Falcons down Chippewas, 80-72

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team built an early lead, then kept Central Michigan University at arm’s length en route to an 80-72 win on Wednesday afternoon in a Mid-American Conference game at McGuirk Arena.

Allison Day had a game-high 20 points to pace four double-digit scorers for the Falcons (24-3, 13-2 MAC). Jocelyn Tate had 14 points, Elissa Brett 13 and Lexi Fleming 10 for the Falcons.

Tate had a game-high five steals, while Fleming added four. The Falcons withstood a hot-shooting CMU effort from the arc by forcing turnovers, and capitalizing off of those miscues.

“I was proud of our team’s toughness on the road today,” BGSU coach Robyn Fralick said. “I thought Central played well – they shot the ball really well – and we were able to withstand those runs and stretches. As a team, we did a great job in the areas of effort and hustle plays.”

The Chippewas (6-20, 4-11 MAC) made 11-of-18 shots from the arc, with Bridget Utberg going a perfect 4-for-4. Utberg led CMU with 19 points, while Sydney Harris added 14 and Karrington Gordon 13.

The Falcons forced 24 CMU turnovers, while committing just eight themselves. BGSU had a 28-8 advantage in points off turnovers.

BGSU took a 12-point lead after one quarter, and the Falcons led by as many as 21 early in the fourth period before Central cut into the deficit by hitting five three-pointers in the final quarter.

Nyla Hampton and Amy Velasco had seven points apiece, with Hampton adding a game-best six assists.

The Falcons have broken the school record for road wins in a season. Following Wednesday’s victory, BGSU is now 13-2 in true road games.

That breaks the mark of 12 road victories set by the 1986-87 team (12-2) and matched by the 2005-06 (12-1) and 2007-08 (12-4) clubs.

The Chippewas shot 47.3% from the field to BGSU’s 40% rate, and CMU went 11-for-18 (61.1%) from three-point range. The Falcons hit 6-of-19 long-distance tries.

But, BGSU attempted 16 more shots than the Chippewas due to a plus-16 turnover differential. The Falcons had just eight turnovers while forcing Central into 24, and BG had a 28-8 lead in points off turnovers.

The Falcons also had advantages in points in the paint (42-26), second-chance points (14-11) and fast-break points (15-0).

The Falcons return home for the next two contests. BGSU will battle Buffalo on Saturday afternoon at the Stroh Center. That game begins at 1 p.m., with Senior Day festivities taking place prior to tipoff.

Then, the Falcons will begin the month of March by hosting Ball State next Wednesday (March 1). That game will begin at 5 p.m. at the Stroh, and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.