Written By: Noah Reed | @NoahReed_24
Play-by-Play Voice of Ball State Women’s Basketball on Sports Link Radio
Member of Ball State Sports Link
For the first time all year, the Ball State Cardinals have dropped back-to-back games. After a home loss to Central Michigan a week ago, the Cardinals dropped a seesaw battle at Kent State last Saturday, 59-50.
Ball State (16-7, 8-4 MAC) hits the road Wednesday looking to bounce back against MAC West division rival, Northern Illinois (10-13, 3-9 MAC). The Huskies have lost nine of its last 11 games entering the game.
What to Watch For Wednesday:
Northern Illinois Junior, Ally Lehman, is the only other player in the MAC besides Ball State’s Nathalie Fontaine to average a double-double. Lehman averages a team best 12 points per game and a conference best 11.1 rebounds per contest.
Lehman has grabbed double figure rebounds on 13 occasions this year, including nine double-doubles. The number is behind only Fontaine’s 13 double-doubles.
Lehman is going through a stretch of her own struggles, however. The team’s leading scorer has been held to single digits in three of the last four games, scoring just a little over eight points per game in that stretch.
Nathalie continues to put impressive numbers time in and time out. Through 23 games this season, Fontaine is put up double figure scoring in each of the 23 contest, including 13 with at least 20 points.
Even over the last two games, both of which have resulted in losses for Ball State, Fontaine’s stat line has remained the same. She has averaged 28.5 points and 12 rebounds per game, earning her the MAC West Player of the Week for the sixth time this year and the 12th of her career. Fontaine also notched her 2,000th career point with her last field goal of the game at Kent State on Saturday.
With Lehman leading the way, Northern Illinois is one of the best rebounding teams in the Mid American Conference. The Huskies are second in the league averaging 42.5 rebounds per game, which trails just Central Michigan for the conference lead.
Both Ball State and Northern Illinois pride themselves in out-rebounding the opponent. The Cardinals grab seven more rebounds per outing than the opponent does. While only getting about 40 rebounds per game, Ball State holds opponents to just over 33 rebounds per game, good for best in the MAC
Northern Illinois has a rebounding margin of nearly +2, which is good for fourth in conference. Where the Huskies lack is allowing opponents to grab a lot of rebounds. Even though they are second with 42.5 rebounds per game, opponents average over 40 per game, which is the fourth lowest in the MAC.
Coverage of tonight’s game at Northern Illinois can be heard on Fox Sports Muncie (102.9 FM/1340 AM) at 8pm ET with Tyler Bradfield and myself on the call.