In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in The Blade's sports section. Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg talked with Jackie Motycka Mossing, the all-time best women's basketball player at Bowling Green State University.
Jackie Motycka Mossing could not clear her schedule to be in Greensboro, N.C. yesterday, so she made sure she had a front row seat near a big-screen TV at a local eatery.
The current Bowling Green State University women's basketball team may be the best in school history, but Mossing is the program's all-time best player. So she had more than a passing interest in yesterday's BGSU-Arizona State game in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Mossing is one of only two players in Mid-American Conference history to earn first team all-league honors four times and twice was named the MAC Player of the Year. She remains BG's all-time leading scorer - and the only player to surpass 2,000 career points - having finished her career with 2,122 points and 797 rebounds.
Beginning with the 1985-86 season, she played on teams that went a combined 96-23 overall and 59-7 in conference play. Like the seniors on the current BG team, her class won both MAC regular season and tournament titles in each of its last three seasons.
As a sophomore, Mossing and senior Stephanie Coe led the Falcons to a 27-3 record with the three losses coming against Kentucky, Michigan State and Illinois, the last in the NCAA tournament. BG won 27 games again during her senior season and posted the team's first-ever NCAA tournament win. The Falcons went unbeaten in MAC play during both of those 27-win seasons and Mossing left BG with a 9-0 career record against rival Toledo.
Former Falcon coach Fran Voll welcomed Jackie Motycka, a 6-footer from Convoy Crestview, in the same recruiting class with Megan McGuire (a 1,000-point scorer) and point guard Paulette Backstrom, who recorded 559 career assists and was the 1989 Naismith Award winner as the nation's top player under
The following year's recruiting class included Angie Bonner, who would go on to score 1,412 points and grab 842 rebounds during her career, and Tecca Thompson, who finished just shy of the 1,000-point mark.
Including Coe, another 1,000-point scorer who was a junior when Mossing arrived, that group represented the most dominant string of players in MAC women's basketball to that point.
Today, Jackie is married to Matt Mossing, the brother of her former BG teammate, Chris Mossing, and has three kids - Chad, 15; Cory, 12, and Haili, 8. She is a third-grade teacher at Evergreen Elementary and serves as the assistant girls' varsity basketball coach at Evergreen High School.
"IT'S A GREAT time to be a BG alumna. So many people are proud of this current team and what they've accomplished. The players should be very proud of themselves. You haven't heard much about BG women's basketball for 15 or 20 years. Now people come up to me and say, 'Didn't you play?' This team's success has sort of reopened my era."
"I THINK THE two eras, the two teams, are pretty similar. You have kids who could have gone to a Big Ten program or a bigger Division I school, but because of circumstances and choices ended up at the same MAC school and accomplished something special. Height-wise, the teams are similar. Strength-wise, the current team has so much more physical strength. It's a different kind of ball now.
"This team is bigger and stronger, yet they rely on the
3-pointer more than we did. What we did best was run the court and drive to the basket. Most of my scoring was from 15 feet and in. I think maybe we were a little better scoring team. Everybody on the floor could shoot and was a threat. Even Paulette, whose job was to run the offense and set up everybody else, could step up and make big baskets."
"THE ONE AREA where I'm confident we were better was on the bench. We had so much depth, so much talent. Megan and I both scored a lot of points, but during the MAC season we only averaged maybe 18 minutes of playing time per game. When we were seniors, we'd play about half of each half and then we were done because we usually had pretty big leads and there were good younger players that Coach Voll wanted to get in the game. We had a great bench and other girls would come in and we wouldn't skip a beat. That may be the only real difference between the teams."
"I KNOW CURT [Miller, the current BG coach] a little, so to compare him to Coach Voll I would say they both have pretty strong personalities and great people skills. Obviously, they both know how to recruit. It's easy to find the top talent. It takes a special knack to go into small towns and small schools and recognize the potential a player has and how she'll fit into a system. They're two coaches who are always very much in the game."
"CONVOY IS ABOUT 30 miles from Delphos, where Coach Voll was a high school coaching legend. I started going to his summer camps in the sixth grade and played against his [Delphos St. John's] teams, so we had a rapport. I had opportunities to go to Purdue, Ohio, Miami and Notre Dame too, but my family trusted him and knew he would take care of me. So that's how I ended up at BG with Coach Voll."
"BGSU brought our team back for the 20th anniversary [of the first NCAA tournament team] this season and it was really emotional. You know, all those years pass and you really don't think much about it. But I walked into Anderson Arena and it was like being home again. I got to go back with my son too. He's a freshman on Evergreen's team that beat Archbold and Patrick Henry in the district and went to BG for the regional tournament. I told him he was playing on my court."
"I WAS REALLY fortunate to play with some great teammates and none of us was ever aware of records or statistics. We just played and wanted to win. But any records I have are because of the girls I played with. You can't score 2,000 points without people wanting you to be successful. We were all real close. We were a family.
"WHAT THIS YEAR'S team has done is outstanding. I wish we could have done what they did. Going to the Sweet 16 is amazing. It's a great thing for BG and for women's basketball in this area. I look back at my time and recognize that it's the people you play with who make it such a great experience. When this group is out of it for awhile, when they have kids and are working for a living, they'll look back and fully realize what an accomplishment this season was. They might not really understand it until they're out of it for awhile. Then they'll know how truly special it all was and what a tremendous opportunity and experience it was."