BOWLING GREEN – Poor starts are starting to become a bad habit for the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team.
The Falcons were outscored 21-11 in the first quarter, fell behind 46-27 at halftime and never were able to recover in an 81-67 loss to Western Michigan in a Mid-American Conference contest played at the Stroh Center Wednesday.
Bowling Green State University guard Carly Santoro drives to the basket against Western Michigan guard Najee Smith.
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“We came out pretty flat,” said BG’s Carly Santoro. “Offensively we weren’t scoring, and defensively we allowed them too many offensive rebounds and putbacks.
“It was too big of a hole for us to come back from in the second half.”
The Falcons did outscore WMU 40-35 in that second half, but the halftime deficit was too much to overcome as Bowling Green fell to 10-13 overall and 2-10 in MAC games.
“I knew we would come out better in the second half, but we have to realize as a team that we need to do that from the beginning,” BG coach Jennifer Roos said. “We won the second half by five points, but it’s a little too late when that kicks in.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Western Michigan 81, Bowling Green 67
Santoro led the Falcons with 16 points, while Haley Puk added 10.
Four players scored in double figures for Western Michigan (14-10, 7-5 MAC), with two posting double-doubles. Breanna Mobley led the way with 19 points and 13 boards, while freshman Jordan Walker added 15 points and 12 boards.
Bowling Green State University guard Kennedy Williams drives past Western Michigan guard Jordan Walker during a MAC basketball game Wednesday, February 7, 2018, in Bowling Green. Western Michigan defeated BGSU 81-67.
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Deja Wimby nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, while Marley Hill added 16 points.
The Broncos scored on five of their first six possessions to build an early 11-4 advantage with 6:22 left in the first quarter, then tacked on eight more points late in the quarter to lead 21-7 with 2:31 on the clock.
“We just let [the bad start] get the best of us,” Santoro said. “One mistake might happen, but we can’t let it lead to two mistakes.
“We have to keep pushing and not let it get the best of us.”
A free throws and 3-pointer by Kennedy Williams helped trim the Falcons’ deficit to 21-11 after one quarter.
“You can float on water when you make layups because you are feeling good,” Roos said of the struggles to start. “But we had four or five missed layups, and it snowballed – and we dropped our heads a little bit.
“And we couldn’t get that stop after we got a good look and it didn’t go in.”
Western Michigan kept making shots in the second quarter, connecting on 9-of-13 attempts (69.2 percent) as part of a 21-6 run that gave the Broncos a 42-17 lead with 3:02 still to play.
Bowling Green needed a 10-4 finish to cut that 25-point deficit to 46-27 at halftime.
The Falcons started the third quarter well, using a 10-2 spurt to trim the WMU lead 48-37 a little more than four minutes into the period. But a 6-3 run to end the quarter helped the Broncos carry a 63-47 advantage into the final quarter.
And while BG used a 6-0 run to cut its deficit to 12 points early, the Falcons were never able to cut the margin to single digits the rest of the way.
Western Michigan dominated two stat lines in the win. One was on the offensive boards, where the Broncos grabbed 21 of their misses and turned them into 25 second-chance points. The other was related to turnovers, where BG had 13 while WMU had 14; but the Broncos scored 17 points off turnovers, while the Falcons had just 10.
“We almost got outrebounded by 20, and that’s a number you can’t come back from,” Roos said. “We shot 10 percentage points better than them in the second half, and we had fewer turnovers in the second half.
“But not rebounding the ball in the second half was the key.”
The result was the Falcons’ sixth consecutive setback, something Roos said is difficult to swallow.
“The hardest part for me is that I want these kids to taste victory,” she said. “We’ve had so many leads in so many games. … It’s like being a parent: You want your kids to do well. As a coach you want your kids to do well, for all the work they put in.
“They have it in them. And that’s the part we’ve got to continue to pull out of them.”
NOTES: Freshman Angela Perry scored seven points in the first quarter and finished with nine for Bowling Green in her second career start. Perry’s previous career point high was six, which came last Saturday against Miami in her first career start. … Freshman scored BG’s first 17 points in the contest, with Perry netting seven, Williams six and Sierra Thompson four.
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