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Preview: Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball to face another MAC West power in Ball State

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Winning a crucial rematch with Central Michigan, Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball turns their attention to a quality Ball State team. Like the Bulls, the Cardinals have had a pretty successful season so far and a win for either of these teams in this matchup will be big farther down the line. A win tonight could put Buffalo back into the top-four seed picture.

Ball State is led by head coach Brady Sallee, who’s been a catalyst for the program. Sallee has taken the Cardinals to four straight WNIT appearances in his career and in the first appearance the Cardinals made it to the third round. Sallee currently holds a 222-172 coaching record.

After graduating MAC Player of the Year Nathalie Fontaine, the Cardinals have found no problem adjusting. Currently at 12-6 overall on the season, Ball State challenged themselves with a tough non-conference schedule that included a bout with nationally ranked Auburn. Their only so far in MAC play is to the West Division’s Central Michigan in a game where the Cardinals allowed Presley Hudson to score 43.

Ball State is lead by a trio of senior scorers that are all more than capable of shooting the three ball. The Cardinals’ 6-5 senior center Renee Bennet leads all scorers with 16.6 points and also brings in 7.8 rebounds per game. Moriah Monaco is another interior threat with her 15.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Finally, in the backcourt is Jill Morrison as she averages 10.6 points per game.

What to watch for

1. UB’s bench

The Bulls have been relying heavily on scoring from Smith, Reid, Hemphill, and Onwuka. Meanwhile, the bench has been nowhere’s near as productive on offense as it was to start out the season. UB could really use some scoring from 1-2 more players instead of just one bench player making a contribution like in the CMU matchup.

2. Slowing the Cardinals down

Like some of their counterparts in the MAC West, Ball State will pick up the pace and run up the score if you let them. In their last four games, the Cardinals have scored 75 points or more en route to a 3-1 record in them.

3. Closing the game out

Buffalo played really good defense in both of their matchups with Ball State last season but in the end the Cardinals were the ones who finished out the close games. Considering how the Cardinals are practically the same team as last season, Buffalo will have to be on their game in that final half of the fourth quarter.

4. Oursler

She’s gone quiet in conference play and this is going to be a very big game for her to try an rebound. Even if she doesn’t score the ball well, Cassie will need to perform some of the best defense she’s had all season to help lock down two great players in the post. If she can stay out of foul trouble then the advantage goes to the Bulls.