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April 11, 2024

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Ball State WBB preview: Old friends reunite as Hampton, Cardinals host Falcons in battle of undefeated teams

Ball+States+Nyla+Hampton
ballstatesports.com
Ball State’s Nyla Hampton

Saturday’s matchup between the Ball State Cardinals and Bowling Green Falcons features two teams who, let’s just say it, have not been the fondest of friends lately.

A season ago, the two split the regular season series, with each home team winning in their respective battles.

The third duel came in the 2023 Mid-American Conference Tournament, where BGSU was able to knock out Ball State in the semifinal round 70-61.

But this season, the Falcons are being led by new coaches, new faces are donning the orange and brown, and for the red and black, a familiar face from the 419 is now a member of their squad.

Let’s dive into the opponent-

 

BALL STATE CARDINALS

Current Record: 13-2 OVR, 3-0 MAC

Head Coach: Brady Sallee (12th season)

Notable Sallee Facts:

  •  In 11 seasons, Sallee has guided the Cardinals to eight postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournaments, a WNIT Final 16 appearance, a MAC West Division title (2014), nine MAC Tournament appearances and six 20-plus win seasons.
  • Last season’s team reached 26 wins, tying a program record.
  • Prior to coaching at Ball State, Sallee spent eight seasons at Eastern Illinois, where he compiled a record of 136-110.

 

Notable Names:

  • Nyla Hampton (Sr.)- Ah yes, the ol’ friend of BGSU. Hampton, after the conclusion of the 2023 season, announced her decision to enter the transfer portal. Just weeks later? The Cardinals came knocking, as the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year now anchors a backcourt that features the top two steals leaders (Hampton 57, Ally Becki 36). Last year with BG, Hampton racked up 100 steals, 24 better than the second best in the conference. Also last season, Hampton averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 steals while scoring a career-best 24 points in the Falcons’ home opener versus Wright State.

 

  • Ally Becki (Jr.)- Did we just mention that Becki is also good at getting steals? Certainly not at the frequency that Hampton does so, but the junior from Brownsburg, Indiana is certainly a utility player for the Cardinals. So far this season, Becki is 12.6 points, 5.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds a game, good for second best on the team in the scoring department (Madelyn Bischoff– 13.9 ppg). Last year, Becki was named to the second team all-MAC list, scoring in double-figures 20 times.

 

  • Alex Richard (Jr.)- One of the more overlooked and under appreciated players on the Cardinal roster, Richard is the ultimate sixth man off the bench for Sallee. As a sophomore last year, Richard averaged about 12 minutes a game, where she averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds a game, while also collecting 28 blocks and 21 steals. Now in her junior season, the native of Avon, Indiana is averaging nearly eight points and five rebounds a contest in an average of 17.1 minutes a game. Look for the 6’1 forward to be a force inside coming off the bench against an interior presence for BGSU that is relatively young.

 

Notable Numbers: 

  • Ball State and Bowling Green have met a total of 73 times in program history with the Falcons leading the all-time series record, 48-25.
  • Hampton is 13 points away from reaching the 1,000 point mark in her collegiate career.
  • BGSU and Ball State are two of four current MAC teams that are undefeated in conference play (Toledo, Kent State).

 

Tip-off between the Cardinals and Falcons is set for 1 p.m. Join Falcon Media Sports Network’s Brandon Loe on the call on 88.1 FM WBGU beginning at 12:45 from Muncie.

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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