BGSU women's hoops tops Eastern Kentucky

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'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.

Contact John Wagner at jwagner@theblade.com419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.