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BOWLING GREEN - Ali Mann sank a pair of free throws with 23.3 seconds to play as the Bowling Green women s basketball team escaped with a 64-63 win over Buffalo at Anderson Arena yesterday.
The free throws capped a desperate rally by the Falcons, who saw a 15-point second-half lead vanish and needed a game-ending five-point run to win for the fifth time in the last six contests.
But was Mann fouled? The answer seemed to depend on who was asked.
“I was posting up and calling for Lindsay [Austin] to give me the ball,” Mann said. When asked if it was a good call, she said, “Whatever the ref sees.”
Buffalo coach Cheryl Dozier didn t like the call but admitted the play occurred at the end of the floor opposite her bench. “I think you have to let [the players] play at that point,” she said.
Good or bad, the call didn t guarantee Mann would make the game-winning free throws. But the freshman, who missed all five of her shots from the floor in the game, calmly sank the game-winning shots.
“I had a poor shooting night from the field, but I wanted to be at the free-throw line in that situation,” Mann said. “And I was glad they went in.”
Buffalo had a final chance, but a 3-point shot by the Bulls was off the mark, and a loose ball off the rebound ended up in the hands of BG s Liz Honegger.
As a result Bowling Green improved to 12-6 overall and 5-2 in the MAC, while Buffalo fell to 4-13 overall and 2-5 in the league.
“To our kids credit, we ve lost some games like that,” BG coach Curt Miller said. “But players make plays and we found enough players to make plays down the stretch to win the game.”
It didn t have to be so nerve-racking for the Falcons. Senior Stefanie Wenzel scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the first 10 minutes as BG broke out to a 22-10 lead. She hit three of four shots from behind the 3-point arc as the Falcons led by as many as 15 in the first half.
Bowling Green still held a 50-37 advantage before Buffalo got things rolling with 12:47 left. A seven-point run cut the lead to single digits, and the Bulls held BG without a field goal over the game s final 10 minutes to build a 63-59 lead with 2:04 to play.
Kelly Kapferer added 11 points for BG, while Buffalo had four players finish in double figures, led by Kim Kilpela s 14.