Toledo s Danielle Bishop (20 points) defends against BG s Stefanie Wenzel (19). Each was her team s high scorer.
BOWLING GREEN - While last night might have been Senior Night for the Bowling Green women s basketball team, it was the Falcons precocious freshman class that made a statement in the 71-62 victory over Toledo at Anderson Arena.
BGSU s freshman front line of Ali Mann, Megan Thorburn and Liz Honegger nearly had a double-double each and combined for 40 points and 28 rebounds. The trio had 22 of Bowling Green s 32 second-half points as the Falcons snapped a two-game home losing streak heading into the MAC Tournament.
The BG victory improved its record to 18-9 overall and 11-5 in the league, good for the fourth seed in the MAC Tournament. The Falcons will host 13th seed Central Michigan Saturday at 1 p.m. in the first round.
Toledo plunged to 12-15 and 8-8 with its fourth straight road loss. The defeat, coupled with wins by Marshall and Northern Illinois, dropped the Rockets into the seventh spot in the tournament. They will host Ohio at Savage Hall Saturday, starting at 7 p.m.
Falcons freshman Ali Mann wins this rebound battle.
Toledo coach Mark Ehlen said part of the reason for last night s loss was the play of BG s freshman front line.
“They outmuscled us, I don t think there s any question about that,” Ehlen said. “Those three almost outrebounded us [by themselves]. They re just stronger than we are.”
But the Rockets also were hindered by their struggles to score points. UT shot just 39.7 percent from the floor and made just 4 of 17 shots from behind the 3-point arc while turning the ball over 12 times.
“We got our shots here and there, but we could have done a lot better,” said UT freshman Danielle Bishop, who led all scorers with 20 points. “There was a stretch where we couldn t get anything and we couldn t get a defensive stop. When you can t get a shot made and can t stop anybody, they re going to pull out into a lead.”
That stretch came just three minutes into the second half after Toledo had scored six unanswered points to cut BG s lead to 41-36. The Falcons scored eight straight points to push the lead back to double digits, and after that the Rockets came no closer than the final margin.
“That was the turning point,” Ehlen said of that second-half run by BG. “We re just having trouble scoring points.”
Meanwhile, the Falcons had little trouble scoring points, thanks to the freshmen and senior Stefanie Wenzel. Wenzel scored 14 of her team-best 19 points in the game s first 13 minutes as BG led by as many as 12 in the first half.
Thorburn and Mann finished with 17 and 14 points, respectively, while each added eight boards after getting the message to rebound better against the Rockets. In the first meeting of the two schools UT outrebounded the Falcons 40-33, a far cry from BG s 45-37 advantage on the boards last night.
“We were annihilated on the boards by Toledo in the first game,” said Bowling Green coach Curt Miller. “[The freshmen] were tremendous. Those guys really got on the boards, and those three were terrific.”