(Updated 9:05 p.m.) Falcon women hold on for two-point win over Western Michigan (3-13-13)
Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 14:39
CLEVELAND — A dark cloud was forming over the heads of the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team Wednesday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.
|BG’s Miriam Justinger (left) eyes the basket against Western’s A.J. Johnson. (Photo: Brad Phalin/BGSU Marketing & Communications)
The Falcons held an 18-point halftime lead over Western Michigan, but the Broncos had chipped away to come within one point in the final minute of play in a Mid-American Conference tournament second-round game.
However, Bowling Green got a key defensive stop in the final five seconds and held on to post a 55-53 victory.
‘‘It was a battle in the second half,’’ said BG’s Jill Stein. ‘‘Compared to the first game, to come out on top this time that just shows how we have grown over the second half of the season.’’
In the previous meeting between the two teams this season, WMU rallied for a 55-54 victory in Kalamazoo as WMU’s Corie Buchanan scored in the lane with 4.6 seconds left to play.
BG head coach Jennifer Roos said the Falcons were passive defensively on the final possession in the first meeting.
The wasn’t the case Wednesday as Roos and assistant coach Jesse Fleming, who handles the defense, decided to go after the Broncos.
And that worked so there was no déjà vu in Kalamazoo for the Falcons.
Stein, a post-player, came up past the top of the key to double-team Western Michigan senior guard Aurielle Anderson.
‘‘At their place on the last possession we played solid defense, but they were the aggressors. They came down at us and got a good shot up,’’ Stein said. ‘‘This time I knew we needed this win, so we needed to be the aggressor even though we were on defense.
‘‘I just jumped out and kind of trapped it and she was a little bit taken off guard,’’ Stein added. ‘‘She kind of got off-balance and ended up double-dribbling.’’
Stein’s defensive pressure helped force the turnover with 4.3 seconds remaining.
‘‘That defensive play was the play of the game,’’ Roos said. ‘‘We got a good trap.’’
After the turnover the Broncos fouled Chrissy Steffen and she split a pair of free throws.
WMU rebounded the miss of the second foul shot, but had problems getting the ball upcourt and the Falcons held on for the victory.
Bowling Green, 22-9 overall, now plays Central Michigan Thursday afternoon at noon.
‘‘It’s win and move on. We will talk very little about this and our focus will be on Central Michigan,’’ Roos said.
The Falcons had things their own way for the first half, making nine of their first 14 shots from the field. BG eventually would go 14-of-30 from the floor, with only three turnovers, in building a 37-19 halftime lead.
Everything changed in the second half, as the Broncos were more aggressive defensively in attacking Bowling Green’s ball-screen offense.
“Our defense stepped up tremendously in the second half,’’ WMU’s Marquisha Harris said. ‘‘It was the defense and the fact we had the confidence. Everybody was in it together. We knew we had each other’s back.’’
Bowling Green did not score in the second half until Alexis Rogers converted a layup with 14:42 remaining in the game.
It was another 5:45 before the Falcons would score again when Stein made a pair of free throws with 8:57 left to push BG’s lead back to eight points, 41-33.
The Broncos kept coming and were within four, 43-39, with 6:40 left.
BG’s Miriam Justinger then scored six straight points in less than a minute to give the Falcons a 49-39 lead.
Stein’s short jumper, which hit the front of the rim and then rolled in, made it 54-47 for the Falcons with 2:44 left.
However, Bowling Green would not score again until Steffen’s free throw.
Roos said the team was getting good shots in the second half, but they weren’t falling.
The Falcons were 6-of-25 from the field in the second half, including 0-of-5 on 3-pointers. The Falcons had nine turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
The five baskets scored by Justinger and Stein in the final 10 minutes, all came in the paint.
‘‘Our goal was to have them score outside the lane, down the stretch, especially in that last 10 minutes,’’ WMU head coach Shane Clipfell said. ‘‘They kind of got us on that.
‘‘I thought we put up a heck of a fight,’’ Clipfell added. ‘‘We just needed a break. We needed the ball to bounce our way down the stretch and we didn’t get that.’’
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:18