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Published: Tuesday, 2/27/2007

Tough loss drops Falcons just 1 spot to No. 19 in poll

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Miller Miller
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BOWLING GREEN - For weeks, some around the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team were concerned the Falcons wouldn't get much respect for all their wins come NCAA Tournament time.

It turned out a loss showed BGSU just how much respect it has earned.

BGSU had relatively little movement in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and various RPI rankings after losing 70-67 to Ohio at home on Saturday.

"I was pleasantly surprised that in most of the RPI Web sites that I checked, we didn't drop very much," BGSU coach Curt Miller said. "Again, I think that speaks to the body of work that we've completed."

The Falcons (25-3, 14-1 Mid-American Conference) dropped one spot to No. 19 in the AP poll, and several RPI sites had them at 22nd, down just one or two places. The lack of change in the Falcons' national stature allowed Miller to feel a bit of relief that the weight of the winning streaks at home and in the MAC was gone.

"I'm still disappointed we had some chances down the stretch and didn't pull it off, but ironically, [I] feel almost a sense of some pressure off," Miller said. "What the loss all of a sudden made us realize is we don't have to be perfect. We can still

accomplish our goals and aspirations this season."

The players were off Sunday and didn't meet again until yesterday afternoon to begin preparations for tomorrow's game against Miami (12-16, 6-9) in the regular-season finale.

"It's been weighing on my mind the last couple days ever since we lost, wanting to get back on the court," senior Liz Honegger said before practice yesterday. "It'll be good to get everybody back together in this setting."

Honegger said the respect is nice, but the Falcons now believe they must win the MAC tournament to make the NCAAs. As for the streaks, they won't lament the loss of them.

"We never really talked about the pressure that got built up because of the streaks," Honegger said. "That's just something we never talked about.

"It's not even so much that we cared about all the streaks coming to an end, it's just that we lost that game. We were upset we lost the game."

BGSU men's basketball coach Dan Dakich said yesterday sophomore Erik Marschall will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

In the first half Saturday against Akron, Nate Miller and Akron's Jeremiah Wood both fell, and one landed on Marschall's left knee. Dakich said Marschall's kneecap popped out, and he sprained his medial collateral ligament.

Marschall averaged nine points and four rebounds in 20 games for the Falcons. He missed a month with a broken foot earlier in the year.

"It doesn't help [the team's chances]," Dakich said. "I think Erik's been on the road to becoming a great player."

Freshmen Otis Polk and Marc Larson will play more in Marschall's absence.

"Marc Larson was very good the other night, particularly on defense," Dakich said.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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