Miami’s Nicole Anderson and Bowling Green’s Jill Stein vie for the ball. With Sunday’s lopsided victory over the RedHawks, the Falcons improved to 10-1 in Mid-American Conference play.
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BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University women’s basketball coach Jennifer Roos was looking for a way to motivate her team for Sunday’s game against Miami.
“We talked about the two [lost] games last year, and we talked about the rivalry with Miami,” she said. “But then I put out that they would get an extra day off if they played well.
“And I think they ignored everything else and remembered the last thing — and earned a well-deserved break.”
PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU women top Miami 91-45
The Falcons practically earned their break by halftime of a game they won 91-45 at the Stroh Center. BG outscored the RedHawks 43-14 in the first half and cruised to its sixth straight win.
Jillian Halfhill scored 17 points to lead four players in double figures for the Falcons, who improved to 20-3 overall to clinch their 11th consecutive 20-win season. Erica Donovan had 14, Jasmine Matthews 13, and Miriam Justinger 12 for BG, which now is 10-1 in Mid-American Conference play.
Kelsey Simon scored nine points to lead Miami (7-15, 3-8 MAC).
The game effectively was over soon after it started as Miami made a 3-pointer to start the game and the Falcons scored the next 21 points over a seven-minute span.
Bowling Green expanded its lead to 21 points with 10:12 left in the first half and led by 34 before the RedHawks scored the final five points of the half.
“We could tell in the lockerroom, even before we came out, that we were ready to go,” Justinger said. “We just wanted to end everything on a good note heading into our break.
“We just wanted to execute our offense and not have any breakdowns.”
The Falcons made 7-of-10 field goals to start the game and finished the first half 16-of-32 from the field, including 8-of-16 on 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, the BG defense allowed the RedHawks to make just 5-of-24 shots in the first half while turning the ball over 12 times, with many of the Miami turnovers turning into breakaway layups for the Falcons.
“Any time you play well at one end, it seems to become contagious at the other end,” Roos said. “The better we shot, the better we played at the defensive end.
“I thought we got a lot of deflections, and we got our hands in the passing lanes well. We anticipated well.”
Clockwise, from left: Bowling Green’s Jill Stein, Miriam Justinger, Alexis Rogers, and Erica Donovan congratulate Jillian Halfhill after she is fouled while sinking a 3-pointer. Halfhill scored 17 points to lead the Falcons.
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Roos laughed when asked what she said to the team at halftime.
“We still had the goal of getting the extra day off, so I don’t know if they heard anything I said,” she admitted. “They were looking for the extra day off.”
Any thoughts of a Miami comeback were squashed in the first three minutes of the second half as Bowling Green scored the first 11 points of the period, including a pair of 3-pointers by Halfhill.
The Falcons finished with 15 3-pointers, only one short of the school record, and connected on almost half of their attempts from behind the arc (15 of 31).
As a result, the second half played out only to answer questions such as if BG would reach a season-high in points (it did) and whether it would break the Stroh Center record for points in a game (tied) and largest margin of victory (the Falcons fell four points short).
“I could not be more proud of how hard they played,” Roos said. “I told them I want to be playing our best basketball in March, and I feel we’re getting better each day.”
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.