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BOWLING GREEN — The offense of the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team has been struggling recently.
The Falcons received a shot in arm from an unlikely source — the bench — in a 67-47 win over Butler at the Stroh Center Wednesday.
BG’s reserves combined for 34 points while the starters had just 33. Two local products — Sylvania’s Miriam Justinger and Allison Papenfuss of Anthony Wayne — came off the bench to score 12 and 10 points, respectively, as the Falcons improved to 5-3 overall.
Danielle Havel posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Jasmine Matthews added 10 for Bowling Green.
“That just shows how much we’ve grown,” said junior forward Jill Stein, who finished with nine points. “If that would have been the first or second game of the season, we probably would have shriveled, and that may be a reason why our scoring averages have been down.
“Now we have underclassmen and our bench scoring significantly.”
Taylor Schippers had 12 points and Hannah Douglas 11 to lead Butler (3-5).
Neither team lead by more than six points in the first half. BG was trailed 21-16 with 5:48 to play before a 13-4 finish gave it a four-point halftime lead.
“I was just trying to bring energy,” said Stein, who scored five points in that late run and had seven in the first half. “In the past few games we’ve come out strong in the first few minutes, but [in this game] we came out a little flatter.
“So when I got in [the game] I wanted to boost that up and get other people going.”
In the second half BG made six of its first seven shots from the floor and outscored the Bulldogs 18-6 in the first seven minutes, eventually leading by as many as 22 points late.
After shooting 41.7 percent in the first half, Butler made 7-of-27 in the second period (25.9 percent) as Bowling Green outscored the Bulldogs 38-22.
“I was really proud of our defensive effort in the second half,” said BG head coach Jennifer Roos. "As [former men’s coach] Dan Dakich used to say, we sang a little, ‘Kumbaya’ at halftime. We really wanted to pressure them, and I thought we could have done a better job in the first half. I thought we did a better job of that in the second half, and we were able to jump into some passing lanes and make them make catches outside of scoring areas as well.”
Much of BG’s scoring came from inside. Even with All-Mid-American Conference first team pick Alexis Rogers struggling with her shot — she missed all eight of her attempts and ended scoreless — the Falcons’ other posts combined to make 13-of-20 shots from the field.
“I became [San Francisco 49ers coach] Jim Harbaugh — I was going with the hot hand,” Roos joked. “Instead of going with [Colin] Kaepernick I went with Jill Stein, and she stepped up and produced.”
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.