Fleming returns home to lead Falcons over Xavier


CINCINNATI – Cincinnati native Lexi Fleming exploded for 13 points in the third quarter alone as the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team picked up a 73-64 win over Xavier University Saturday afternoon at the Cintas Center.

Fleming paced the Falcons (2-1) with 21 points in the win, and she also had seven rebounds, five assists and five steals on the day.

Paige Kohler and Amy Velasco scored 15 points apiece, with Kohler dishing out a game-high six assists. Olivia Hill had a career-high 12 points for the Falcons.

For the Musketeers (0-4), Mackayla Scarlett scored a game-high 25 points, while Nila Blackford added 10.

Xavier led for most of the first half, but Kohler’s three-point field goal in the last minute of the second quarter gave the Falcons a 36-33 lead at the half.

It was still a three-point game late in the third quarter when Fleming knocked down back-to-back three-point tries just 41 seconds apart. She capped her own personal 8-0 run with a steal and layup with 1:29 left in the period to put BG up by 11.

Scarlett and the hosts chipped away at that lead, and a Scarlett three-pointer on the first possession of the fourth quarter made it a four-point game. But, the Falcons then held the Musketeers without a point for the next 7:36, building the lead back into double figures in the process.

The Falcons shot 52% percent from the field in the win, including a 75% rate (9-for-12) in the third quarter.

Sophie Dziekan came off the bench to score four points on 2-of-2 shooting, adding three rebounds, two assists and a game- and career-high three blocked shots.

Both Hill (30:52) and Dziekan (22:07) posted the highest minutes-played totals of their respective BGSU careers.

The Falcons got off to a slow start, as Xavier scored the game’s first six points. Hill hit a layup off of an Amy Velasco inbounds pass, but after Scarlett knocked down a three-point field-goal try, the Musketeers had a 9-2 lead midway through the opening quarter.

The Falcons turned defense into offense to cut the deficit to three points. Dziekan came up with a steal near midcourt, and with the Falcons on a 2-on-1 break, Dziekan fed Paige Kohler for a layup.

Then, Fleming stole the ball near the half-court line and sailed in for a layup. When Kohler found a cutting Velasco for a pull-up jumper, the Falcons were within a single point, at 9-8.

Moments later, Hill took a Fleming pass and knocked down her first career three-pointer (and it would not be her last of the day). Xavier came right back with a pair of buckets, but Fleming fed Erika Porter for a layup, and Hill sank a pair of free-throw tries in the final minutes of the period, tying the game at 15-15 after 10 minutes.

Hill had seven points in the first quarter alone, tying her career scoring high.

The Musketeers forged back ahead in the second quarter on a Nila Blackford layup and a Scarlett triple. But, Fleming took a Kohler pass and hit a corner three, and the Cincinnati Kid then grabbed a defensive rebound and spotted Velasco for a triple in transition, giving the Falcons a 21-20 lead.

BGSU nearly came up with a steal, but Xavier recovered the ball and – with the Falcons scrambling – hit a three-ball to retake the lead.

Moments later, a Fleming steal led to a Velasco three, and after XU’s Daniela Lopez scored inside, Porter kicked the ball out to Fleming for a long-range make that tied the game at 27-all.

The hosts went back on top once again, but a Keiryn McGuff jumper and a Jasmine Clerkley bucket tied the score. It was tied once again after Velasco hit a runner, and when Fleming kicked the ball out to Kohler for a three-pointer in the final minute of the period, the Falcons had a 36-33 lead after 20 minutes.

The teams combined to go 16-of-28 from the field in the second quarter, with BG shooting 53.3% (8-of-15) and XU 61.5% (8-for-13).

After halftime, Dziekan worked her defender down for a layup on the opening possession of the second half, but four quick Xavier points cut the Falcons’ lead to 38-37. Fleming hit a driving layup, but Blackford put back her own miss.

The teams continued to trade buckets, as Dziekan found Kohler for a three, and Velasco drove inside for a layup. But, Scarlett answered each time, and after Kohler’s pass led to a Dziekan hoop, Aby Shubert’s three-pointer knotted the contest at 47-47.

Fleming was fouled heading into the third-quarter media timeout, and knocked down three free-throw tries coming out of the break. Then, Kohler found Hill for a three-pointer, the second of Hill’s career (and of the game), that gave BG a 53-47 lead.

XU hit a trey, but Fleming answered with a long-distance bucket of her own. Then, the fourth-year Falcon grabbed a defensive rebound, brought the ball over midcourt, crossed over to the left side of the court, and knocked down another triple try from in front of the BG bench. The Falcons’ lead was nine, 59-50, as the hosts used a timeout.

Then, Fleming came up with a steal and hit a layup to cap her own personal eight-point run. Hill’s free throw made it a 12-point game before the Musketeers scored the last five points of the period.

Fleming scored 13 points in the third quarter along, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field (including 2-for-2 from the arc) and hitting three free throws as well.

Scarlett’s three-pointer on the opening possession of the fourth quarter cut the Falcons’ lead to four, but the BG defense then held the hosts without a point for over seven and a half minutes.

BGSU got a long three-pointer from Kohler two minutes into the final quarter, and 90 seconds later, Kohler found Velasco for a corner three and a 69-58 lead.

Neither team scored for over four minutes, before Blackford finally broke the drought by hitting a reverse layup with just under two minutes left.

But, Kohler answered with an ‘and-one’ layup, sinking the free throw for a 72-60 lead, and the lead never fell under nine points thereafter.

The Falcons return to the road for a pair of games over the Thanksgiving holiday, heading to Savannah, Ga., for the Savannah Hoops Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday. BG will take on Mercer Wednesday and Lehigh Thursday at Enmarket Arena.

Then, BGSU returns home to face Duquesne on Monday, Nov. 27, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. at the Stroh Center.

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