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Published: Thursday, 3/10/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

PHOTO GALLERY

Falcons' 3-pointers bomb Ohio out of MAC tourney

UT, BG struggle but advance to semifinals

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Bowling Green's Chrissy Steffen, left, who had 13 points, passes over Ohio's Tenisha Benson, center, and Erin Bailes. Bowling Green's Chrissy Steffen, left, who had 13 points, passes over Ohio's Tenisha Benson, center, and Erin Bailes.
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BOWLING GREEN -- Survive and advance.

The Bowling Green State University struggled against Ohio in its Mid-American Conference women's basketball tournament quarterfinal at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday, ending up with a 66-57 win.

The Falcons didn't shoot well for much of the game. They allowed the Bobcats to "hang around" for much of the contest. And BG needed a decisive 19-8 run midway through the second half to pull away.

But come tournament time, a win is a win, and Bowling Green advanced to a semifinal Friday against Central Michigan.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view images

"We had one nice, big run, and it saved us," Falcons coach Curt Miller said. "We held them to low 30-percent shooting, and we weren't letting them get many big runs.

"We thought if we had one run, we could break the game open."

Bowling Green got that run thanks to good second-half 3-point shooting as Chrissy Steffen and Tracy Pontius each hit a pair and the Falcons were 5 for 11 from behind the arc.

Pontius scored all but two of her 15 points in the second half, while Steffen had eight of her 13 in the period, and Lauren Prochaska finished with 10.

Shavon Robinson had 16 points to lead Ohio (9-22), while Tenishia Benson had 13 points, and 10 rebounds while Erin Bailes added 13 points thanks in part to a trio of 3-pointers.

The Falcons struggled on offense in the first half, making just 34.5 percent of their shots from the field while committing seven turnovers. The Bobcats had two runs in the period -- an 11-2 burst early in the period, and a 9-2 run midway through -- to lead 28-27 at the break.

"We didn't do a great job of attacking the high post," Miller said of his team's first-half offensive struggles. "We were a little stationary: we didn't get any dribble penetration, and we got limited penetration from the high post to the low post. Therefore we were taking a lot of 3's.

"We believe we're one of the best shooting teams in the country, but we can get a little trigger-happy with the 3's. When we started making shots, you could see some of the weight come off their shoulders, and that we were going to be OK."

Bowling Green made just 4 of 15 3-pointers in the first half (26.7 percent), and misfired on their first four of the second period before Steffen connected on a 3-pointer with 15:34 left to give the Falcons a 35-34 lead. After an Ohio basket, Steffen made another 3 at 14:09 and BG never trailed again.

"Even if you miss a couple shots, you have to keep shooting," Steffen said. "Once the first one falls in, you confidence starts to rise.

"For us, 3's fire us up. When we start hitting them, we get our confidence up."

Pontius and Jessica Slagle both hit 3-pointers soon after Steffen's outburst -- with Slagle's 3 giving the Falcons a 46-38 led with 12:11 to play. Danielle Havel, who assisted on Slagle's basket, hit a pair of shots from the foul line soon after, getting four points and two assists in nine second-half minutes.

"They were staying out with our shooters, so the inside was there," Havel said. "We had to take advantage of it.

"Coach always emphasizes looking to score, and being a threat. So when they stayed out on Chrissy, Tracy, and Lauren, I was open. I just had to take the shots."

Ohio cut the lead to seven points late, but Pontius scored six of the Falcons' final eight points to close out the victory that boosted BG into the tournament's semifinal round for the eighth straight season.

"We struggled at times in execution against their zone defense," Miller said.

"But I was proud of our veteran team because it regrouped at halftime, got better ball movement, kept fighting and found a way to advance."

BG's Calhoun, Thomas on All-MAC men's team

A'uston Calhoun and Scott Thomas both earned honorable mention on the All-Mid-American Conference men's basketball team.

Calhoun, a sophomore, has averages 12.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Thomas, a junior, averages 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds.

The All-MAC team was selected in a vote of the league's coaches.

The first team was Justin Greene of Kent State, Julian Mavunga of Miami, D.J. Cooper of Ohio, Xavier Silas of Northern Illinois and Jarrod Jones of Ball State.

The second team was Brandon Bowdry of Eastern Michigan, Nikola Cvetinovic of Akron, Rod Sherman of Kent State, Byron Mulkey of Buffalo and Demetrius Ward of Western Michigan.

The all-freshman team was Chris Bond of Ball State, Javon McCrea of Buffalo, Trey Zeigler of Central Michigan, Nick Kellogg of Ohio and Juwan Howard Jr. of Western Michigan.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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