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BOWLING GREEN — The start of the Mid-American Conference tournament meant Bowling Green State University women’s basketball had a new lease on life.
It also meant the Falcons had a chance to make amends for an ugly victory Wednesday at Kent State.
“We played awful against them — in that last game we were absolutely terrible,” BG senior Allison Papenfuss said. “We wanted to come out and show them what Bowling Green is about.”
Mission accomplished, as the Falcons steamrolled the Golden Flashes 76-35 in front of 1,403 fans at the Stroh Center on Saturday. The 41-point margin of victory tied the fourth-largest margin in MAC tournament history.
PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU women beat Kent State
Papenfuss finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead three players in double figures for Bowling Green (21-9). Alexis Rogers had 13 points and Jillian Halfhill 10 as no BG player saw more than 27 minutes of action.
Tamzin Barroilhet scored 12 points to lead Kent State (3-27).
BG coach Jennifer Roos said she knew her team would play well even before the game started. How?
“They started the shoot-around without me,” she said. “They started early. Usually I’m the one who has to walk in and get them going.
“They saw the sticker that said, ‘MAC tournament’ on the floor and knew it was a new game. … I was tickled pink they started without me.”
Bowling Green started thinking about a possible rematch with Kent State on the bus home from playing the Golden Flashes on Wednesday, a game the Falcons won — but by only eight points.
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So BG was highly motivated to play well. And the Falcons did, needing less than six minutes to build a double-digit lead that grew to 20 points (24-4) with 11:52 still to play.
The reasons for the early blitz were fairly obvious: Bowling Green made nine of its first 14 shots from the field (64.2 percent), while Kent State missed its first seven.
“We made more shots — and we scored more points in this game,” said Roos, who noted the 16-14 halftime score from Wednesday. “It was difficult for us to get going at Kent because our energy was different than it was earlier — and I’ll take the blame for that.
“I knew that the team would be ready, and they were.”
A layup by Jill Stein cemented Bowling Green’s 44-16 halftime advantage. By mdway through the second half the lead ballooned to as many as 50 as nine of the 11 Falcons who played scored points.
While Papenfuss obviously was happy about the double-double, the first of her BG career, she was more excited about the redemption the win afforded.
“I would have had more points if I made free throws,” said Papenfuss, who was 1-for-5 from the line. “It’s cool, and I’m glad I got the points and I’m glad I got the rebounds.
“But I’m more glad we got a win. None of that matters unless we got the win.”
NOTES: Bowling Green will face Western Michigan, an 80-72 winner at Eastern Michigan, in the second round at noon on Wednesday in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. … Among those in attendance for Saturday’s game was Curt Miller, the former BG coach who left after last season to take the job at Indiana. … Saturday’s victory was the 100th for the Falcons senior class of Simone Eli, Danielle Havel, Papenfuss, and Chrissy Steffen.
BG men to face Miami
The Bowling Green men’s basketball team will be the sixth seed in the MAC men’s basketball tournament and will host Miami in a first-round tournament game Monday at the Stroh Center.
The Falcons moved up to sixth thanks in part to their win over Buffalo on Friday, along with Toledo’s win at Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Had Northern Illinois won at Ball State — the Cardinals claimed a two-point victory — BG would have been the fifth seed and advanced directly to the second round of the tournament.
Instead Bowling Green will host the RedHawks at the Stroh Center on Monday in a game that tips off at 7 p.m.
BG is selling all tickets for that contest for $1.
Miami fell to the 11th seed because of its loss at Ohio.
The winner of Monday’s game will advance to the second round and play on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Their opponent will be the winner between Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan in a game that will start at 9 p.m.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.