BOWLING GREEN - With her dual knee pads, Lindsey Goldsberry looks like she could have stepped right out of one of the faded team pictures from a bygone era that hangs in the lobby of most arenas.
To relish your role as a great defender makes you a bit of a throwback player at a time when points seem ultra-emphasized.
To put on the bulky knee pads of the set shot and jump ball age of basketball, and then wear them as a badge of honor makes Goldsberry a coach's luxury, especially when you consider the example that role sets on a team where she is the lone senior.
"Lindsey is the ultimate team player, and she does all the dirty work for us," Bowling Green State University coach Curt Miller said yesterday after Goldsberry and the Falcons crushed Akron 80-51 to remain unbeaten in the Mid-American Conference.
"She sets a great example for the team, first and foremost, and she teaches the younger kids that there are roles for everyone and that they all play a part in your success. We wouldn't be as good without Lindsey."
Bowling Green (15-2, 4-0) won its 15th straight game, and Goldsberry got the 100th win of her career with the Falcons. She made a gritty steal with just under three minutes left against Akron, then Miller took her off the floor to a robust ovation as orange "100" signs popped up throughout the crowd.
"I actually didn't have a clue it was number 100, until I saw them holding up the signs at the end of the game," Goldsberry said.
"I just try and do what the team needs. I like to play defense - not many people do - and that's why I wear the knee pads."
Akron (6-11, 1-3) stayed close for the first eight minutes of the game and then was quickly dominated by Bowling Green's diverse offensive arsenal and sticky defense.
The Falcons went up by eight when Northview graduate Niki McCoy buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with about 11 minutes left in the first half. McCoy, who played two years at Akron before transferring to BG, said she wanted to keep her emotions in check while facing her former coach and teammates for the first time.
"I had to think of it as just another game, but in the back of my mind I wanted to prove that I made the best decision by coming here," McCoy said.
About three minutes after McCoy's triple, Lauren Prochaska rebounded at the defensive end and sent the outlet pass to Tracy Pontius who mailed a cross-court feed to a wide open Goldsberry for a 3-pointer that stretched the BG lead to 25-14.
That was all of Goldsberry's points for the day, but just a tiny fraction of her contribution.
"She had three points but she might have been the key to the game," Miller said, referring to Goldsberry's defensive work on Akron's Kara Murphy, who averages almost 19 points per game and had shot 112 free throws this season. Murphy went 4-of-11 from the field yesterday for just eight points and did not get to the foul line.
The Falcons led 44-18 at the half, quickly stretched the advantage to 30 points early in the second half, and just completely overwhelmed the Zips.
Bowling Green shot 19-of-21 from the foul line and is 52-of-57 over the past two games.
Prochaska led the Falcon scoring with 18 points, while McCoy had 13 and Pontius 12.
On the day when his sole senior won for the 100th time in a Bowling Green uniform, Miller sought to put an exclamation point at the end of Goldsberry's line of three points, one rebound, three assists and two steals.
"It will be years before people realize how much she has meant to this program," Miller said. "She does everything you ask her to do."
- Matt Markey