to go in the first half on a fast-break opportunity, putting Buffalo in position to take the lead.
Unfortunately, Ball State jumped right into an 11-0 run, and they took a 39-28 lead into the locker room at halftime after consecutive three-pointers by Jessica Reiter and Johna Goff with under a minute to go.
The Bulls scored the first five points and outscored BSU by a 10-5 margin to open the second half and cut the Cardinals' lead to six, 44-38, with 16:23 to play. That would be the closest UB would get, as Ball State took back control of the game.
UB held the advantage in rebounds, 37-29, but that advantage was offset by their 26 turnovers - leading to 26 points for the Cardinals.
The Bulls out-shot BSU 45.8 percent to 41.2 percent in the game.
With the exception of Kochendorfer's double double (27 points and 11 rebounds), no Buffalo players had nights to write home about. Junior Rachel Martin was the next-highest scorer with eight points.
For Ball State, three players finished in double figures. They were led by freshman Kate Endress, who contributed 15 points off the bench. Starting guard Shala Crook had 14 points, while forward Tamara Bowie chipped in 12.
The Bulls will look to end their slump Wednesday as they play Akron at 7 p.m. in Alumni Arena.
Kochendorfer's double double was her sixth of the season.
No team has left Muncie with a win this season - the Cardinals are a perfect 10-0 at home.