CLEVELAND — The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team heads to Cleveland for the 2023 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
BGSU coach Robyn Fralick and the Falcons, the tournament’s number-two seed, will face seventh-seeded Eastern Michigan University on Wednesday, with tipoff set for approximately 4 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Falcons have won the turnover battle more often than not – much more often than not – this season. BGSU has committed fewer turnovers than the opponents in 28 of this season’s 30 games.
In fact, BGSU had a turnover margin of plus-9 or better in each of the last 10 regular-season games. The Falcons forced the opposition into 20 or more turnovers in 12 of the 18 MAC contests.
Over the last 10 games, BGSU has turned the ball over 125 times (12.5 per game), while the opponents have had 238 turnovers (23.8 per game).
Entering the EMU game, the Falcons are ranked second in the entire nation in turnover margin (+9.37), and BGSU is sixth in the country in turnovers forced per game (21.90) and eighth in assist/turnover ratio (1.36).
BGSU has forced the opposition into at least 15 turnovers in all 30 games, and the Falcons have had a single-digit turnover total nine times this season to date.
And, BG has turned those opponent turnovers into buckets. Through 30 games, the Falcons have outscored the foes, 703-302, in points off turnovers – an average of 23.4 points for, and just 10.1 points against, per game.
BGSU guard Nyla Hampton had 86 steals last season, the fourth-highest total in BGSU history at the time (spoiler alert: it’s now the fifth highest total). She ranked second in the MAC and 17th in the nation in that category in 2021-22. With 2.69 steals per game, Hampton was third in the league and 23rd in the country.
This season, Hampton has a team-high 91 steals, the second-highest total in school history. She now has two of the top-five single-season totals in program annals. Hampton had at least three steals in a game 17 times last year, and has had three or more steals 15 times this season to date.
With one more steal this year, Hampton would tie the BGSU single-season record of 92, currently owned by Talita Scott (1993-94).
Hampton currently ranks eighth in the nation in total steals and 12th in the country in steals per game (3.03). She leads the MAC in both categories.
Hampton is on pace to shatter the school records for total steals and steals per game in a career. She has 233 steals in 86 career games played. In just her third year with the Falcons, she has moved into third place on the BGSU career steals list. Hampton needs eight steals to tie Lori Albers (241 steals from 1989-94) for second place, and 11 to match Lindsay Austin’s (244 from 2000-04) school record.
Hampton’s average of 2.71 career steals per game puts her on pace to obliterate that school record – no other Falcon has had more than 2.19 career spg.
Hampton is on pace to break the BGSU season and career steals records, but when bringing the ball upcourt, Falcon foes would be wise to keep an eye out for Jocelyn Tate as well. Hampton, as mentioned, has 91 steals this season to lead the MAC. Tate is third in the conference in both steals (64) and steals per game (2.21).
In MAC games, Hampton had 50 steals, while Tate – who missed one conference game due to injury – had 43. The dynamic duo ranked 1-2 in the MAC in both total steals and steals per game in MAC games.
Kadie Hempfling’s name can be found on multiple lists in the BGSU record book, and the fifth-year Falcon is poised to move to the top of one of those lists. Hempfling has played in a total of 149 games in a BGSU uniform. The next time she takes the floor, she will move past her former teammate, Madisen Parker, for the most games played in program history.
And, Hempfling’s name can be found on many other BGSU lists. Entering the EMU contest, Hempfling sits in 16th place on the BGSU career scoring list, with 1,263 points as a Falcon. Additionally, she ranks fifth in school history in career games started, sixth in assists, eighth in rebounds and 13th in three-pointers made.
Eastern Michigan is 15-14 on the season, and the Eagles finished MAC play with a record of 7-11. Eastern finished in a tie for seventh place in the MAC standings, and earned the number-seven seed for the league tourney.
EMU went 2-2 over the final four regular-season games, including a 62-57 win over Buffalo (Feb. 23). Then, after an eight-point loss to Kent State and a 10-point setback at Northern Illinois, the Eagles picked up a 74-64 win at Ohio Saturday (March 4).
Individually, Ce’Nara Skanes leads the team in scoring and rebounding, with 13.1 ppg and 7.9 rpg. Lachelle Austin has 12.7 ppg, while Irekpitan Ozzy-Momodu has 8.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg. A total of five players average at least 8.7 ppg.
