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Published: Monday, 1/23/2012

Rogers sparks Falcons to 9th straight victory

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Bowling Green's Alexis Rogers glides through the Eastern Michigan defense. The sophomore scored a career-high 30 points. Bowling Green's Alexis Rogers glides through the Eastern Michigan defense. The sophomore scored a career-high 30 points.
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BOWLING GREEN -- Bowling Green State University women's basketball coach Curt Miller didn't wait around to celebrate his 250th victory as the Falcons' coach.

Miller spoke to EMS workers at the Stroh Center following his team's 70-54 win over Eastern Michigan Sunday.

"He got a little light-headed," associate head coach Jennifer Roos said. "It's nothing to be concerned with, but it's something that is being looked at."

Miller went home immediately after consulting with EMS staff and did not speak with reporters.

But Miller was there for all 40 minutes of the game and got to watch sophomore Alexis Rogers score a career-high 30 points and lead BG to its ninth straight victory. Chrissy Steffen added 11 as the Falcons (16-3 overall, 6-0 Mid-American Conference) improved to 250-88 in Miller's 11 seasons.

"It's exciting [to reach 250 wins]," said Roos, who along with assistant Brandi Poole has been on Miller's staff for all 11 seasons at BG. "He has put his heart and soul into this program. He coaches as hard as he recruits.

"The fact that he got a technical on his 250th win is memorable, for sure.

"But we don't take credit for what our kids do in the classroom -- they do the homework, take the tests, and do the projects -- and we don't take a lot of credit for our kids performing. They make the buckets, draw the fouls, and execute the game plan."

Bowling Green got out of the blocks quickly, scoring the first five points of the game. EMU scored the next five points to tie the contest, only to see the Falcons respond with eight straight points -- five by Rogers, three by Jessica Slagle -- to take the lead for good.

By the 11:11 mark of the first half BG had expanded its advantage to double digits (24-12), and the Falcons led by as many as 18 points before settling for a 41-25 lead at halftime.

"I think we were back on our heels from the start of the game," Eastern Michigan coach AnnMarie Gilbert said. "I felt that it just went [downhill] from there."

Rogers made 7-of-10 shots in the first half and had 16 points.

Olivia Fouty, a Northview graduate, battles for position with Alexis Rogers. Fouty finished with four points and two rebounds for Eastern Michigan Sunday afternoon. Olivia Fouty, a Northview graduate, battles for position with Alexis Rogers. Fouty finished with four points and two rebounds for Eastern Michigan Sunday afternoon.
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"I was really impressed with Rogers," Gilbert said. "We knew she could play, but we didn't expect she would have that kind of field day against us.

"She really did what she wanted to do. I thought she out-toughed our kids."

Bowling Green expanded its lead to 56-34 with 12:06 to play, but managed just two points over the next six minutes as Eastern Michigan cut its deficit to 11.

"I think we were playing to the scoreboard," Rogers said of that dry spell. "I think we saw how large our lead was, and we let down on defense a little bit.

"It was like they would come down [to their basket] and score, and we would come down [to our basket] and turn the ball over. It was a lack of focus on our end."

But the Falcons regained their focus and scored the next seven points to put the game away.

Eastern Michigan (12-7, 4-2) was led by Tavelyn James, who scored 29 points but was 7-for-21 from the field thanks in large part to a strong defensive effort by BG freshman Jasmine Matthews.

"She had to work for everything she got," Roos said of James. "She took a lot of contested jumpers.

"Jasmine did a fantastic job on her. … We wanted to take away her 3-pointers and her easy transition baskets, and we did that."

NOTES: The crowd of 2,539 was the largest crowd for a women's game at the Stroh Center. … EMU's Olivia Fouty, a Northview High School product, finished with four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. … BG had 21 turnovers, its second-highest total of the season, but allowed EMU just 12 points off turnovers. The Eagles turned the ball over 20 times, and Bowling Green cashed those miscues into 26 points.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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