BOWLING GREEN — In recent games the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team has overcome its own shooting struggles by forcing opponents to shoot poorly, too.
But when the opposition makes better than 50 percent of its shots from the field, as Temple did Wednesday at the Stroh Center, the result is usually something akin to the Owls’ 70-56 victory over the Falcons.
“Any time a shoots that well, you’re going to have to shoot just as well to keep up,” BG senior Danielle Havel said. “We were able to guard their sets, but when it broke down, we had to guard one-on-one.
“And when that happened, they were making shots. I thought they were taking tough shots, but they were making them.”
Alexis Rogers and Chrissy Steffen each had 13 points to lead the Falcons, who fell to 3-3.
Sally Kabengano led three players in double figures with 17 points for Temple (4-2). Rateska Brown added 15 points and Victoria Macaulay 12 for the Owls, who shot 53.7 percent from the field, including a sizzling 61.5 percent in the second half.
“Any time you play a team that is scoring really well, no matter whether we were in a zone or in man, you have to avoid scoring droughts yourself,” BG coach Jennifer Roos said.
And that was something the Falcons couldn’t avoid. After making eight of its first 12 shots to lead 16-13 at the 11-minute, 55-second mark of the first half, Bowling Green made just 2 of 15 (13.3 percent) the rest of the half and missed all eight of its first-half 3-point attempts, allowing Temple to take a 29-23.
“When we started the game, we were trading baskets,” Havel said. “But you can’t keep up with a team when you’re shooting poorly.
“We were off from the [3-point arc], but coach wants us to let them fly. I thought we needed to get to the [free-throw] line and create more from the inside. If we do that, the outside will open up more.”
Steffen came out hot to start the second half, scoring nine of BG’s first 11 points as the Falcons cut Temple’s lead to 35-34 with 16:52 to play.
But from that point Bowling Green went through a 3-for-17 drought during the next 11 minutes and the Owls pulled away, leading by as many as 17 before a late run by the Falcons closed the final margin slightly.
“They hedged us really well [on high-ball screens], and our guards were tentative to turn the corner,” Roos said. “Then we tried to slip some of the ball screens, and they were able to recover against our slips.
“I felt we were able to get some screening shots, but we were unable to knock them down.”
While the Falcons were struggling to make shots in the second half, Temple had no such problem, making nine of its first 13 attempts.
“They run a few quick hits, and I thought we were able to defend their quick hits well,” Roos said. “When those end or break down, they go to their players strengths. … We tried to sag off some of their shooters to give help to Macaulay.
“Their kids made some tough shots and stepped up for them in the second half.”
NOTE: Senior guard Simone Eli, a Genoa High School grad, will have surgery today on her left knee. Eli is expected to miss the next 10 weeks to repair a torn meniscus.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade