A sluggish second quarter put Bowling Green’s women’s basketball team behind and the Falcons were never able to bounce back Saturday afternoon against Northern Illinois.

The result was a 78-71 victory for NIU, BG’s first Mid-American Conference loss of the season. BG is now 8-2, 4-1 in the MAC while the Huskies are 4-5, 2-2.

“We have done such a good job defensively this year, it just looked like we had a lot of lapses,” BG head coach Robyn Fralick said about the loss.

The Falcons had problems on 3-point shooting and rebounding. BG was only 4-of-29 on threes and was out-rebounded 46-33. NIU was 11-of-29 on 3-pointers.

“Give Northern Illinois credit, I thought they shot the ball very well,” Fralick said. “We didn’t shoot it very well. We had foul trouble the whole game which impacted us in our rotation.

“We will learn a lot of lessons,” she added. “We have to rebound better. We have to defend better.”

The game was tied at 16 after the first eight minutes. BG held a 22-21 lead with 8:44 left in the second quarter before NIU exploded for 19 points to take a 41-31 lead into halftime.

Paulina Castro nailed a 3-pointer with 7:53 remaining in the first half and the Huskies never trailed again. The Falcons did pull to within 33-29 with 2:12 in the half on a basket by Lexis Fleming. The Huskies then closed out the half with an 8-2 run.

NIU pushed ahead by 13 points in the third quarter, but the Falcons rallied and were within 50-44 on five points from Fleming and a fast-break basket by Nyla Hampton with 6:07 left in the quarter.

The game remained close with NIU taking a 58-50 lead into the final 10 minutes.

The Falcons were able to cut the NIU lead to five points three times in the late going, but the Huskies were 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the last minute to seal the victory.

“We didn’t get enough stops,” Fralick said. “You cut it to five or six, you have to be able to get another stop and another stop.

“I thought a lot of us struggled tonight. It was a collective struggle,” she added. “We had a lot of kids that didn’t get into rhythm.”

Chelby Koker led NIU with 18 points and teammate Mikayla Brandon had a game-high 14 rebounds.

Fleming scored 26 points and added eight rebounds for the Falcons while Kadie Hempfling scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

“We have to learn from this game. We have to make adjustments. This game was … a running game,” Fleming said. “We don’t think we played our team basketball.”

NOTES: Fleming scored over 20 points for the fifth time in as many home games this season … Elissa Brett and Olivia Hill are on BG’s injured list and did not play … On the collegeinsider.com mid-major top 25, the Falcons were ranked No. 18 … Next up for the Falcons: Wednesday at Buffalo at 5 p.m. and at Toledo on Jan. 16 at 2 p.m.

NIU 78, BGSU 71

NIU 12 29 17 20 — 78

BGSU 12 19 19 21 — 71

NIU

Hodges, 7-0—14; Koker, 3-2-6—18; Blackwell, 0-1-1—4; Brandon, 2-0—4; Castro, 0-5-0—15; Marable, 1-0—2; Poisson, 1-4—6; Hunter, 0-0—0; Meinert, 3-3-0—15. TOTALS: 17-11-11—78.

BGSU

Parker 0-1-0—3; Hampton, 1-5—7; Lewis, 1-0—2; Fleming, 8-2-4—26; Hempfling, 5-1-3—16; Trice, 2-0—4; Perry, 3-1—7; Glowniak, 3-0—6; Clerkley, 0-0—0. TOTALS: 23-4-13—71.

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