BOWLING GREEN Winning tonight would put Bowling Green State University women into an extraordinary category as one of the top five Mid-American Conference teams ever.
But more than history is at stake in the Falcons regular-season finale tonight at Miami, where they ll try to complete an undefeated conference season at 16-0.
BGSU wants to go strong into the MAC tournament because nothing with MAC teams and NCAA tournament bids, even when it involves Top 25 rankings and winning percentages in the 90s, is certain.
It s very important for us to end the regular season on a good note heading into the conference tournament, junior Ali Mann said.
The Falcons (24-2, 15-0) are ranked No. 25 in the USA Today/ESPN poll and were again one spot out of the Top 25 in the Associated Press rankings released yesterday. The NCAA s RPI lists BGSU at No. 48.
Four other teams have gone undefeated in the MAC. The BGSU teams of 1986-87 and 1988-89 finished 16-0, and Central Michigan in 1983-84 and Kent State in 1997-98 went 18-0.
I think some of the wins down the stretch were a relief to win, but they re genuinely ready to go for this game, and know what a statement it could make, BGSU coach Curt Miller said. No one could take it out of the record books if we go undefeated.
The flu bug has been traveling around the team for the past week, and while the Falcons showed few ill effects on Wednesday against Kent State, their three-point win over Ohio on Saturday was another story. Junior Carin Horne, the Falcons third-leading scorer, is day-to-day after not playing Saturday because of the illness. Horne often brings offense when the Falcons are in need of it.
Carin is a huge playmaker for us, Miller said. She s the one player on the team that can create offense for herself, and she likes to take big shots not only late in the shot clock but late in the game.
Miller has assured the Falcons they will have two days off after tonight before beginning to prepare for the MAC tournament.
We re going to try to gut it out and not worry about it, Miller said.
Mann said the team is, for the most part, recovered from the flu bug and players have picked up the pace in practice.
We have a renewed sense of energy at practice, Mann said. The past couple days have been a lot of fun, a lot of up-tempo stuff. During the middle of the season it s easy to fall into the norms of practice, but we see the end, and we want to play for that now.
Although BGSU has larger goals than finishing undefeated, including getting to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, a victory tonight would be special.
We want to be known as one of the best teams to play here at BG, Mann said. We want to be respected as one of the best.
Contact Maureen Fulton at: email@example.com or 419-724-6160.