The Ball State Cardinals are hosting the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders in the first round of the WNIT. The Cardinals finished the season 24-6 with a 13-5 record in the MAC. They ended ranked 45th in the RPI. The Lady Raiders ended with an 18-12 record and 10-6 in the Conference USA.
When: Thursday, March 15th, 7 P.M.
Where: Worthen Arena, Muncie, Indiana
The Cardinals feature one of the best point guards in a league that has plenty of fantastic point guards. Carmen Grande was third team All-MAC and on the All-MAC Defensive team. The consummate team player, she averages 9.2 assists per game, good enough for second in the nation.
The Cardinals are an exceptionally deep team, and have a trio of seniors that helped them to this great season. Mariah Monaco averages 16.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while Destiny Washington is adding 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per. Frannie Frazier is averaging 10 points and 5.4 rebounds. The last Cardinal in double digits is junior Jasmin Samz, who is averaging 11.7. Along with all that experience, freshman Oshlynn Brown is averaging 8.8 points per contest.
The Lady Raiders are a defensive minded team that struggles to score. Despite their offensive deficiencies, they still hold opponents under 60 points a game. They are led by Alex Johnson, who is averaging 13.2 points per game. Abby Sissom scores at 11.3 while Jess Louro averages 9.3.
While they had a fantastic season, and are a great team, the Cardinals might be facing a bit of let down in this game. With a road win against Toledo or Ohio, coupled with a win against WMU in the MAC tournament, the Cardinals would likely be at the Big Dance.
Middle Tennessee is a terrifying opponent for a team that might be a little down in the dumps, or not excited since this is their 6th WNIT appearance in a row. The Lady Raiders are defensive minded and all their starters are either juniors or seniors. With that being said, the Cardinals should be one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, however don’t be shocked if they get bounced in the first round.