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Kennedi Watkins (5) guard position on Ohio's Women's Basketball team, goes up for a layup at The Convo, in Athens, Feb. 10, 2024.

Women’s Basketball: Ohio set to take on dominant Ball State in first round of MAC tournament

Just a season after winning only six games and losing the conference’s leading scorer, Ohio has made its way back to Cleveland to play in the Mid-American Conference tournament. Ohio earned the No. 7 seed in this year’s tournament, putting them up against No. 2 Ball State in the first round of the tournament. 

Ohio had an opportunity to hang on the sixth seed if it beat rival Miami on Saturday, but after a hard-fought four-point loss in Oxford, Northern Illinois jumped in front of Ohio after it narrowly beat Western Michigan by two points that same Saturday.  

Here is everything you need to know about Ball State. 

Game Information

Opponent: Ball State

Time: Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (Cleveland, Ohio)

Watch: ESPN+

Follow live stats here

Meet the Opponent

Head Coach: Brady Salle (12th Season)

Projected Starters

#00 Ally Becki

#12 Nyla Hampton

#14 Marie Kiefer

#20 Alex Richard

#24 Madelyn Bischoff

Statistical Leaders

Points: Becki (12.8 per game)

Assists: Becki (4.8 per game)

Rebounds: Kiefer (5.2 per game)

Steals: Hampton (3.4 per game)

Blocks: Keifer (1.0 per game)

Field Goal Percentage: Annie Rauch (57.4)

3-point Percentage: Bischoff (40.3)

Free Throw Percentage: Bischoff (86.6)

Ball State Notes

Ball State’s season ended second in the MAC, only to Toledo, but that hardly paints the picture of how dominant the team was during the season. The Cardinals finished 27-4, with only two losses in the MAC. Just looking at those four losses, you can get a glimpse into the caliber of team that Ball State is: the first two losses of the season came in the span of three games, to nationally ranked squads like UConn and Notre Dame.

As Ball State got into MAC play, it seemed unstoppable, winning its first 10 games by an average of 19.7 points before finally dropping a game in overtime to Northern Illinois, who now ranks sixth in the MAC. The team would go 6-1 throughout the remainder of MAC play, losing a crucial game to Toledo which caused it to slip to second in the conference for the remainder of the season.

Now, they face off against the Bobcats in the first round of the MAC tournament, bringing a dominant offense full of playmakers and shooters to Cleveland.

Player to Watch: Alex Richard 

The Cardinals’ junior forward has been on a tear recently. Through the team's last three games, Richard is averaging 15 points per game and helped her team win all three games.

The scoring has come at an efficient rate, as she is shooting 59% from the field in her last three games. Richard has also been stellar on the defensive side of the ball, with four blocks and four steals during that stretch. 

Tournament Information

If Ohio wins its first-round matchup against Ball State, it will face off against the winner of the three-vs-six matchup featuring Kent State and Northern Illinois. In a pivotal game toward the end of the season, the Bobcats pulled off an upset against the Golden Flashes and went on to win four of their last six games.

In the other half of the bracket, top-seeded Toledo is up against eighth-seeded Western Michigan and fourth-seeded Buffalo matches up against fifth-seeded Bowling Green.



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