Eastern coach Fred Castro’s team is 9-7 at home, 5-6 on the road and 1-1 in neutral-site games this season. In MAC play, Eastern went 4-5 in Ypsilanti and 3-6 away from home. Castro welcomed back eight players from a 2021-22 team that went 7-20 overall and 4-16 in the MAC.
The Falcons lead Eastern Michigan, 55-20, in the all-time series, and BGSU has captured the last four meetings. This season’s lone regular-season matchup saw the Falcons pick up a 79-63 win at the Stroh Center (Jan. 7, 2023).
The teams met just once last year as well, with the Falcons downing the Eagles, 71-60, in Ypsilanti (Jan. 24, 2022). Prior to BGSU’s current four-game win streak, the Eagles had won five in a row in the series.
The Falcons are 30-6 at home (5-2 at the Stroh), 21-13 on the road and 4-1 at neutral sites vs. EMU through the years.
The BGSU-EMU winner will advance to Friday’s MAC Tournament semifinal round, and will face either Ball State or Akron at approximately 12:30 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The semifinal-round survivors will meet in Saturday’s championship game, which will begin at 11 a.m. The semifinal-round games will be streamed on ESPN+, while the final will air on CBS Sports Network.
BGSU enters Wednesday’s EMU game with an all-time record of 46-27 in MAC Tournament contests. The Falcons have won 11 league tournament titles, the most of any conference institution, and BG has the second-highest winning percentage (.630) of any team in league tourney games. BGSU’s conference tournament win total also places the Falcons second among MAC teams.
The Falcons and Eastern Michigan are meeting for the ninth time in MAC Tournament play, and the sixth time in downtown Cleveland. BGSU is 6-2 in tourney meetings with EMU, including a 2-0 record at home, an 0-1 mark in road games and a 4-1 record at neutral sites.
All five prior neutral-site meetings, like Wednesday’s matchup, have taken place at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
BGSU is 3-0 against EMU in the quarterfinal round of the league tourney. The teams met in back-to-back seasons at venerable Anderson Arena in the quarterfinals, and most recently, the Falcons picked up a 63-47 victory over the Eagles in the 2021 tourney quarterfinal round at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Falcons enter the EMU game with an all-time record of 16-7 in the MAC Tournament’s quarterfinal round, and BGSU is 14-8 in the semifinals and 11-3 in championship-game appearances over the years.
The Falcons also have marks of 4-8 in the first round, 1-0 in second-round games and 0-1 in the third round.
BGSU is a perfect 10-0 in MAC Tournament home games, including a 1-0 mark at the Stroh Center. The Falcons are 2-11 in true road games and 34-16 in neutral-site contests in the league tourney over the years.
BGSU has had great success at the arena known as Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse over the years, and the Falcons enjoyed an incredible run at the building during a decade-long span from 2004-13.
BGSU made a run to the championship game in 2021. The Falcons now have a 23-9 record in MAC Tournament games at Gund/Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage, and BG is 23-10 overall in league tournament contests played in Cleveland over the years (the tourney was held at Public Hall in 2000).
The Falcons lost their first-ever game at then-Gund Arena, in the 2001 MAC Tournament. BGSU then went 20-3 at ‘the Gund’/’the Q’ from 2004-11. The Falcons posted two buzzer-beating wins in Cleveland to get to the 2004 title game before succumbing.
Then, Curt Miller’s Falcons won 10-straight games in the building, capturing three consecutive titles from 2005-07 before being upset in double overtime by Ohio in the 2008 semifinals.
BG won two games to advance to the 2009 title match before falling by four points to Ball State, and the Falcons then captured six consecutive games in the venue en route to the 2010 and ‘11 championships.
Then, however, the Falcons won just one of the next four games in the building, before downing Eastern Michigan and Buffalo two years ago. That 2021 win over EMU was the Falcons’ first MAC Tournament victory – at any site – since the third round of the 2013 tourney (a 55-53 win over WMU).
The Falcons went 19-42 overall and 5-31 in MAC play in head coach Robyn Fralick’s first two seasons at the helm, as she and her staff were recruiting the bulk of the current team and implementing their culture and style of play.
Over the last two-plus years, the Falcons are 63-29 overall and 38-18 in league regular-season action.