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BOWLING GREEN - A major distraction for the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team, currently on the second-longest winning streak in the country, became more clearly defined Monday when coach Curt Miller announced that junior forward Niki McCoy has been suspended for three games.
McCoy, who was arrested here in the early morning hours last Wednesday, was cited for driving under the influence, driving under suspension, failure to use turn signals and for having an open container in a motor vehicle. Miller put McCoy on indefinite suspension later that day.
Miller said McCoy, who had started all 21 of the Falcons' games this season prior to her suspension, has returned to practice with the team and will be seated on the Bowling Green bench Thursday night when BG hosts Mid-American Conference rival Toledo at Anderson Arena. The Falcons (20-2, 9-0 MAC) put their 20-game winning streak on the line that night.
McCoy, who sat out Saturday's overtime win at Western Michigan, will not play in the game with the Rockets or in Sunday's home game against Central Michigan, Miller said. The Northview grad and former Blade player of the year is expected to return to the Bowling Green lineup for the Feb. 21 game at Akron. McCoy had been averaging 13.6 points per game - tied for second most on the team - and 5.6 rebounds per game.
McCoy started her college career at Akron and then transferred to BG, where she sat out the 2007-08 season per NCAA rules. She has played more than 28 minutes per game for the Falcons this season, third-most on the team.
"It's just like an injury or an illness," Miller said when addressing how the team will deal with McCoy's absence. "When you lose a person that plays extended minutes, it's hard to soak up those minutes with just one person. We'll do it a little bit more by committee."
Sophomore Jen Uhl started in McCoy's place against Western Michigan and responded with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Miller said his team, which has provided its eighth-year coach with a sixth straight 20-win season, has handled the situation well.
"Like families, you deal with adversity and poor decisions within that close-knit group," Miller said. "They have been very supportive of Niki, but at the same time we understand that she has made a very poor decision and had to be held accountable for that decision."
- Matt Markey