Roos starting to step out from shadow

2/21/2013
BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

BOWLING GREEN — You just never know about sidekicks.

You never know what will happen when Robin trades in the mask for Batman’s cape.

What’s Watson without Holmes? What’s Tonto without the Lone Ranger, the guy who said “Heeeere’s Johnny” without Johnny, Boo Boo without Yogi Bear?

So there was reason to wonder, especially by the avid fan base that follows Bowling Green women’s basketball, how Jennifer Roos, for so long the loyal sidekick, would do without Curt Miller.

Just fine, thanks.

“Curt told me that I wouldn’t sleep much, I’d eat too much fast food, and wouldn’t exercise enough,” Roos said, then laughed and added, “Other than that I’m having fun.”

She certainly had fun Wednesday night as her Falcons handled MAC East leader Akron 74-61. Now BG is back where it always is expected to be, at the top of the standings.

Roos said the difference between being a sidekick and being the major domo is like night and day.

“You can’t quantify it,” she said. “As much as you prepare for it you’re never ready. I mean, there is stress and more stress.

“You want to call the perfect play on every possession, you want the perfect game, you want to get the top recruit, you want sellout crowds, you want every athlete to get a 4-point [grade average]). You have high expectations for yourself and everybody around you and it’s hard to ever be satisfied.”

Roos sat in the top assistant’s chair for 11 years before Miller left BG for Indiana. They won 258 games together on the strength of nine straight 20-win seasons. There were seven regular-season MAC titles and five league tournament championships.

When Miller left, his sidekick got the big office.

“I think we were all a little nervous,” said Alexis Rogers, a junior who had 16 points and 12 rebounds against Akron. “I mean, it’s natural. We were facing change. We’d had such a close-knit staff and all of a sudden we were sort of starting over.

“But I never thought that coach Roos would not get the job. And none of us ever questioned what kind of team we’d be or what kind of a season we’d have. We trusted her.”

Roos’ first BG team is 17-8 with four regular-season games and the MAC tourney yet to come.

The Falcons blew open Wednesday night’s game with big runs in each half. Their margin reached 18 points with 7 ½ minutes to play on a steal and uncontested layup by Chrissy Steffen, who led all scorers with 17 points. It was easy to get caught up in the minute, the crowd roaring and the Falcons playing with great emotion.

On BG’s next possession, a couple assistant coaches yelled “Go.” But Roos yelled “Stop.” She knew that the score and the clock were in her team’s favor even when Akron nailed two 3-pointers to narrow its deficit.

So she had a couple words with her staff.

“Trust me,” the boss said to her sidekicks.

With BG at 8-4 in the MAC, the stretch run will decide things like division titles and postseason tournament seeds and first-round byes. As usual, it’s an exciting time of year for the Falcons.

“The goal has always been the same since the day I got here,” Roos said. “You want to be playing your best at the end of February and the beginning of March.”

Some things don’t change.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.