BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons shoot just 38.6% from field while Temple is red-hot 53.7% (61.5% 2nd half) in Owls’ 70-56 win over BG Wednesday at Stroh
BiG GAME STORY: The two teams were fairly even through most of the first half, with Bowling Green leading by as many as five points (16-11, 12:41). There were seven ties in the half, but Temple broke a 23-23 tie by scoring the last six points of the first half to lead 29-23 at the break. BG’s Chrissy Steffen scored nine points (on a pair of 3’s and an old-fashioned three-point play) in the first three minutes to cut the deficit to 35-34 with 16:52 on the clock, but a 17-3 run by the Owls over the next nine minutes helped Temple pull away. BG did not score for almost seven minutes in the middle of the half and trailed by as many as 17 late.
BiG OVERVIEW: The Falcons were led by senior Chrissy Steffen and junior Alexis Rogers as each had 13 points. Steffen also had a team-high five rebounds and added a pair of steals. Junior Jillian Halfhill had eight points, six of which came in the first half, while newcomers Bailey Cairnduff and Katrina Salinas each had five points in just five minutes of action.
BiG PLAY: The Temple offense used an efficient stretch of play in the second half to turn a tight contest into a comfortable win. BG’s Chrissy Steffen made a pair of free throws to make the score 35-34 Owls with 16:52 left in the second half, but Temple promptly scored on its next five possessions to make the score 45-37 with 13:52 on the clock. After a Temple turnover, the Owls hit back-to-back 3’s and suddenly the score was 51-37. From that point BG never was able to get closer than 12 points.
BiG PLAYER OF THE GAME: Senior Chrissy Steffen tied for the team lead in scoring with 13 points, making 5-of-13 shots from the field and 2-of-6 3-pointers. She also tied for the team lead with five rebounds and added two steals and a blocked shot. Steffen scored nine of her points in the first three minutes of the second half to cut Temple’s lead to one point with 16:52 to play.
BiG NUMBERS: Not only did Bowling Green not shoot very well in this loss, the team went through stretches in both halves where it shot extremely poorly. That was most noticeable in the first half, when the Falcons made 8-of-12 shots (66.7 percent) in the first eight minutes but finished with a 10-for-27 shooting half (if you’ve done the math, you realize BG finished 2-for-15, or 13.3 percent). In the second half the Falcons made four of their first five shots, then went 1-for-12 (8.3 percent) in that eight-minute mid-half drought before making 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) in the final eight minutes. The hot spurts are nice, but the offense needs to be more productive, even during its “lulls,” for this team to be successful.
BiG NOTE: I thought the Falcons did some good things that were overshadowed by their shooting struggles – and Temple’s hot shooting as well. One good thing was the lack of turnovers despite the physical nature of the game, as BG gave the ball up just 11 times while the Owls turned it over 14 times. Kudos to Jillian Halfhill for making just one turnover in 35 minutes. … The rebounding numbers didn’t favor BG against the taller Owls, as Temple had a 38-28 advantage on the boards. What was particularly disturbing was the Owls’ 11 offensive boards, which resulted in 13 second-chance points. Temple was shooting well enough without getting extra opportunities to score.
BiG THOUGHT: I am sure some fans were disappointed in the loss, but I think some perspective is important. Temple is a strong program that has won 20 games or more for nine straight seasons, and from what I saw Wednesday there is no doubt the Owls are capable of extending that streak this year. So this is far from a bad loss. … Also, I asked coach Jennifer Roos if her team’s struggles on offense or defense bothered her more, and she, of course, choose C: All of the above. Gotta love coaches, right? I understand her point, but if I had to pick one, BG’s offensive struggles bothered me more. I thought Temple made a lot of contested shots; as a general rule, they weren’t “easy” shots. Some nights the other team just makes tough shots, and all you can do is tip your hat. And keep making sure the shots are hard to make when the next team comes to town.
BiG QUESTION: Can the Falcons get their offense untracked? Believe it or not, Wednesday’s effort wasn’t the worst offensive performance by BG in this young season, as the Falcons shot 27.5 percent in the loss at Purdue and 24.1 percent in losing to Villanova. Bowling Green’s 38.6 percent field-goal shooting was close to its marks in its wins over Niagara (39.3 percent) and UNLV (39.0 percent). But better shooting, and a more “attacking” style that will result in more free throws (just nine attempts against Temple) could help jump-start the offense Saturday at home against Colorado State.