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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2007

Rockets' strategy: stay close to BGSU

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Ali Mann can score inside for Bowling Green, as she did against Toledo's Ta'Yani Clark this season at Anderson Arena. The Rockets might also have to figure out how to stop her when she spells the Falcons' Kate Achter at the point during the MAC tournament. Ali Mann can score inside for Bowling Green, as she did against Toledo's Ta'Yani Clark this season at Anderson Arena. The Rockets might also have to figure out how to stop her when she spells the Falcons' Kate Achter at the point during the MAC tournament.
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CLEVELAND - The goal for the University of Toledo women's basketball team today might not seem lofty.

But against Bowling Green State University, it might be what gives the Rockets a chance.

"We just want to hang around," UT coach Mark Ehlen said. "Against a team like that, you've just got to stay in the game."

UT and BGSU play today in a Mid-American Conference quarterfinal at 5 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. Although the No. 20 Falcons have lost just once in their past 41 MAC games, the defeat a week and a half ago to Ohio provided a blueprint for other teams trying to knock them off.

"I think that's what happened with OU, they hung around," Ehlen said. "And for one of the few times that I can remember, BG didn't hit the big shot. In every other game, they hit the big shot. The law of averages caught up with them."

The Rockets (11-18) beat Buffalo on Sunday to get to this game, and BGSU coach Curt Miller was in the stands.

"One of the things I think became clear during that prelim game is Toledo got the jitters out," Miller said. "We always have to guard against that in the quarterfinals as of late.

"We've got to handle that early on in the quarterfinal game, because Toledo will be more relaxed than we will. We'll have to get those jitters out as fast as we can."

When the teams met a month ago at Anderson Arena, UT went up by 15 points early in the game. BGSU (26-3) came storming back and was down just three points at halftime. The Rockets held their ground for most of the second half, but the Falcons went on a 15-4 run to finish the game and get the win.

UT senior Danielle Bishop said the Rockets haven't specifically used Ohio's upset as a rallying cry, but she knows each play could be crucial against BGSU.

"You can't take a possession off because that could be the game, it could come down to that," Bishop said.

The teams also played in last year's MAC tournament in the semifinals with BGSU winning by 22. Other than that game, the recent contests have been close even though the Falcons have won the past eight. Miller said it's because UT is a tough matchup for his team.

"There's a concern every time you play them because they're a very good screening team and they have constant movement at the offensive end," Miller said.

Bowling Green leads the all-time series against Toledo 36-25.

Although the Falcons will have only one point guard, Kate Achter, after Jasmine McCall left the team, Ehlen said his team won't focus too much on taking advantage of the lack of depth.

"Anytime you try to exploit anything with BG, it's a fool's paradise," Ehlen said. "We have things we want to do, things they want to do against us, but I'm not sure you can take advantage of any kind of apparent weakness.

"If they have Ali Mann at the point, that presents a problem in its own way. It's a nonfactor as far as I'm concerned."

UT will be at full strength. Sophomore Diana Reindl had X-rays on her hyperextended finger yesterday and they came back negative.

Even so, "It's going to be hard for us," Bishop said. "They're a great team."

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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