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Published: Friday, 12/29/2006

Delaware 1 of 3 teams to beat BGSU last season

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - There's a lot about Delaware that reminds Curt Miller of his own team. Like Bowling Green State University, the Blue Hens are a veteran, passionate group with a roster full of scorers.

One thing that doesn't match up with the Falcons, but Miller believes it should, is a national ranking. BGSU is holding steady in both Top 25 polls with an 8-2 record. Delaware, at 10-1, received a few votes in each poll but has not entered the rankings.

"I've voted them in the Top 25 for three straight weeks," Miller said. "They're one of the best mid-major teams in the country. They nationally fly under the radar. They're certainly deserving of a top 25 ranking and would be if more people knew about them nationally."

Tonight at Anderson Arena, the teams will play a rematch of a holiday tournament game last season. Delaware handed BGSU its first of three losses, a 48-44 victory for the Hens at the Hawk Classic in Philadelphia.

Not long after the game, the teams signed a contract for a home-and-home series. BGSU will travel to Newark, Del., next season for a game.

"At the tournament we were talking about scheduling, and Curt said, 'It's really tough to get people to come to BG,'•" Delaware coach Tina Martin said. "It's the same with us. So we worked it out."

After defeating the Falcons last season, the Hens finished the year 22-8, third in the Colonial Athletic Association and played in the WNIT.

"We enjoyed playing each other last year and have such respect for each other, because we're both trying to accomplish the same thing," Miller said.

A BGSU win would further boost its NCAA tournament resume. Although Delaware has not cracked the national polls, its RPI is estimated at 18 on CollegeRPI.com. BGSU's current RPI is 32.

"It's going to be a big RPI win for either team," Miller said.

Delaware's leading scorer is 5-foot-10 senior Tyresa Smith, who is averaging 18.4 points a game.

"She's as athletic of a player as we'll see against us this year," Miller said. "She would start for any of the teams that we've played."

"We've got good leadership, our seniors are really helping us," Martin said. "Tyresa is a very talented player. Our point guard Alena Koshansky gives leadership and Chrissy Fisher is another big scoring threat."

The Hens are well known for their matchup-zone defense, which has forced 22 turnovers a game and allowed just 56 points per contest.

"They play the best 2-3 zone around. They're very well known for that zone," Miller said. "We have to find ways to score."

The game begins a stretch of four in eight days for the Falcons, including Robert Morris at home Sunday and the start of Mid-American Conference play Wednesday at Akron.

"It's hard because it's such short notice after the break, and such a big game," Miller said. "[But] I'm pleased we have these two games this week to give us tough competition. This is what our non-conference schedule was supposed to do, prepare us for a deep MAC."

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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