Immediately after Bowling Green senior guard Elissa Brett made one of her six three-point goals, Central Michigan guard Mikala Hall was waving her hand in her face.
It was as if Hall was fanning off the heat from the Falcons’ shooting.
Hall was more than likely directing the Chippewas’ offense as she brought the ball down the court, but no one will blame her for acknowledging BGSU’s shooting during the Falcons’ 101-68 Mid-American Conference win at the Stroh Center Wednesday.
Five Falcons reached double figures and 11 BGSU players got into the scoring column as BGSU shot 54% (39-for-72) from the field, including 13-for-27 (48%) from beyond the arc.
Good shooting results from passing to teammates who have open looks, and the Falcons did that.
“I thought it was a great team win tonight,” BGSU coach Robyn Fralick said. “I mean 22 assists — we shared the ball well.”
Brett was 6-for-9 from downtown and scored 18 points with four rebounds. Brett hit just one triple in the first half, but she hit four in a row during one third quarter stretch as she alone outscored the Chippewas, 12-3, taking it from a 53-32 game to a 65-35 game in less than 90 seconds.
“It was cool. It got my confidence up,” Brett said. “I struggled with a couple fouls in the first half, so it was good to get my confidence back in the second half.”
Fralick added, ““We did a good job finding the open shooter. Elissa Brett in the second half was red-hot. I thought in transition everybody just did a good job of locating great shots.
“But credit to Elissa — she sat out most of the first half with two fouls and came in the second half and played really good basketball.”
BGSU 6-foot-1 senior forward Allison Day, even though defended by 6-5 junior center Rochelle Norris, was 8-for-13 from the field, mostly scoring in the paint, plus she had three assists.
Senior guard Morgan Sharps had 13 points and two steals, 6-2 junior forward Sophie Dziekan, also working against Norris, was 6-for-9 from the field in scoring 12 points with seven rebounds and she blocked two shots. Dziekan, like Day, relished the chance to score against Norris.
“My teammates were able to find me, and I was always like going against someone taller,” Dziekan said. “It’s almost like you’ve got something to prove that you can hold your own down there.
“I think ‘A-Day’ (Day) and I, and everyone else who went against her, did a good job just pushing her out and making sure that she couldn’t do what she does best,” Dziekan continued.
Junior guard Nyla Hampton was 4-for-5 from the field, scoring 10 points with three assists and four steals.
BGSU outscored Central Michigan 23-6 in points off turnovers, 46-28 in the paint, 19-7 in second chance points, 13-4 in fast break points, and the Falcons’ bench even outscored the Chippewas’ bench, 34-24. The Falcons had nine turnovers to the Chippewas’15, 11 coming off steals.
The Falcons outrebounded the Chippewas, 43-26, including 18 offensive rebounds by BGSU.
“I think we had a lot of really great offensive rebounds and putbacks,” Dziekan said. “I know (sophomore guard) Jocelyn (Tate) had a few and ‘A-Day’ had a few. It was a great effort all-around.”
Tate had nine points and four assists, sophomore guard Amy Velasco had nine points and three assists, and junior guard Lexi Fleming had four points, four rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
BGSU senior forward Payton Moore scored four points, junior forward Olivia Hill scored two points, and freshman guard Jasmine Fearne hit the three-point shot with 20 seconds remaining that sent the Falcons over the century mark.
“It’s really cool that we were able to do this, especially in MAC play,” Dziekan said. “I’m really proud of us for sure, but we’ve got the next game, for sure (at Akron Saturday).”
A foul-prone first quarter saw both teams get into the bonus quickly, but the Falcons opened a 26-20 lead. BGSU outscored Central Michigan, 27-9, in the second quarter to take command, leading 52-39 at intermission.
“I thought after the first quarter we needed to do a better job defensively and in driving the ball and finishing plays,” Fralick said. “The second quarter we did that. It was overall good team basketball.
“When we went on a run in the second quarter we were getting stops and we weren’t fouling,” Fralick continued.
“The first quarter they were shooting free throws — we had a lot of fouls early, so the second quarter we just did a good job getting stops, and from stops we were scoring, so we were putting together consecutive possessions.”
Once the offense began to click in the second quarter, it was like a well-oiled machine that got the fans into the game, too.
“We were just playing team ball, passing the ball around, getting inside-out touches, which is what we love doing.” Brett said.
The Falcons led 79-48 entering the fourth quarter, and with 4:21 remaining in the game the Falcons expanded the margin to a game-high 38 points.
Central Michigan was led by a hot-shooting freshman forward Sydney Harris, who was 6-for-10 from downtown in scoring 23 points with five rebounds and two assists.
CMU freshman guard Bridget Utberg had 13 points and two assists and sophomore guard Karrington Gordon had 10 points and four rebounds. Norris finished with six points, five points, three assists and she blocked two shots.
The Chippewas shot 42% (25-for-60) from the floor, made 8-of-19 (42%) shots from beyond the arc and were a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Fralick hopes the Falcons can bring the same energy with them at Akron Saturday.
“You know, the MAC is a good league,” Fralick said. “Home games, road games, preparation looks the same.
“We’re going to play a good Akron team, so we are going to enjoy this for a moment, and then quick turnaround tomorrow to get ready for the next one.”