BGSU women's basketball defended a second half surge from Western Michigan and pulled away with a 72-63 victory, the first Mid-American Conference win for the team this season.
Coming into the matchup with Western Michigan, BGSU were losers of five straight and seven of their last eight. On the bright side, four of those losses either went to an extra stanza of action or were decided by one possession.
Yet to claim their first conference victory, their streaky but strong non-conference games seem like ways away from where they stand now.
On Wednesday night the Falcons relied on Mari Hill early. She opened the game five of seven from the field and hit a wide open three at the tail end of the first quarter. Angela Perry and Kadie Hempfling pushed the Bronco defense on its heels for the entire first half by hitting their lanes hard and consistent enough to where the Falcons controlled almost the entirety of the first half.
Eighteen minutes with the lead may look swell on paper, but a concerning pattern that developed was the looks Western Michigan had from beyond the arc. Even with some tight leads, Bowling Green allowed some clear-as-day shots at the three point line. The Broncos only managed to sink three, but if the trend continued and the shots began to fall, BGSU would be in an uncomfortable second half.
Western Michigan continued its pressure from downtown, going three for six in the third quarter behind the line and found a way to make their presence in the paint known after their shots his the backboard. They boasted a total of eight offensive rebounds going into the final frame, and scooped up missed opportunity after missed opportunity for the Falcons to transition back on offense.
Five different Broncos stepped up to rip the rock away on offense, including two from Breanna Mobley. Mobley responded by knocking down 12 of her 15 points from inside the paint which was a big contribution to their third quarter comeback. Her offensive rebound and subsequent layup to open the third quarter launched a 16-5 run for the Broncos and put them in the lead.
Perry and Hempfling would team up again to make bring Bowling Green back into the picture. Driving hard and finishing on free throws put the Falcons ahead by two headed into the last quarter, 53-51.
Still, in a close game and a situation they have seen numerous times these past few weeks, the Falcons were in a position to fall to the woes that seem to have lingered. Unlike those games, these Falcons were resilient in front of the home crowd. Madisen Parker and Olivia Trice answered with two clutch threes less than three minutes apart and the entire squad cleaned up their rebounding in the minutes that mattered.
Perry’s valiant effort in the paint and 20 points earned the Falcons a much-needed win and their first conference victory of the year.
The Falcons, now 8-10 overall and 1-5 in the MAC, join Miami and Akron in the MAC East with once conference win and will travel to Athens, Ohio to face the Bobcats on Saturday.