|BG women to return 8 (04-11-13)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 11 April 2013 09:25|
The roster is currently at 12 players for next year's Bowling Green State University's women's basketball team.
Four seniors, including leading scorer Chrissy Steffen, have completed their eligibility for the Falcons, but eight players return. Transfer Erica Donovan and three incoming freshmen will be joining the team.
Leading the returnees are Alexis Rogers, 10.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game; Jillian Halfhill, 8.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game; and Jill Stein, 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. All three will be seniors.
Halfhill was in a reserve role for two years, but took over the point-guard position this season and started all 35 games.
''For someone who didn't see significant minutes as a freshman and a sophomore ... (she) flat out won a couple of games for us with how well she played, taking care of the ball and being able to put up some significant points,'' BG head coach Jennifer Roos said about Halfhill.
Stein was a major factor in the Falcons' strong finish to the season. Over the final 14 games, she averaged 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while playing important minutes off the bench. She had 56 points and 27 rebounds in the final five games of the season.
''Jill Stein's impact was so significant for our team during the end of the season, especially when we got into foul trouble at the post position,'' Roos said. ''She stepped up and made some big buckets for us.''
In addition, Miriam Justinger and Bailey Cairnduff combined to start 26 games as freshmen. Both had their moments while gaining valuable experience.
''They did see extensive playing time,'' Roos said. ''They were in games in key situations and that makes you grow up in a hurry.''
Jasmine Matthews, who will be a junior in the fall, played in 13 games last season, but finally had to go to the bench with a stress fracture. Roos said Matthews was probably healthy for only six games, playing through pain in the other nine games.
A solid defender, Matthews was named to the MAC's all-freshman team and was BG's most improved player in 2011-12.
Roos said Matthews is out of her walking boot and is awaiting the OK to resume practice.
Also returning are Katrina Salinas, who will be a senior, and Deborah Hoekstra, who will be a junior.
A transfer from North Carolina State, Donovan will have three years of eligibility remaining. A graduate of John Jay High School in Northside, Texas, Donovan was born in Toledo.
Donovan played in 35 games for N.C. State, averaging 4.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
This past season Donovan was a valuable practice player for the Falcons.
''She's extremely physical. She is a very talented 3-point shooter. She has the ability to play inside and outside for us,'' Roos said. ''She plays hard when she gets between the lines ... She plays hard every time she puts on her practice jersey for us.''
The three incoming freshmen are: Abby Siefker from Ottoville, who was the Ohio Division IV player of the year; Rachel Konieczki from Rockford, Ill., who was a second-team all-state selection; and Kennedy Kirkpatrick, from Lawrence, Kan., who also a second-team all-state selection.
Siefker is a post player, Konieczki is a point-guard, and Kirkpatrick is a wing.
''You are looking at four kids that will come in and will have an immediate impact for us, playing all different positions as well,'' Roos said about Donovan and the incoming freshmen.
The Falcons also have three scholarships remaining for next year that could be used.
The MAC will be switching from 16 games to 18 conference games on the regular-season schedule for at least the next two years. Roos said she did not know how the additional two games would be scheduled.
On the nonconference 2013-14 schedule, the Falcons are playing in the Iona Tournament in New Rochelle, N.Y. and in the Hall of Fame event in Columbus and Springfield, Mass. The field in Iona includes the host school and Arizona. Included in the four-team pod at Ohio State are the host Buckeyes and Marist. BG is tentatively scheduled to play St. Bonaventure in Springfield.
Other nonconference games include home contests with Niagara, UW-Milwaukee, UMass and St. Francis (Pa.) and road games with Butler and Purdue.
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