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Sweeney's sweet play allows Eagles to flock to semifinals

Cha Sweeney capitalized for the Eastern Michigan with a 29-point performance, scoring 19 in the first half. After gaining momentum the Eagles soared out of reach for the Cardinals.


Cleveland, OH -- It's another upset, but the Eagles aren't disappointed.

No. 6 Eastern Michigan (21-10, 11-8 MAC) rallied from an early deficit to take control and put the contest out of reach against No. 3 Ball State (21-9, 13-6 MAC) in a Mid-American Conference quarterfinal on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

After opening the game with an 8-0 run on back-to-back three-point baskets and a layup, Ball State only maintained an 18-17 advantage into the second period. Cha Sweeney brought the game within a point for Eastern Michigan, nailing consecutive three-pointers, with 3:26 left in the first quarter.

By the end of the first quarter, Sweeney totaled 10 points — but she was only getting started.

Helping the Eagles outscore the Cardinals 15-6 in the second period, Sweeney tacked on nine more points to go into halftime with 19 of Eastern Michigan's 32. The Eagles led Ball State 32-24 at the break.

Following the halftime intermission, Ball State jumped ahead on a 4-1 run. Sweeney broke it up, hitting a three-point basket to bring her total to 22 points; however, the Cardinals charged ahead on a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to 36-35.

As the Eagles seemed to be taking a nose dive against the aggressive Cardinals, Chanise Baldwin stepped in to contribute four quick points and push the game back out in the Eagles’ favor 40-35.

Through the end of the period, the Eagles managed a 9-2 run to take a 45-37 lead into the fourth quarter. At the end of three quarters, Ball State held a slight advantage in the paint outscoring Eastern Michigan 22-18.

However, the Eagles were 10-2 on second-chance points — out-rebounding the Cardinals, 12-7, on the offensive glass — 9-2 on fast break points and 8-0 on bench contributions with Sasha Dailey accounting for six points.

Ball State tried to put the pressure on Eastern Michigan to open to fourth quarter, but the Eagles soared. After out-scoring the Eagles 8-5 in the opening three minutes to make it a five-point game, 50-45, the Cardinals stumbled and gave up a 15-3 run that solidified Eastern Michigan's eventual 67-53 victory.

Sweeney finished the contest as the scoring leader with 29 points. She also led the Eagles in steals and assists with three.  Joining her in double figures, Janay Morton finished the contest with 12 points.

The Cardinals were led by Carmen Grande and Nathalie Fontaine with 14 points apiece. Fontaine added 10 rebounds to her offensive production for the only double-double of the game, while Renee Bennett also reached double figures with 10 points.

Knocking out Ball State, the Eastern Michigan Eagles will enjoy the win and prepare to take on Central Michigan on Friday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.