Falcons’ WNIT fab four showdown is history in the making


For the first time in school history, the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team has advanced to the semifinal round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

BGSU coach Robyn Fralick and the 31-6 Falcons, the Mid-American Conference’s automatic qualifier to the WNIT, will face Columbia University in the WNIT’s Fab 4 on Wednesday with tipoff set for 6 p.m. at the Stroh Center. The game is already a sellout, but can be viewed on ESPN3.

The Falcons’ 69-52 WNIT quarterfinal win over Florida on Monday was viewed in person by 3,788 people. That’s the third-largest attendance for a BGSU women’s basketball game in Stroh Center history, and the sixth-highest all-time crowd for a Falcon home game.

The 31 wins ties the school record as well as the Mid-American Conference mark for most wins ever. The only other MAC squad to win as 31 gams was the 2006-07 Falcon team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Championships.

A while back, the current team became the 12th in program history to win at least 25 contests, and the first since 2013-14.

BGSU reached 27 wins for the ninth time in program history. All 11 of the other MAC schools have combined for just 10 such seasons.

A total of five teams have won 30 or more games in the history of MAC women’s basketball. Bowling Green has done so on three occasions, with the other 11 league schools combining for a total of two.

And, only two teams in MAC history have won 31 games in a season. That feat has been accomplished by Bowling Green, and Bowling Green.

The Falcons and Columbia (will meet for the first time ever in women’s basketball. Columbia is 27-5 on the year, and the Lions went 12-2 in Ivy League play, tying for the league title.

CU posted WNIT wins over Fairleigh Dickinson, Fordham, Syracuse before downing league rival Harvard, 77-71, on Sunday. The Lions have won nine of the last 10 games.

Individually, Abbey Hsu has 17.7 ppg to pace three double-digit scorers, while Kaitlyn Davis and Jaida Patrick have 13.4 and 12.8 ppg, respectively.

Hsu has hit a team-leading 105 three-point field goals, just three shy of matching her own school and Ivy League record, while Davis paces the Lions with 8.2 rpg.

Columbia coach Megan Griffith’s team is 13-2 at home, 13-2 on the road and 1-1 in neutral-site games this season. In conference play, the Lions went 6-1 at home and 6-1 on the road.

Griffith was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year, with Davis and Hsu named to the all-league first team. Last year, the Lions went 25-7 overall and 12-2 in the Ivy.

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.

It’s safe to say that Fralick and her staff were successful. Over the last two-plus years, the Falcons are 69-30 overall and 38-18 in league regular-season action. BGSU has qualified for national postseason play in each of the last three seasons.

BGSU is appearing in the postseason WNIT for the eighth time in program history, and the second time in three years. The Falcons enter the Columbia game with an all-time record of 12-8 in the tourney.

The Falcons are 10-5 in home WNIT games through the years, including a 2-2 mark at venerable Anderson Arena and an 8-3 record at the Stroh Center.

BGSU advanced to the third round of the 2013 tournament and the fourth round of the 2014 WNIT, losing to the eventual champion each season (Drexel in ‘13; Rutgers in ‘14).

BGSU is 1-1 in road games following last week’s win at Green Bay, and the Falcons are 1-2 in neutral-site contests in WNIT play over the years.

The BGSU-Columbia winner will advance to the WNIT’s championship game, and will face either Kansas or Washington on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. One of the two participating teams will host the final.

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