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Published: 1/21/2007

Back in the groove: No. 18 BGSU strong in 31st straight MAC win

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Central Michigan's Latisha Luckett has no luck going up against Bowling Green's Carin Horne, left, Liz Honegger and Ali Mann. The Falcons improved to 16-2, 6-0 in the MAC. Central Michigan's Latisha Luckett has no luck going up against Bowling Green's Carin Horne, left, Liz Honegger and Ali Mann. The Falcons improved to 16-2, 6-0 in the MAC.
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BOWLING GREEN - Referring to it as a statement game is probably a tad excessive.

Though, apparently, not nearly as excessive as the recent doubt surrounding the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team.

Relax. The Falcons are just fine. Always were.

Returning home yesterday after two less-than-impressive road victories, No. 18-ranked BGSU pounded Central Michigan 70-50, leaving little material for further nitpicking.

It was the ninth straight victory for the Falcons and 31st in a row against Mid-American Conference opponents.

Following bland wins at Ohio (64-55) and Miami (64-56) last week, coach Curt Miller was

approached by questioners who wondered why the Falcons

(16-2, 6-0 MAC) weren't winning by wider margins.

But a 20-point win - it easily could have been more - has Miller and the Falcons feeling at ease.

"I just thought overall, it's one of the few times I leave a game and feel like we totally dominated every aspect of the game," Miller said.

BG's starters were especially good. They collectively shot 50 percent from the field and left the Falcons in great shape, up 39-20 at halftime. Ali Mann was tops with 16 points, and Carin Horne was next in line with 12 - needing just 14 minutes to do it.

Central Michigan (9-10, 1-5) was led by Candace Wilson's 15 points.

BG moved the ball well early on, getting an assist on seven of its first eight field goals. The Falcons had 19 assists altogether, one fewer than their combined total against Ohio and Miami.

Kate Achter, who had her own struggles during BG's lull, was terrific - eight points, seven assists, five boards, only two turnovers.

If yesterday marked the Falcons' return to dominance, Achter's moment to say, "I'm OK, too" came with six seconds remaining in the first half.

Isolated with Central's Angel Chan somewhere between midcourt and the top of the key, Achter crossed over the Chippewa guard, and raced relentlessly to the paint, finishing with an impressive layup and a round of cheers from the 1,657 fans at Anderson Arena.

"[Central] wasn't coming off and helping in the corners, so I just made a ball fake to the corner and happened to make a layup," Achter said.

Earlier in the half, in what had never been done before, Achter was paired on the floor with her back-up Jasmine McCall. During those few minutes, McCall brought the ball up the floor, while Achter set up on the wing. It was a formation Miller used to reduce Horne's minutes as she's been bothered by a leg injury, and one that he's contemplated since McCall arrived a year ago.

"I've been reluctant to try it, but I think you can see there's some true advantages to

having both of them on the floor," Miller said.

Achter has no complaints.

"I like it because I don't have as much responsibility," she said. "I can just take off and get up the floor, and it's good for Jazz - she gets a lot of experience at the point."

Both Achter and McCall took turns running the offense during the second half. The Falcons grabbed 17 offensive rebounds in the half - they had 21 for the game - but it mattered little as they shot just 38 percent in that span and made only three field goals in the final nine minutes.

Every BG player saw playing time and all but one scored..

A bench-clearing route, to be sure. Sound familiar?

"Even for myself, it was draining the last two games, and the expectations," Miller said. "I think we all felt the pressure for the first time ever, that we can't lose what we have going on."

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com



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