BOWLING GREEN - Five-time defending Mid-American Conference women's basketball regular season champion Bowling Green State University is considered a near-lock to extend its impressive conference-run.
The Falcons' pursuit of a sixth straight regular season title commences tonight when they welcome the University of Akron to Anderson Arena.
Yet coach Curt Miller, in his ninth season at BG, is not anticipating an easy time against the Zips, even though Akron (6-7) enters with a losing record in non-conference action.
"They've really turned the corner and this year, again, they're a team that's very, very dangerous," Miller said.
Still, the optimism for another MAC-title run is high at BG.
The Falcons, who finished the 2008-09 campaign with a 30-6 overall record, return 10 letter winners.
Juniors Lauren Prochaska, the reigning MAC player of the year, and Tracy Pontius, a savvy point guard, head a group that owns a 10-4 non-conference record.
Prochaska, a 5-11 guard-forward, has continued where she left off from last season. She's averaged 17.9 points through 14 contests and also leads the team in rebounding (6.0). Pontius (5-6) also has remained a consistent contributor, averaging 12.1 points.
The Falcons starting lineup also includes Tamika Nurse, a 5-8 senior guard who is averaging 10.4 points per game after only practicing with the team a year ago after transferring from the University of Oregon
Tara Breske, a 6-1 senior, and Jen Uhl, a 6-1 junior, complete BG's starting lineup. Breske (7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Uhl (5.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg) are among a group of complimentary players expected to provide strong frontcourt play.
Maggie Hennegan, a six-foot junior, and Chelsea Albert, a 6-2 junior, also provide depth near the basket.
"We've contemplated the starting lineup and giving different people a chance," Miller said. "At the same time, we're still searching for the combinations. Our team really, truly understands it's really not important necessarily who starts, but who is on the floor at crunch time and the combinations that are working.
"We have lots of options and we're pleased with the depth and the options that we have, but we need some players to really step up and take on some roles and really step to the forefront."
The Falcons have won the last 12 contests against Akron. All-MAC first team forward Kara Murphy, a 5-8 junior, leads the Zips with 14.5 points per game.
"Everything that you do with Akron the game plan has to start around how to contain Kara Murphy," Miller said. "Kara Murphy is as talented a three player as there is in the league. She has physical presence for a guard."
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