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Published: Wednesday, 2/20/2013

Game between BGSU, Akron women pivotal for MAC tournament draw

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University women’s basketball coach Jennifer Roos smiled when she was asked if she had started trying to figure where her team would fit in the Mid-American Conference playoff picture.

“You know my former boss [Curt Miller] was doing ‘what-if’ scenarios right around Christmas,” she said. “I sat down and did a ‘what-if’ breakdown myself [on Sunday].

“I’ll talk to the team briefly about a couple of them, but we’ll try not to overload them with what’s going on.”

Here’s the short version Roos likely shared with her team: Today’s 7 p.m. contest against Akron at the Stroh Center is a pivotal one if the Falcons hope to secure one of the four byes available for the MAC Tournament.

BG enters that contest with a 7-4 league mark, which is fifth-best in the league. One of four teams above the Falcons is Akron, as the Zips are 8-3 in the MAC. With a win, Bowling Green can better position itself to claim a bye into the third round of the league tournament.

“We’ll now have a MAC tournament feel with the remaining games because there is something to play for,” Roos said. “There are still a handful of scenarios that could play out, but we need to take care of business and play well at home.”

One plus that Bowling Green has in the remaining weeks of the regular season is that three of the next four games are at the Stroh Center after the Falcons played their last three away from home.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on a bus,” Roos said. “It’s been an exhausting three-game road trip, and we had five of our last six on the road. We were able to grind out a win at Buffalo. Alexis Rogers broke her nose early in the second half of that game, and I was wondering how the team would respond. And they responded well, like I thought they would.

“We then went to Western Michigan and shot 27 percent for the game and missed 10 uncontested layups — you just can’t win many games when you shoot that poorly, no matter who you play. But we rebounded [and won] at Northern Illinois.”

Akron leads the MAC East thanks in large part to an offense that is producing 75.7 points per game, which ranks 11th among Division I school nationally. Three juniors power the offense as Rachel Tecca leads the league in scoring at 19.0 points per game, while Hanna Luburgh ranks third (15.7) and Sina King fifth (14.6).

“They’ve got a starting unit that is second to none in this conference,” Roos said of Akron. “They run a lot of sets, they run a lot of quick-hitters, and they look to push the ball as much as they can.”

The Zips also hold a tiebreaker over BG thanks to a 68-63 win against the Falcons on Jan. 31. If the Falcons win today, any potential tie probably will be broken in Bowling Green’s favor because of its win against Central Michigan.

“I’m happy with where we are, but I’m disappointed we have had a handful of close games that we couldn’t finish,” Roos said. “The ‘what-if’ scenarios would be a lot different [if we had won].”

LOSBY HONORED: Bowling Green State University baseball player T.J. Losby was named MAC East Division player of the week Tuesday.

Losby, a junior catcher from Bryan, hit .333 (4-for-12) with four RBIs and three runs scored as the Falcons won two of three games at Western Kentucky.

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



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