2014 Women's National Invitation Tournament: Ball State to Play Northwestern In Evanston On Thursday, March 20

USA TODAY Sports

The Ball State Cardinals will play on after all. They've accepted a bid to the 64-team Women's NIT and will take on Northwestern on Thursday.

The Ball State Cardinals may have lost to Akron in the 2014 MAC Women's Basketball Tournament Championship game, but their season isn't over. The Cardinals found out Monday night that they've received a bid to play in the 2014 Women's National Invitational Tournament. They will face Northwestern in Evanston on Thursday, March 20. A time has yet to be announced.

Ball State, a five seed in the 2014 MAC Tournament, had one of the more impressive runs on the conference tournament's history. The Cardinals won their first four games in the tournament by an average of 20 points a game, but fatigue finally caught up to the Cardinals Saturday against the Zips as they fell 79-68. Ball State's hot shooting streak hit a dry spell to start the game and Akron pounced. By halftime Akron led by 11. The Cardinals fired back in the second half, even making the game interesting in the final minutes of the second half, but ultimately their woeful 18 percent 3-point field goal percentage in the first half created a hole too big to climb out of and they had no answer for Akron's Rachel Tecca.

Still, the Cardinals are a (Frank's) red-hot team, having won seven of their last eight contests, and over some very good competition. Ball State beat No. 4 seed Buffalo in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals, than knocked off the No. 1 seed Bowling Green Falcons 73-55 in the MAC Semifinals.

The team features some excellent sharpshooters, namely junior guards Britanny Carter and Shelbie Justice who average 32 and 41 percent from 3-point range respectively. Justice had an extremely strong MAC Tournament. The team also features a pair of All-MAC players in guard Brandy Woody and forward Nathalie Fontaine. Fontaine leads the team with 16.5 and 6.4 rebounds a game. Woody is the pace-keeper of the offense, adding 10.4 points and 3.8 assists per contest.

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