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Published: Saturday, 2/2/2008

UT can get in race with win over Bowling Green

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

It's been a while since a regular-season matchup between the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University women's basketball teams meant so much to both squads.

Today at Savage Hall at

2:30, the Falcons are trying to snap their first three-game losing streak in five years, and the Rockets are trying to get back into the Mid-American Conference West division race.

Of course, there's also pride on the line for the Rockets. UT's senior class doesn't want to become the second straight group to lose every game it played against BGSU.

Nearly all of the games in BGSU's nine-game win streak have been close contests, but the Falcons have always prevailed. BGSU has also won the past three games at Savage Hall.

"Since I've been here we've lost every year," UT senior Olivia Terry said. "I know all the seniors want to win against BG their senior year. Being so close, it's not enough. We need to win."

Although UT coach Mark Ehlen has had trouble getting his players to play consistently in the Mid-American Conference season this year, he said he feels the Rockets will have the right mind-set and not be intimidated.

"They've just had some really good teams in the last four years, and quite frankly, we haven't," Ehlen said. "Yet we've had some really good games in the past four years, and I think that says something about the rivalry."

After the Falcons (15-6, 4-3 MAC) lost just one MAC game in two years, UT will try to become the fourth-straight team to beat them. To fix the problems, BGSU coach Curt Miller said his team is not going through any major overhaul during the grind of the season, rather just focusing on pinpointing weaknesses and correcting them.

"We talked at length to the team about how winning and losing is such a fine line," Miller said. "It's the little things and it doesn't take much to fall on one side of that line or the other, because it's such a thin line to what helps you be successful to get wins and what doesn't allow you to pull that off. This is a great learning experience for a young team."

The Rockets (10-9, 3-4 MAC) are three games back in the MAC West and are coming off an 87-61 loss to Kent State. Ehlen felt his team was not mentally prepared to play that game.

"If we play like that for a half against Bowling Green, it won't be a game," Ehlen said. "It's not like they're coming in overconfident. They're going to be ready to play. They're going to be hungry too."

The Rockets have no player averaging more than 4.5 points in their career against the Falcons, but do have five seniors, including three junior-college transfers in their second year in the program.

"I think Toledo is extremely talented. You don't realize it until you start figuring out that they're a very veteran club," Miller said. "So again our inexperience will be going against their veteran club."

To be able to win, the more experienced Falcons need to show the freshmen the meaning of the rivalry.

"Especially this year with a young team, we have to say this is our rivalry, we need to come out and play strong," BGSU junior Lindsey Goldsberry said.

Blade sports writer Ryan Autullo contributed to this report.

Contact Maureen Fulton at: mfulton@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.



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