Falcons steal 65-53 win from Broncos

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Shots weren’t falling for the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, so the Falcons turned defense into offense, picking up a 65-53 win at Western Michigan University.

Elissa Brett scored a career-high 27 points for the Falcons (23-3, 12-2 Mid-American Conference), including 18 in the second half. Brett had 11 in the fourth quarter alone.

The win, combined with a Ball State loss at Northern Illinois later Saturday afternoon, moved the Falcons back into a tie for first place in the MAC. BGSU, BSU and Toledo are deadlocked atop the conference with four regular-season games remaining.

Amy Velasco scored 16 points in the Falcons’ win. Velasco was 7-of-9 from the field, and led all players with a plus/minus rating of plus-24 while she was on the court.

The Broncos (10-15, 5-9 MAC) led by as many as 14 points midway through the third quarter before the Falcons’ comeback began.

A Brett three-pointer began the comeback, and late in the quarter, the Falcons forced five Bronco turnovers in just 73 seconds.

BGSU cut the Bronco lead to just two points after three periods, and a Brett jmper tied the score in the first minute of the final quarter. The hosts took a 51-49 lead on a Taylor Williams layup with 7:26 to go, but the Broncos would not score again until the game’s waning seconds.

Velasco’s floater tied the game once again, and also began a 16-0 BGSU run over the next seven-plus minutes. Brett hit a shot, then found Velasco for a three-pointer and a 56-51 lead midway through the quarter, and the Falcons were on their way.

Velasco scored 10 points and Brett six during that 16-0 run. The Falcons, after shooting just 27 percent in the first three quarters, went 9-for-13 (69.2%) in the fourth.

BGSU forced WMU into 29 turnovers, including 19 in the second half alone. BG had 20 steals in the win, with Nyla Hampton and Jocelyn Tate coming up with seven apiece.

Williams led the Broncos with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, with Hannah Spitzley adding 14.