BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team didn’t revisit the 31-point loss they suffered at Dayton last season while preparing for Sunday’s rematch at the Stroh Center.
But the Falcons sure didn’t forget it, either.
BG exacted some revenge Sunday, using a dominating second-half effort to post a 65-40 win over the 15th-ranked Flyers.
“Last year’s game definitely left a little sting,” said Chrissy Steffen, who had 16 points and seven rebounds. “We did not want a repeat of last year.
“We wanted to make a statement that we are a different team this year.”
Alexis Rogers certainly wanted to forget last year’s contest, her first with BG after transferring from Duke.
“I can remember everything about that game,” she said. “It was so close to my home town, but I was so nervous.
“Just in case you don’t know the box score, I had [four] fouls in 12 minutes and scored two points. … My fire was definitely fueled by last year.”
Rogers posted her second double-double of the season Sunday, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Falcons (9-3). Jillian Halfhill added 15 points and nine rebounds as BG won its sixth straight game.
Dayton, which came into the contest averaging 82.6 points per game, suffered its first loss this season after 12 wins. The Flyers, whose 40 points were 20 shy of their previous single-game low this season, were led by Samatha MacKay and Kelley Austria with eight points each.
Bowling Green coach Jennifer Roos said she didn’t use last year’s 69-38 loss to Dayton as motivation.
“I refused to watch it — until [Saturday] night, when I watched it before I went to bed,” Roos said. “It was awful. Dayton was just fantastic. But last year was last year and this year was this year.”
This year the Falcons focused on controlling the game’s tempo, limiting the number of Dayton possessions, and forcing the Flyers to run their offense to get shots.
“I thought we did a good job of controlling tempo,” Roos said. “I told people I felt like an NFL referee signaling touchdown because I didn’t want Jillian to bring the ball up the floor [too quickly]."
Steffen said she and her teammates also focused on limiting Dayton’s transition offense, allowing the Flyers to score just five fast-break points.
“After halftime we had two people getting back [on defense] every time [we shot],” Steffen said. “[Roos] said, ‘If you aren’t close to an offensive rebound, get back [on defense],’ because that is their bread and butter.”
Both offenses struggled to make shots in the first half, which saw seven ties as neither team led by more than four points.
Early in the second half Steffen made a 3-pointer behind a double ball screen at the top of the key, then scored on a layup — that basket marked the 1,000 point of her career — to give the Falcons a 36-30 lead with 15:49 to play.
While the Flyers made a 3-pointer about a minute later, Steffen’s run seemed to energize the Falcons. After Dayton’s 3, BG scored 12 unanswered points and held the Flyers scoreless for 11 consecutive possessions to lead 48-33 with 8:23 left.
“After that basket [by Steffen, Dayton] changed their defensive strategy,” Roos said. “We recognized that, then were able to steal two play calls back-to-back that helped that spurt.”
In the second half the Flyers made just 4-of-25 shots (16.0 percent), including just 1-of-15 3’s (6.7 percent). And the Falcons forced 21 turnovers, with Rogers collecting six steals.
“I thought we did a good job of getting in passing lanes,” Roos said. “I thought Alexis Rogers did a great job getting steals and creating deflections.”
Thanks to good second-half shooting by the Falcons, who made 45.5 percent of their field goals and 5-of-8 3’s (62.5 percent), it added up to BG’s biggest win in its two seasons at the Stroh Center — but a very muted celebration by the team.
When asked if she was surprised of her team’s reaction after beating a ranked opponent for the first time since a win over Vanderbilt on Dec. 1, 2010, at Anderson Arena, Roos said, “This team surprises me every day. I wanted them to be excited, but you have to act like you’ve been there before.
“They are 18- to 22-year-olds. I think they celebrated in the locker room more because we gave them [today] off.”
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.