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(Updated 12:10 a.m. Friday) Falcon women hold on for WNIT win (3-21-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor   
Thursday, 21 March 2013 21:07
BG's Jill Stein (middle) makes a break between Southern Methodist's Nia Jackson (24) and Akil Simpson (5). (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The turnover bug was still there Thursday night for the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team.
Unlike BG’s 34 turnovers in a 81-48 loss to Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference tournament the previous Thursday, the Falcons were able to overcome 26 turnovers on the way to a 76-70 win over SMU in the first-round of the WNIT. It was BG’s first postseason national tournament win since a 72-69 WNIT win over Syracuse in 2009.
The Falcons, now 23-10, face Duquesne in the second-round of the WNIT. The game is Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Stroh Center. Duquesne advanced with a 71-66 win over Akron. PHOTO GALLERY
“We had a lot of pressure in practice so that we could prepare for their (SMU’s) pressure,’’ said BG’s Alexis Rogers. ‘‘We still had a handful of turnovers, but unlike the Central game we kept fighting, we came back, we never gave up and we adjusted to what their defense did.
‘‘We prepared for it and we executed what we needed to do.’’
Point-guard Jillian Halfhill said the practices helped the Falcons prepare for SMU.
‘‘We weren’t as scared with the ball; we weren’t playing hot potato, if you will,’’ Halfhill said. ‘‘Against Central none of us wanted the ball.
‘‘We practiced being strong with it, throwing it to an open person and executing.’’
Jennifer Roos, BG’s head coach, said her team had to believe they could survive the pressure applied by SMU.
‘‘It was a confidence issue, first and foremost in my eyes, that they could handle pressure and that they could take care of it,’’ Roos said. ‘‘We had to talk and get everybody believing in themselves that they could handle pressure.’’
Halfhill scored 17 of her game-high 23 points in the second half to help the Falcons hold off the Mustangs.
‘‘The way they played defense, they face-guarded the wings, so it opened up a lot of driving lanes for myself and for a post off of a switch,’’ Halfhill said. She was 7-of-10 from the field,
In the first half, BG made a 19-0 run to take a 29-16 lead with 3:13 left to play. Seven different Falcons scored in the run which started with a Katrina Salinas 3-pointer and ended with a Jill Stein triple.
Bowling Green was up 33-20 at the break.
SMU started strong in the second half and eventually tied the game at 57 on a layup by Destynee Hives-McCray with 5:31 remaining.
‘‘None of us were worried. We just knew we had to execute on offense,’’ Halfhill said. ‘‘We had a little lull there where we were not executing and we were not playing well defensively.
‘‘We just got in a huddle and it was ‘OK let’s go, we have this’ and we got back in the lead.’’
The tie lasted just 14 seconds as Chrissy Steffen’s hoop put the Falcons ahead to stay. Miriam Justinger set up Steffen’s basket by grabbing an offensive rebound and then making a nice pass to Steffen.
Stein followed Steffen’s basket with a steal and then scored off an offensive rebound.
After a free throw from SMU. Rogers scored on back-to-back three-point plays, just 21 seconds apart, to give BG a 67-58 lead.
SMU’s Mallory Singleton and Halfhill traded baskets, and then the Falcons were 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 42.8 seconds to seal the win. Halfhill was 4-of-4 from the line in the late going and 9-of-10 for the game.
Rogers said hitting the offensive boards, executing on offense and knowing the clock was in their favor helped the Falcons in the late going.
‘‘The game was the epitome of runs. We were fortunate to make the last one,’’ Roos said.
Justinger was unsteady on her feet and had to be helped into the locker room with 3:08 left in the game after she took a hard hit on an screen.
‘‘It was a good call. I don’t think it was a flagrant one or a flagrant two (foul) by any means,’’ Roos said.
Justinger did come back to the bench and could have played, but Roos said she was confident with the lineup that was on the floor and didn’t want to change anything.
NOTES: In addition to Halfhill’s 23 points, Rogers added 16 points while Justinger and Stein each scored 10 points ... Halfhill’s 23 points matched her career high ... Alisha Filmore led SMU, 21-10, with 22 points ... BG held a 42-28 rebounding edge with Stein and Danielle Havel each having seven while Halfhill and Steffen each had six ... SMU was 8-of-14 on 3-pointers in the second half ... SMU was called for 20 personal fouls and a technical and BG was whistled for only six fouls ... Tickets for the BG-Duquesne game can be purchased at the BGSU Athletics Ticket Office in the Stroh Center during business hours on Friday, or on Saturday prior to tipoff.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 March 2013 08:59

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