(updated 11:15 p.m.) Falcon women down High Point, 72-62 in WNIT opener (3-20-14)

BG’s Jillian Halfhill
(11) moves the ball on High Point’s Lexi Patterson (left). (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)

It was Bowling Green’s worst first half of the season.
That’s how head coach Jennifer Roos felt despite the Falcons holding a 33-32 lead over High Point at the
break Thursday. PHOTO

Sparked by Miriam Justinger, things were different in the second half as Bowling Green posted a 72-62
victory in a first-round WNIT game at the Stroh Center.
The Falcons, now 28-4, play the winner of Friday’s St. Bonaventure-Charlotte game on a day, time, and
place to be determined.
‘‘We were rattled, discombobulated, or other words or verbs that could describe the beginning of the
game,’’ Roos said. ‘‘Turnovers without pressure are difficult to swallow at this time of the year.
‘‘We won’t start like that again.’’
High Point bolted out to a 14-4 lead in the first eight minutes of the game, as the Falcons missed 12 of
their first 13 shots from the field.
The Panthers still led by eight, 31-23, with 1:23 left in the first half, but the Falcons closed the half
on a 10-1 run. Justinger hit a 3-pointer to start the run and Erica Donovan scored six points in the
final 50 seconds of the half.
‘‘I didn’t think we were playing well enough to have a lead,’’ Roos said. ‘‘It was a little bit of Fool’s
Gold after the first 20 minutes.’’
‘‘Coach came in at halftime obviously not very happy with the way we were playing,’’ Justinger said.
‘‘She said it was not about X’s and O’s anymore, it’s about playing with heart, playing for the
university, playing for yourselves, playing for each other.’’
The second half was a different story as the Falcons improved in almost every area, although they still
did not shoot the ball well.
The game was tied at 51 with 9:30 left after a three-point play from High Point freshman standout Kaylah
Justinger’s layup 30 seconds later put the Falcons ahead for good.
Bowling Green was up 10, 63-53, with 4:06 remaining after a three-point play from Jasmine Matthews.
High Point was back to within four, 65-61, with 2:02 left, but four free throws from Jillian Halfhill in
the final minute helped seal the win.
‘‘It was a battle. No game is going to be one you can walk right into and not expect to have to show
up,’’ Justinger said.
Justinger scored 15 of her career-high 22 points in the second half. Justinger missed two games late in
the regular season, but looked to be back in form Thursday.
‘‘It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, but my teammates have stepped up,’’ Justinger said.
‘‘I’m proud of the way our kids responded and finished the game,’’ Roos said.
Justinger had a game-high four steals and added four assists and three rebounds.
Justinger also played good defense on Keys, who came into the game averaging 17.8 points per game, Keys
finished with 13 points and four assists, but was 5-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-5 on
3-pointers, with four turnovers.
‘‘She had a lot of energy tonight, and was able to play with that energy at both ends of the court,’’
Roos said about Justinger.
Also in the second half, the Panthers had 12 turnovers, which the Falcons turned into 15 points.
‘‘The momentum of getting a stop, or a turnover, and then scoring on two-on-one, or on a (fast) break was
key to our spurts in the second half,’’ Roos said. ‘‘We were able to get our hands into some passing
lanes and really disrupt their flow.’’
BG’s Alexis Rogers contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, Donovan finished with 11 points and six
rebounds, Matthews scored 10 points, and Jill Stein had 12 rebounds.
The Falcons also got a good effort from freshman point-guard Rachel Konieczki who played 13 minutes as
Halfhill battled foul trouble. Konieczki scored four points and had an assist with only one turnover.

‘‘Rachel came in and executed our offensive game plan, especially in the second half,’’ Roos said. (She)
really got the crowd going.’’
NOTES: High Point, the regular-season champion in the Big South, finishes 22-11 … Stacia Robertson led
High Point with 15 points and 13 rebounds … There were nine ties and seven lead changes in the game
… BG scored 27 points off High Point’s 20 turnovers … The Falcons had 13 turnovers, but only four in
the second half …. BG scored 42 points in the paint … With Rogers going 4-of-4, the Falcons were
19-of-27 from the three-throw line … Rogers is now 19th on BG’s career scroing list with 1,216 points
… The game drew 1,125 fans.

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