Bowling Green women’s basketball gutted out a 71-66 home win over Miami on Tuesday afternoon. The largest lead the Falcons would have in this game would only be six points. Miami’s largest lead of the game was only five points.
BGSU freshman guard Lexi Fleming continues to have an impressive start to the season. She had a career high 26 points this game, leading the team. Her fellow freshmen guards Kenzie Lewis and Nyla Hampton also had double digit points. Hampton chipped in 11 points and Lewis had 10 points.
The win moves the Falcons to 6-1 overall on the season and 2-0 in the MAC. The last time the Falcons started the season with two wins in the conference was the 2013-14 season when the Falcons went 17-1 in the MAC.
The BGSU defense gave Miami fits during the game. The Redhawks would have 20 turnovers on the day. Miami would only shoot two free throws during the game, those coming in the first quarter.
Despite that, Miami would have the lead at half 34-33. Senior forward Kelly McLaughlin was the only player at half in double figures with 14 points. McLaughlin was giving the Falcons problems with not only her scoring, but she also led the Redhawks with seven rebounds.
Miami controlled the offensive glass with eight offensive rebounds and had eight second chance points. Bowling Green only had three offensive rebounds with three second chance points.
The Falcons were able to respond to Miami’s offense in the first half. Lewis responded to two of Miami’s three pointers with two three point plays. The Falcons got to the line five times and converted four times.
The defenses for each team stood out during the first half. Miami would have 11 turnovers while the Falcons had ten turnovers at half. The perimeter defense for Bowling Green held Miami to 27% from three while the Falcons shot 50% from three.
After leading the Falcons in points with nine, Fleming had 11 points in the third to help the Falcons claim the lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“About mid-way through the third quarter, Lexi Flemming, I felt like it really catalyzed us. We got some momentum back on our side and we gutted it out,” BGSU women’s basketball head coach Robyn Fralick said.
The Falcons gained an edge in the third after holding Miami to 39% shooting. Bowling Green would shoot 44% from the field in the third.
It was still a close game with two minutes left in the fourth. Miami freshman guard Katie Davidson and sophomore guard Peyton Scott helped the Redhawks stay within striking distance of the Falcons.
Hampton had a clear lane to the basket to make it a four point game with two minutes left. Scott immediately responded with a bucket of her own to make it a two point game.
BGSU junior guard Kadie Hempfling drove to the basket to extend the lead again to four with 50 seconds remaining. This time, it was Davidson getting the layup to make it a two point game again. With 29 seconds left, it was a 68-66 game with the Falcons on top.
After Fleming made two free throws, the defense held strong and didn’t allow a Miami score. Fleming would add in another free throw to end the game.
The Falcons made key adjustments after halftime to help them gain the victory. They began to crash the offensive glass with seven offensive rebounds in the second half and generated more second chance points. They also limited their turnovers, only committing two in the second half.
On defense, they began to swarm McLaughlin and continued to create pressure on the Redhawk’s offense. They held McLaughlin to eight points after the half, leaving her with 22 on the day. Despite being outrebounded 43-28, the turnovers proved to be the difference.
This team is getting used to playing in close games this season. Despite not playing well today, they pulled off the win.
“Coach just said we have this skill of finding a way to win. And I think that we just found a way to win, we didn’t play that well. We all have this determination to win,” Fleming said.
Next up for the Falcons is a road trip to Ball State on Jan. 2.