Bowling Green State University forward Andrea Cecil shoots over Buffalo forward Summer Hemphill during a game at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Buffalo won the game, 88-67.
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BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team’s 88-67 home loss to Buffalo Wednesday had its roots in the Falcons’ first-half struggles at both ends of the floor.
BG allowed the visiting Bulls to shoot 53.1 percent from the field in the first half while making just 25.7 percent of its shots. The product was a 45-27 halftime hole the Falcons could not escape in a Mid-American Conference contest played at the Stroh Center.
“Everything’s tied together,” Bowling Green coach Jennifer Roos said. “The expression goes that [basketball] is a simple game complicated by a lot of people.
“One end feeds off the other – it’s your choice which end fed off the other.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Buffalo 88, BGSU 67
No matter the choice, the result was the Falcons’ ninth straight loss, dropping their season’s record to 10-16 overall and 2-13 in the MAC.
“There’s a lot of those games we wish we could have back – and that we should have been on the [winning] side,” said BG’s Andrea Cecil, whose 10 points led the team. “We have to put them in the past, learn from them, and come back better.”
Buffalo (22-4, 13-2 MAC) saw four players score in double figures as it clinched an outright MAC East Division title. Cassie Oursler led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Summer Hemphill scored 12 points, Katherine Ups 11 and Cierra Dillard 10.
The Bulls took command of the contest early, using a 15-4 run to build a 17-8 advantage with 3:21 still to play in the opening quarter. BG made just 2-of-11 shots in that run, including four misses from behind the 3-point arc, while Buffalo connected on 5-of-11 shots and all four of its free throws.
The Bulls then scored seven straight points before Sydney Lambert’s jumper at the quarter buzzer made the score 26-17.
“We got off to a slow start, and credit Buffalo for that,” Roos said. “Everything they shot went in … and we were running around in a circle defensively, trying to mix things up.”
Buffalo then scored the first 11 points of the second quarter to lead 37-17 with 5:50 left in the half. While the Falcons never trailed by more than 21 points the rest of the half, BG connected on just 2-of-16 field-goal attempts and just 1-of-8 3’s and came no closer than 16.
“I thought a lot of them were shots we always take – they just weren’t falling for us,” said Cecil, an Oak Harbor graduate. “We expected them to pressure, but we didn’t do a great job of handling it at first.
“It took some time to get used to. In the second half we knew more what to expect, and things came together.”
Bowling Green came no closer than 13 points in the third quarter, and a 12-3 run by the Bulls gave them a 69-47 lead entering the final period.
The fourth quarter saw the reserves on both sides get extended playing time, with Buffalo leading by as many as 26 before the Falcons used an 11-1 run to close within 16. The Bulls hit a pair of 3-pointers late to pull away.
“I appreciated the fight that our kids showed in the second half compared to the first half,” Roos said. “But at the end of the day, shooting 50 percent from the field, outrebounding us by 17 and doubling our points in the paint was pretty tough to overcome.”
The Bulls outrebounded BG 49-32 in the game and outscored the Falcons in the paint 44-20.
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