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Posted on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

EMU women's basketball loses another tight contest in MAC opener

By Staff

The Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team opened the Mid-American Conference portion of its schedule with a 54-51 loss at Ball State.

The Eagles led by seven points with less than five minutes remaining, but Ball State closed the game on a 12-2 run to snap its three-game losing streak Thursday night at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind. Each of the Eagles’ last five losses, dating back to an overtime loss at Michigan State on Dec. 3, have been by three points or fewer.

Eastern Michigan senior guard Tavelyn James scored a game-high 20 points, moving into 10th place on the MAC’s all-time scoring list (2,022 points) in the process.

James scored the Eagles’ first six points of the second half, extending Eastern Michigan’s lead to 35-24, but was held scoreless for the final 17 minutes of the game.

The Cardinals started chipping away from there, taking its first lead of the game, 52-51, on freshman Brittany Carter’s fast break layup with 1:32 left to play.

The Eagles had the ball trailing by three points with 14.4 seconds left, but failed to get a shot off on their final possession.

James made 6 of 12 shots from the floor while the rest of the Eagles (8-6, 0-1) combined to make 6 of 37 attempts. India Hairston and Desyree Thomas scored eight points apiece.

Sophomore Jazmin Hitchens led Ball State (6-8, 1-0) with 16 points and Carter finished with 14, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

The Eagles host Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday.