Hot shooting Bulls rout Falcons, 84-66

By J. Patrick Eaken, [email protected]

A hot shooting Buffalo team shot 70% (30-for-43) from the field, spoiling the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team’s Senior Day celebration, 84-66, at the Stroh Center Saturday.

“It was a really tough (game) for us,” BGSU coach Robyn Fralick said. “That was not what we were hoping for, especially on Senior Night.

“Credit Buffalo — I thought they played really well. They shot the ball really well, but for us that was not a version of our team that can continue. We really need to sharpen up before moving forward.”

While the Bulls missed just 13 shots, the Falcons missed 40, shooting 39% (26-for-66) from the floor. It was that kind of day for the Falcons.

Even worse, the Bulls shot a blazing 63% (10-for-16) from the arc while the Falcons were a dismal 23% (7-for-31). Shots just weren’t finding their mark for BGSU.

It was so bad, that with less than a minute to play in the third quarter, the Bulls were up by 28, 65-37, their biggest lead of the game.

“We started down 8-0 before we blinked,” said Fralick. “Basketball is a balanced game. It’s usually when you’re playing better defensively, you are playing better offensively and when you’re playing better offensively you are playing better defensively.

“Tonight, on both sides of the ball I thought we were poor. For us to play better, both sides need to be better,” Fralick continued.

BGSU senior Allison Day wants to watch this game again to figure out what went wrong.

“We’re going to have to go back and watch some film a little bit, but we said in the locker room, our defensive intensity must get better,” Day said. “We’re not going to win games giving up 84 points.”

BGSU, which weeks ago clinched a spot in the Mid-American Conference tournament and still has a shot at the No. 1 seed, falls to 24-4 overall and 13-3 in the MAC while Buffalo improves to 10-15 and 5-11.

The Bulls were led by graduate student guard Re’Shawna Stone, who was 9-for-14 from the field and 3-for-6 from downtown, scoring 23 points.

Despite standing 5-foot-6, Stone had six rebounds as the Bulls controlled the boards by a 37-21 count. She also had two assists and two steals.

Even more amazing was 5-7 fifth-year senior guard Zakiyah Winfield, also outsized, but she grabbed 14 rebounds to go along with her eight points and four assists.

“She’s a really good rebounder,” Fralick said. “Something we’ve done well all season is offensive rebounds. For as many missed shots as we had, we didn’t get a lot of those back.”

Even the Bulls’ taller players were hitting shots from the perimeter — 6-0 sophomore guard Emerita Mashaire was 6-for-7 from the field, including 2-for-3 from the arc, scoring 16 points with seven rebounds.

The Bulls had two other players in double figures — 6-2 freshman forward Hattie Ogden was 5-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-5 from downtown, scoring 13 points with six rebounds and she blocked two shots.

Fifth-year senior guard Jazmine Young joined the shooting frenzy, hitting 3-of-4 from the floor and connecting on her only two shots from the arc en route to scoring 12 points.

Day was the Falcons’ exception, making 10-of-15 from the field in scoring 20 points with two steals. She was the only Falcon in double figures.

BGSU junior guard Nyla Hampton had eight points, three assists and three steals, junior guard Lexi Fleming had eight points and three assists, and freshman guard Jasmine Fearne had eight points and two assists.

Sophomore guard Amy Velasco had seven points and two assists, senior guard Elissa Brett had six points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, and senior forward Kadie Hempfling had five points, two assists and two steals.

Junior forward Olivia Hill came off the bench to score three points and junior forward Sophie Dziekan hit one of two free throw attempts.

The Bulls even fared better at the free throw line. Falcons were 7-for-11 (63%) from the stripe while the Bulls were 14-for-20 (70%).

There were categories where the Falcons performed well — forcing 25 turnovers while committing just 12.

The Falcons outscored the Bulls, 11-2, in second chance points, 23-15 in points off turnovers, but the Bulls had a 16-7 advantage in fast breaks, often beating BGSU down the floor after a defensive rebound.

Day and Fralick say the work will begin immediately to prepare the Falcons for Wednesday’s nationally televised contest against Ball State (22-6, 13-3) Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Stroh Center. Plus, the Falcons will close the season at league-leading Toledo (23-4, 14-2).

“We have to figure it out over this weekend because we’ve got big games coming up,” Day said.

Day said the focus doesn’t change, but the Falcons will have to be much more focused to defeat the Cardinals and Rockets.

“It’s the same thing it has always been,” Day said. “It’s going to be about us. We can’t worry about the other team. We should prepare for every game about us, and we’ll tackle it when the game comes.

“We should prepare for Buffalo like we’re preparing for Ball State like we’re preparing for Toledo. We’ve just got to get better in practice,” Day continued.

Fralick says there is a sense of urgency, especially after what she saw Saturday.

“I think we have to figure that out pretty quick,” Fralick said. “A big part of our success is competing, and I didn’t like our competitive spirit tonight. That’s an important part of who we are.”