Bowling Green's Carly Santoro, shown in a game last season, scored 30 points to lift the Falcons to a 77-60 season-opening win over Eastern Kentucky.
BOWLING GREEN — Carly Santoro missed a couple of baskets that could have led to free throws early in the second quarter. All she could do was grimace in frustration.
“They were easy baskets,” Santoro said. “It’s frustrating, but it’s OK.
“My teammates said, ‘You’ve got the next one,’ and I told them, ‘You’re right.’ ”
Santoro eventually got a couple of and-one shots to fall — not to mention a bunch of other shots. The Bellevue native finished with 30 points in the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team’s 77-60 victory Friday against Eastern Kentucky at the Stroh Center.
“She had 30, and I know she’s thinking she could have had 40 with a couple of layups that rimmed out,” BG women’s coach Jennifer Roos said. “But that talks to what a competitor she is.
“This is the start she wanted, and because she has worked so hard, this is the start she has earned.”
Santoro also had 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double, adding two assists and two steals. Haley Puk also finished in double figures with 11 points for the Falcons in the season opener for both schools.
A’Queen Hayes scored 13 points to lead Eastern Kentucky, while Madison Wood had 12 and Abby Wright 11 for the Colonels.
The Falcons struggled offensively in the first quarter, making just 3-of-15 shots from the floor, and Eastern Kentucky used a late 8-2 run to lead 15-10 after one.
Then the BG defense came alive — and so did the offense. The Falcons forced three turnovers on EKU’s first three possessions of the second and used nine quick points to lead 19-15 less than two minutes in.
“The first quarter wasn’t really special,” Roos admitted. “But the conversations in the huddle were very positive. And they were driven by the players, who knew what we wanted to do and were successful in doing them.”
Santoro was the catalyst, scoring 17 points by making 4-of-5 shots from the floor, including both of her 3s, while making 7-of-9 free throws. She said the BG offense was keyed by the team’s defense.
“We really emphasized being in the gaps and not letting them have easy drives,” Santoro said. “There were numerous times when Haley and other girls were in the gap and had a ton of deflections and steals.
“We got out in transition for easy layups and easy 3s.”
The rest of the Falcons matched Santoro’s hot shooting, connecting on 10-of-14 shots from the floor (71.4 percent) as well as 5-of-7 on 3s (71.4 percent) and sinking 8-of-11 free throws.
“We had shots that weren’t going in, and we were settling for some outside shots,” Roos said of the difference between the first and second quarters. “I thought Carly Santoro did a fantastic job of scoring off the bounce. …
“And if she wasn’t making the shot, she was getting to the foul line.”
The Falcons, who led 43-35 at halftime, scored the first eight points of the third period to lead by 16, and they never allowed Eastern Kentucky to come closer than 10 points in that period.
BG then pulled away in the final period, leading by as many as 18 points before settling on the final margin.
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