BOWLING GREEN - Championship teams seem to know how and when to turn it on.
When it looked like Bowling Green State University and Kent State were headed for a low-scoring game yesterday, the Falcons exercised some of that magic and clinched at least a share of their sixth straight Mid-American Conference regular-season championship.
With the score tied at 12 and less than eight minutes remaining before half, BG delivered a game-changing 15-0 run that led to a decisive 69-55 victory before an enthusiastic crowd of 2,027.
It is the 11th regular-season crown in school history and the Falcons (23-6, 13-2 MAC) can win it outright with a victory Tuesday at Miami.
With yesterday's victory, BG also clinched its sixth consecutive outright MAC division championship (five in East, one in West).
"They stepped up to the challenge tonight and won against a very well-coached team and a very, very talented team, so I'm really proud of them," coach Curt Miller said. "The bull's-eye that is on the back of this team and the efforts that we get [from] our opponents each and every night - to step up to the plate and still find a way to win a division title is a great accomplishment for this team, and I'm really proud of them."
Tamika Nurse led three Falcons in double-figures, pouring in a career-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers.
Lauren Prochaska and Tracy Pontius pumped in 12 points each, while Prochaska also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to help the Falcons outrebound the Golden Flashes 40-28.
Nurse was key in disposing of Kent State (18-9, 11-4) in BG's final regular-season home game.
She scored seven straight points during the game-changing run, including back-to-back
3-pointers to make it 21-12 with less than six minutes left in the half.
Prochaska and Pontius each hit a 3-pointer during the spurt, while Kelly Zuercher swished a
12-footer to complete the run.
"Basketball is such a game of runs," Nurse said. "We executed the game plan finally and did what we needed to do and good things happen when you do that.
"When you get stops on defense and you convert them to points on offense you give yourself a really good chance to be successful."
The Falcons held a comfortable 33-19 halftime lead.
BG came out and controlled the second half. The Falcons stretched their lead to as many as 21 points and finished the regular season undefeated at home (13-0) for the second year in a row.
Jamilah Humes scored 17 points to lead Kent, which shot 36 percent (21 of 59) compared to 50 percent (23 of 46) for BG.
NOTE: BG seniors Tara Breske, Sarah Clapper, Laura Bugher, and Tamika Nurse were recognized before the game as part of Senior Day. Breske, Clapper, and Bugher make up a senior class that has won 109 games.
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