Miami Women at Ball State Wednesday at 6:30 on ESPN+

This would seem to be the toughest game on our entire schedule. Ball State is 16-2 ( 6-0) and just beat Toledo 65-51 Sunday night in Worthen Arena. Coming into the nationally televised game, Toledo was ranked #4 and Ball State #3 in the Mid Major Poll. The Cardinals only losses were at home vs #14 Notre Dame by 30 and at #17 UConn by 27. They own wins over Georgia, Pitt, and Toledo. They also full court press (for the entire game usually) and that has been a big problem for us this year.

Ball State starts 5 Juniors, so they are going to be great again next year. Head Coach Brady Sallee has been there 11 seasons and has had 6 20 win seasons and 8 WNIT bids, Last year they finished 26 -9 and won two WNIT games. They lost one starter, but replaced her by picking up a JR transfer portal guy from BG who was twice the MAC defensive POY.

Here are their 5 Junior starters:

Allie Bekki 5-8 All MAC and Nyla Hampton 5-7 transfer from BG both scored their 1,000th career point in Sunday night’s game.
6-1 Alex Richard averages 8ppg and 6-3 Marie Kiefer 7ppg
5-9 Madeline Bichoff is a 3-point bomber with a quick release and great accuracy, averaging 14ppg.

They also have excellent depth and sub a lot to keep everyone fresh. They like to press and run.
We are faced with the likelihood of not having two of our best as Lakresha Edwards has missed the last 2 games with a foot or ankle issue and Katey Richason had to leave Saturday’s win over BG with a similar type injury.

I plan to go to the game and cheer them on as Muncie is closer to home than Oxford. Ball State has had only one close game in the MAC, beating Buffalo by only 5. We are coming off our best team performance and our best win, Cori Lard and Hennessey Lu Brown both played their best game of the year and I am sure they will be severely tested Wednesday night.

These are the current MAC women’s standings and NET rankings after Saturday ( so not including Ball States win over UT)

BSU 6-0 #83
UT 5-1 #80
KS 5-1 #102
BG 4-2 #164
UB 3-3 #224
NI 3-3 #268
WM 2-4 #261
OU 2-4 #283
MU 2-4 #283
EMU 2-4 #311
UA 1-5 #234
CM 1-5 #308

I wanted to point out to the girls that we are right in the middle of the battle to get to Cleveland for the MAC tournament, something Miami failed to do for the last 4 seasons. We are currently tied with 3 other teams for #7 through #10. First 8 go to Cleveland. We are currently 1-1 vs the 3 teams we are tied with. We have lots of games on our schedule vs teams we are capable of beating.

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Oh my! 17-7 after one quarter. Miami 2 for 11 from the field.

48-16 at the half.

Someone should have told them not to emulate the men’s performance against CMU.

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13 first half Turnovers for Miami and 4 for Ball.

70-38 after 3

91-56 Final. Our Women saw first hand what it is to be an elite MAC team.

WE really did not play a particularly bad game. At one point in the second quarter, they hit 6 straight 3’s on 6 consecutive possessions. That was discouraging. They kept their starters/top subs in until late in the third quarter. With Katey Richason out for awhile and Lakresha Edwards missing her third straight game we only had 9 girls suited up and were missing 2 of our best, so Coach Box just played the 4 bench girls and alternated one starter in during the 4th quarter. We did basically play them even in the second half, but they put on a clinic in the first half, Yes we had 13 turnovers in the first half, but keep in mind that Toledo with two returning first team all MAC guards had 23 turnovers for the game Sunday night vs Ball State.

Of interest, I was walking up the stairs to go to the rest room at half and somebody yelled “Hey Dick” and it was Jerry Peirson. So we had a nice conversation and caught up a bit. Jerry is retired and looks to be in very good shape, but he is still doing some work selling class rings, which he has done for a long time. He also said that he would be in Oxford for the Ball State game as that will be alumnae day and he hope to see some of his former players and friends. He also expressed a strong dislike of the NIL system. I told him I would give him a shoutout on Hawktalk.


I have talked with Jerry and a few other Hepburn alumni every week. We have done so for years now and also get together with our wives in Perrysburg for a lunch. Our corridor at Hepburn produced several really good coaches. Always some candid and interesting takes on the sports world but as we mentioned Monday we now trend toward health and medical discussions.

Jerry mentioned that he provides all the class rings at Ashland college, so I guess that puts him up in your area regularly.

A couple of things I noticed after looking at the box score. We had 20 turnovers on the game, which is actually 3 less than Toledo had at Ball State Sunday night. BSU hit 7 out of 9 threes in their big second quarter. Ball States starters played 101 minutes, their bench 99, so no running up the score, they have a deep team and they are very good. Riley Neal had 10 points and Maddie Huhn 9 points, but almost all of those came in the 4th quarter when matched up against the Ball State bench. Still, it showed that when matched up against girls of similar experience they looked good. Cori Lard had a tough night. Their student body taunted and rode her all night and she was guarded by Nyla Hampton. who shuts down everyone, all night long. She struggled and could not score like she did vs BG, but still the stats show she only had two to’s, if she can handle that pressure it will make her tougher and more confident in the future. Ball State on a weeknight (6:30 start, I liked that personally) had over 1,500, more than most of our men’s games have had. Of course their program has been building up to this season with many successful seasons in a row. Elaine Puccigros ( Portugal) is the only Ball State player who does not have eligibility remaining after this season, and she only played 7 minutes, so they may have their entire roster back next season. In looking at our schedule, we only have one more game against a team who we are totally mismatched against, that would be a game at Toledo. Of course we really need to get Edwards and Richason back to beat most of those teams.

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That Cardinals team looks like it could win a game or two in the dance if it gets a decent seed.