MAC WBB Tournament Day One: Ball State soars past Akron in MAC Quarterfinals

Tyler Kavalecz, Sports Reporter, Falcon Media Sports Network

Ball State women’s basketball, who lost in the championship game in last year’s MAC Tournament, defeated Akron in the first round of this year’s tournament, 92 to 68.  

The third-seeded Cardinals trailed to the sixth-seeded Zips early, 17-9. However, Ball State found their rhythm towards the end of the first quarter, going on a 10-3 run and trailing by just one at the end of the first 10 minutes of the game.  

BSU carried over the momentum, going on a 10-4 run, giving the Cardinals a five-point lead halfway through the second quarter. Ball State outscored Akron by 11 points in the second quarter, leading at halftime, 41-31.  

The Cardinals would stay red hot, leading by 15 at the end of the third quarter, 66-51. BSU would not look back, ultimately winning by 24 points.  

Ball State shot 54.1% from the field and 39.1% from three-point range, while Akron shot 49% from the field and just 25% from three-point range. The biggest difference in the game was turnovers, as Ball State scored 22 points off Akron’s 17 turnovers, while Akron scored just four points off Ball State’s four turnovers.  

While five Ball State players scored double-digits, redshirt senior Anna Clephane and fifth-year forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir led the Cardinals from start to finish. Clephane finished with a team-high 20 points, four rebounds and five assists. Dis Agustsdottir scored 16 points, shooting 5-8 from the field and 4-6 from the three-point range.  

For Akron, sophomore Reagan Bass had a game-high 24 points, shooting 9-12 from the field while adding seven rebounds. Senior Dominique Camp added 18 points with a team-high five assists.  

Ball State did not just want to win; they wanted to prove they are the best team in the tournament.  

“I told [the team] before the game I didn’t want to just survive and advance; I wanted to come out and play. You get to this time of year, you just have to trust you’re the best team. We have to do it two more times,” Head Coach Brady Sallee said.  

Ball State will face second-seeded Bowling Green in the second game on Friday in a rematch of the overtime thriller between the two teams on March 1 at the Stroh Center.