BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons struggle with overconfidence, injuries but get 4 in double figures to post 68-57 win over NAIA school Madonna at Stroh Saturday
BiG GAME STORY: The Falcons jumped out to an early 15-5 lead, only to see the Crusaders use an 18-4 run to lead 23-19 with 8:30 left in the first half. There were two more ties in the time that followed until Allison Papenfuss scored with 1:24 left to give BG a 31-29 halftime lead. Madonna made a 3-pointer to take a one-point lead early in the second half, but the Falcons scored the next six points and never trailed again. After falling behind 32-31, Bowling Green outscored Madonna 20-5 over the next six minutes to lead by 14 points. From that point on the Crusaders came no closer than seven points.
BiG OVERVIEW: The Falcons had five players finish in double figures and were led by Allison Papenfuss, who finished with 13 points. Freshman Bailey Cairnduff made three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, while Danielle Havel posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Chrissy Steffen nearly had a double-double with 11 points and nine boards.
BiG PLAY: There wasn’t a single play that helped the Falcons put this game on ice, but there was a stretch early in the second half when the BG offense was so efficient it helped put the game on ice. Madonna had hit a 3-pointer at the 18:02 mark to lead 32-31, but Bowling Green got a pair of free throws from Chrissy Steffen to retake the lead. The Crusaders missed their next shot, and BG missed as well. But from that point the Falcons would score 18 points on their next eight possessions while Madonna got just five points from their next eight possessions, and BG had the breathing room it needed to claim the win.
BiG PLAYER OF THE GAME: Senior Danielle Havel posted just the second double-double of her career, finishing with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Havel was 4-for-8 from the field and 3-for-4 from the line. She also had a pair of assists, two blocked shots and a team-best four steals. … Honorable mention to seniors Allison Papenfuss and Chrissy Steffen for their strong efforts in the victory. Papenfuss made her first career start count, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds as well as a game-high three blocked shots. Steffen nearly had a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds while leading BG with four assists and adding a pair of steals.
BiG NUMBERS: One big number that plagued the Falcons in this contest was 50: That was the margin by which Bowling Green beat Madonna last season. After the game the players admitted they overlooked a team that wasn’t as bad as the one BG beat a year ago. … The other big number that gave Bowling Green trouble was 21: That was the number of turnovers the Falcons committed. What made that number especially disappointing was that it didn’t come against full-court pressure, and a number of the turnovers came from upperclassmen as seniors Allison Papenfuss and Chrissy Steffen had five each while juniors Jill Stein and Jillian Halfhill had four and three, respectively.
BiG NOTE: One problem the Falcons had in this contest was a lack of healthy bodies. Two starters from last season, Jasmine Matthews and Alexis Rogers, did not play in the game, and among the other players who were not available were senior Simone Eli and sophomore Deborah Hoekstra. That limited BG to an eight-player rotation, and it forced players with limited experience in the program to assume big roles in the game.
BiG THOUGHT: I know BG fans came out of Saturday’s game worried about the Falcons, but I would caution patience. The lack of healthy bodies – and the loss of two expected starters – would force any team to struggle. What’s more, Madonna used a five-senior lineup against the Falcons, and that experience showed as the Crusaders didn’t panic early. I also thought Madonna made some difficult shots, both on its 3-pointers and on some of its points in the paint, and would expect more misses if there was a rematch. Was it a good victory? No, it wasn’t. But BG has started to develop a history of poor first games – the Falcons had a bad loss at Dayton last year and a loss to a bad Evansville team the year before. Let’s see a few more games before we condemn this team.
BiG QUESTION: Can the Falcons get healthy and get things back in order as they hit the road? BG will play at Niagara Thursday, then tangle with Purdue on Monday before playing at the Lady Rebel Round-Up hosted by UNLV Nov. 24-25. An effort like BG had Saturday probably won’t be good enough to win any of those four road contests.
MORE INFO: Click here to read the game story from the contest (coming soon). Click here to view a photo gallery from the game, courtesy of The Blade's Jetta Fraser.