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
Ball State Women’s Basketball is set for senior night as they welcome fellow MAC West rival, Northern Illinois to Worthen Arena on Wednesday.
The Cardinals are coming off a crucial divisional win at Eastern Michigan 67-63 on Saturday in large part due to Moriah Monaco’s career high 28 points including eight three-pointers.
What to watch for Wednesday
- Fontaine within striking distance of school record
Coming into this year, Nathalie Fontaine needed to average nearly 20 points per game in order to break Ball State’s all time scoring record of 2,091 points, set by Tamara Bowie. Considering Fontaine had not averaged more than 16.4 points per game in any of her previous three seasons, it seemed a little questionable.
And then she hit the floor running this year.
Nathalie is currently averaging 21.2 points per game and has scored 20+ points on 13 occasions, including a Ball State single game scoring record of 43 points at Evansville earlier this season.
Fontaine will enter Wednesday night’s battle with 2,069 points, which is just 22 points shy of tying the all time record and 23 away from placing herself in sole possession of first place in the Ball State record books.
When asking head coach Brady Sallee about Fontaine, he said, “She has changed this program from a cellar dweller to a program that has expectations of being a champion. Just her. She was the one that came in and gave us that player.”
- Senior Night
Not only will Fontaine be honored before tomorrow’s home finale, graduating with a degree in business, but third year senior Shelby Merder will as well. Merder is having the best statistical year of her career.
The Jasper native is averaging four points per game and shooting nearly 40% from the field. Three of Merder’s six career double figure games have come this season, including a career high of 15 in this year’s conference opener against Toledo.
When Renee Bennett went down with an injury earlier in the season, Merder stepped into a starting role for five games, where she averaged 7.2 points per game and shot 42% from the field in that span.
Merder is one of the rare occasions where she will elect to not play in her fourth year of eligibility, but instead graduate in three years with a speech pathology degree.
- Will Monaco stay hot?
Moriah Monaco went through a stretch towards the beginning of the conference season where she struggled to put the ball through the basket. There was a span for the sophomore where she was held without double figures in four out five games, averaging just 6.8 points on just 30% field goal shooting.
It’s safe to say that slump is gone for Monaco.
Over the past four games, Monaco has reached double figures in each game. She is averaging 17.5 points per game in that stretch, all while shooting 47% from the field and 49% from behind the three-point line.
Moriah is coming off the best game of her career Saturday at Eastern Michigan where she scored a career high 28 points, demolishing her previous career high of 19 points. Monaco went 9-for-18 from the field, including eight three-pointers. She also totaled eight rebounds; just one shy of her career high nine rebounds.
Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPN3. Fox Sports Muncie (102.9 FM/1340 AM) with Tyler Bradfield and Mick Tidrow bringing you the action. Sports Link Radio (91.3 WCRD) will have Cory Stace and myself on the call.