Bowling Green State University’s Erica Donovan battles over Niagara's Val McQuade during Friday’s game. Donovan finished with 20 points for the Falcons.
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BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team used defense to win its first two games this season.
Friday night the Falcons turned to the offense, and contributions throughout the lineup led to a 90-58 romp over Niagara at the Stroh Center.
All nine player who saw action scored for BG, and five reached double figures as the team improved to 3-0 on the season.
“No team can do that individually,” Erica Donovan said of the Falcons’ 90-point explosion. “Everyone wants to contribute because we know we don’t have that many people.”
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BG also got 13 points from Jillian Halfhill, while three reserves — Deborah Hoekstra, Rachel Konieczki, and Jasmine Matthews — combined for 36 of the bench’s 40 points.
Hoekstra had a career-high 15, while Konieczki scored 11, and Matthews 10.
“When you only have nine [players], everybody has to contribute,” Falcons coach Jennifer Roos said. “I thought we got good contributions from our bench tonight.”
BG’s Miriam Justinger drives past Niagara's Meghan McGuinness.
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Bowling Green got out of the blocks quickly, building an early 12-4 lead that reached double digits by the midway point of the first half. Eventually the Falcons built a 48-34 lead at the half.
Roos said one factor in the strong start was limiting Niagara to just three 3-point attempts in the first period.
“We wanted to take away their 3-point game,” she said. “They have multiple kids on the floor that can shoot the 3, so for us to hold them to 2-for-12 from the arc was key.”
The Purple Eagles also committed 15 turnovers in the half.
“They just got going too fast,” Roos said. “As you saw, they corrected that in the second half, and they got us into foul trouble by dribbling and attacking.”
Meanwhile the BG offense benefited from 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, including five from Donovan, that led to 17 second-chance points.
“When you get an offensive rebound, it gives momentum to the team,” Donovan said. “You work your butt off to get that rebound, and give you or your teammate a second opportunity to get a shot.”
The Falcons forced 14 Niagara fouls in the first half, which Bowling Green took advantage of by making 20-of-25 free throws.
“Getting to the foul line and making shots was the key to the game, in my opinion,” Roos said. “If we would have shot 50 percent from the line, this would have been a close game.”
Donovan scored the first five points of the second half, and the Falcons eventually led by as many as 33 points before settling on the final margin.
“She’s a good leaper who has a knack of getting to the ball, and she’s strong inside,” Roos said of Donovan. “We’re asking a lot of her to play two positions, both inside and outside. But she’s a mismatch on the perimeter [because of her size] and she’s tough inside because of her leaping ability.
“She was a spark for us, especially in the first half.”
NOTES: Senior Katrina Salinas has been lost for the season following a knee injury. … Two freshmen, Kennedy Kirkpatrick and Leah Bolton, also were not in uniform. Bolton is doing “basketball continuing” as she rehabs from meniscus surgery, while Kirkpatrick is day-to-day after aggravating an early season injury.