Thursday, March 11, 2004

RedHawks' Day breaks Cardinals in MAC Tourney quarterfinal win



By Ryan Waldheger
Enquirer contributor

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CLEVELAND - Ball State coach Tracy Roller had a plan for beating Miami. But plotting to stop and actually stopping Colleen Day are two entirely different tasks.

The top-seeded RedHawks outlasted the ninth-seeded Cardinals at Gund Arena on Wednesday, winning 85-71 in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.

Day scored 11 of her game-high 23 points during a 26-7 first-half run that provided the RedHawks a lead they would not surrender. Ball State crept as close as five late, but never solved Day's consistent play inside. The 6-foot senior forward added a game-high 14 rebounds.

Freshman Amanda Jackson had 21 points for Miami. Senior Kim Lancaster and sophomore Cindi Merrill each scored 13 points.

"Out of all of the people that are on their team, I think Colleen Day is their heart," Roller said. "If you can find a way to stop Colleen Day, I think you beat them. You have to mix up the defenses and pray they have an off shooting night."

But Day was on, as were the rest of the RedHawks. Miami made 51.5 percent (34 of 66) of its attempts from the field, to the Cardinals 36.9 percent (24 of 65).

Miami improved to 16-0 when outshooting its opponent, and 13-0 when scoring more than 81 points.

The RedHawks (21-7) have won 13 of their last 14 games.

"We knew it was going to be a game of runs, a game of emotion," Miami coach Maria Fantanarosa said. "Both teams are very talented offensively, so we focused on controlling the controllables, one being defense. We thought that the team that played an aggressive defensive game would have the advantage.

"When Ball State went on its runs, we stayed calm and continued to execute."

Miami increased its 14-point halftime lead to 15, at 57-42 with 16:06 left. The Cardinals, riding the perimeter shooting of Johna Goff (21 points) and the penetration of Kelsey Corbin (16 points), cut their deficit to five at 65-60. But in the final 10 minutes, Miami's inside presence of Day, Lancaster and junior Kim Smith proved too much to match. Day's one-hander from the paint with 1:05 left capped a 12-6 streak during which Miami regained its 15-point lead.

"I think with Miami, you can only hold them down so much," Roller said. "When we weren't scoring, matching them, and making a run, it was concerning to me.

"When we got within five, it felt like we had a chance. I think we just ran out of gas."

Ball State's leading scorer - senior Kate Endress (19.3 points) - was held to four points on 2-of-15 shooting.

BALL STATE (13-16, 7-9) - Endress 2-15 0-0 4, Reiter 5-8 0-0 10, Goff 6-15 5-6 21, Corbin 5-8 6-10 16, Collins 4-10 2-2 12, Bolte 1-4 1-2 4, Hampton 0-3 0-0 0, Bajorek 1-2 2-4 4, Totals: 24-65 16-24 71.

MIAMI (21-7, 14-2) - Day 9-16 5-6 23, Lancaster 5-9 3-4 13, Jackson 8-12 3-3 21, Motto 2-8 0-0 6, Merrill 6-14 0-0 13, Beck 0-0 0-0 0, Kozlowski 1-3 0-0 3, Smith 3-4 0-0 6, Totals: 34-66 11-13 85.

Halftime: Miami 46, Ball State 32. 3-pointers: Ball State 7-18 (Endress 0-3, Reiter 0-2, Goff 4-6, Collins 2-5, Bolte 1-2), Miami 6-15 (Day 0-2, Jackson 2-2, Motto 2-7, Merrill 1-2, Kozlowski 1-2). Rebounds: Ball State 40 (Endress 12), Miami 38 (Day 14). Assists: Ball State 16 (Corbin 11), Miami 18 (Motto 8).




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