Judging by Central Michigan's demolition of Akron last weekend one game after UB topped the chips, maybe we've got something more in the Women's Hoops defense than we thought. That defense will be tested significantly tonight by one of the best scorers in the conference in Ball State's Nathalie Fontaine. If you know nothing else about the matchup before tip tonight, know that name.
Fontaine, a 6-2 senior guard from Sweden, will all but certainly eclipse 2,000 career points this season, as she averages a MAC-leading 22.3 a game and is second in the MAC in rebounding, just a hair under double digits. She's topped 20 points nine times, including 43 against Evansville, while shooting over 50%. The only team to really shut her down recently is Ohio.
Buffalo did hold Fontaine well below her average in their 2015 matchup, when UB's best defensive performance of the year limited Ball State to just 43 points and their star to 10.
Beyond the senior leader though, both Jill Morrison and Moriah Monaco also score in double digits, and Ball State as a team pulls down 41 rebounds a game even while shooting better than 43% from the floor and 75% from the line. Now 10-4, the Cardinals are one of just four teams, alongside Buffalo, Ohio, and Eastern Michigan in the MAC with double-digit wins, and are a serious challenger for a MAC title this year.
To win, UB will absolutely need more productive minutes from their forwards and would do well to find significant points from more than Joanna Smith. The Cardinals are also averaging 17 assists a game, so defensively it will fall to the perimeter to hound the Ball State distributors.