Editors Note: Co-sports editor Kyle Smedley interviewed Niele Ivey, Hannah Hidalgo and Anna DeWolfe.
Head coach Brady Sallee did not talk about the loss, the rebounding differential or the points in the paint. Instead, he first thanked the crowd and community.
Addressing them, he was in appreciation for the record-marking turnout. Appreciation for the teams, the fans, marketing, administration and more.
Focused on the game, Sallee said that he did not realize the record-setting crowd at Worthen Arena at first. The 5,442 person crowd set the all-time record for a Ball State women’s basketball game.
The 90-59 loss for Ball State was the first game of the season the Cardinals have dropped and moved them to 5-1 on the year.
“As frustrated as our players are, there will be a time when they sit back and they will remember playing in front of the largest crowd that has ever watched a women’s basketball game in Ball State history,” Sallee said.
“When you have an opponent like Notre Dame coming in, you hope the community gets behind it. They certainly did.”
Sallee also took time to thank Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey for being willing to play at Worthen.
Ivey’s reason for in-state games was simple, it is for the fans. She said with the great Indiana schools, it is important to stay local and regional to showcase what Indiana basketball has to offer.
“I love playing in-state games and that was really great opportunity to face a really great team on the road,” Ivey said.
Junior Madelyn Bischoff said that the crowd not only means a lot to her personally but to the team as well.
“We are really appreciative of them (the community) and I just think it was a really cool experience,” Bischoff said. “We are all super thankful to see our community come out and support us like that.”
In the loss, junior Madelyn Bischoff said that playing against Notre Dame is going to help the team learn a lot of lessons.
One player they can learn from is one of the nation’s best defenders and scorers, freshman Hannah Hidalgo. She finished with 25 points for the Irish.
“We know that any team can be beat, so we do not want to take any game for granted,” Hidalgo said.
Bischoff said guarding someone as talented as Hidalgo will benefit the Cardinals in the long run after seeing one of the nation’s best. Sallee said she is an elite player, and seeing a player that good will help Ball State be ready for when the next elite player comes around.
In the paint, Ball State was out-rebounded 48-20 and outscored in the paint 42-16. Junior Marie Kiefer said the post-position group in the future will need to work on screens from here on out.
Although needing work in some areas the Cardinals forced the Fighting Irish to turn the ball over 29 times. Sallee said that stat will bode well for Ball State in what type of basketball they like to play. He said that mixing up looks and zone defenses was able to throw off Notre Dame.
From here, Ball State will have five road games from Dec. 3-21. Two of which are in the same location for the Sun Coast Challenge.
For the long road trip ahead, Sallee said they are prepared to first get things ahead in the classroom to be set for the games. He said that there are a couple of spaces where they will be able to work for the next, but is focused on taking the games one at a time.
The Cardinals will be back in action at Saint Louis University Dec. 3, with the game starting at 3 p.m.