BOWLING GREEN - Allison Papenfuss understands her role as a member of the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team.
The former Anthony Wayne standout, who graduated as arguably the best girls player ever to wear a Generals uniform, is a role player in her freshman year at Bowling Green.
The former do-it-all performer who led Anthony Wayne to a pair of Northern Lakes League championships and four sectional titles is doing whatever she can whenever she's called on to help BG's cause.
"It's another adjustment, but for us the team is more important," Papenfuss said. "I've always said I don't care how we win as long as we win. Anything I can do to help this team win I'll be fine."
Papenfuss, who rarely spent time on the bench at AW, has spent much of her time with the Falcons viewing games from the bench. The six-foot forward has averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds while averaging six minutes of playing time on a veteran team that returned 10 letter-winners.
Papenfuss has learned to use the time on the bench to observe and pick up on some tricks and skills from her teammates.
"At Anthony Wayne I was the queen bee or whatever, but here I'm still getting used to the system," Papenfuss said. "I'm really grateful for the seniors and all the upperclassmen. They've definitely taken the time to help me adjust."
Papenfuss opted for BG over other offers from Mid-American Conference programs because of the Falcons' winning ways. BG won a sixth straight MAC regular season championship and fourth tournament title in six seasons this year.
She also got to experience March Madness after the Falcons earned the conference's automatic NCAA bid by winning the MAC tournament. BG's season ended in the first round with a 72-62 loss to Michigan State.
"It's a little surreal right now," said Papenfuss, attempting to describe her freshman season. "I don't think it's completely sunk in. I keep thinking back to last year. I was out all year."
Papenfuss was hampered most of her senior season in high school by a leg injury. It may have slowed her overall development.
She makes it clear there's been one area of her game she's focused much of this year to improve upon.
"Definitely defense," she said. "I got by at Anthony Wayne. A lot of times I was playing against girls that were skilled but a little less skilled than me so I could kind of fake it. Now it's different, and now I've got to go out and can't let the person score more than me."
The moment she realized she was playing Division I basketball in college occurred early in the season.
"We played at Ohio State in the preseason WNIT," Papenfuss said. "My best friends from high school all go there and they all came to the game and that's when it hit me. I was playing in a gym that I've always dreamed about playing in. Then I was looking down and I was wearing this jersey and this was huge for me. I'd watched these girls at Bowling Green for I don't know how many years and now I'm getting a chance to play."
And it's a role she's hoping to make the most of while at Bowling Green.
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