This Sunday, the women’s basketball team will face one of its toughest challenges of the season as it travels to Ohio to play conference rival Bowling Green.
Both meetings last season were close, with the Chippewas losing in overtime, 72-77, in Mount Pleasant but pulling it out when it really mattered, beating the Falcons 69-66 in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament in Cleveland.
When the Falcons came to Mount Pleasant last season, they were in a transition period. BGSU head coach Jennifer Roos was filling in for head coach Curt Miller, who had suffered a stroke days before the game.
Miller, who has the 16th-best winning percentage in NCAA Division I history, would come back to coach during the season but later accepted the head coaching job at Indiana University. With the Falcons coaching job vacant, Roos was once again named head coach.
This will be the first time that the teams meet this season, and both have been playing well so far. BGSU is No. 2 in the MAC East (13-6, 4-2 MAC) and sits just one game behind No. 1 Miami (Ohio). The Falcons have played well at home, boasting a 7-4 record and some key non-conference wins.
Similar to the Chippewas, Bowling Green has also been playing a tough schedule. The Falcons biggest win came Dec. 30 against No. 17 Dayton, when they beat the Flyers 65-40. This was the fifth time in program history that they had beat a nationally ranked team.
A key contributor against Dayton was Alexis Rogers. Rogers ended the game four steals shy of a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six steals.
Rogers, as well as her teammates, have been playing well against MAC opponents. In MAC play, Rogers is No. 2 in rebounding (9.6), No. 3 in field goal percentage (.514) and averaging 15.1 points per game, good for fourth in the league.
Defensively, Bowling Green will bother any team it plays. The Falcons allow only 55.2 points per game, second in the MAC, and are No. 5 in scoring offense (66 per game), No. 1 in opponent three-point field goal percentage (.289) and are tied with CMU for No. 6 in blocks (3.2)
BG’s defense will be one of the toughest the Chippewas have faced this season. CMU has relied heavily on its three-point shooting and has shot at a high-percentage, but they will face a tight perimeter defense.
The Chippewas have started the season undefeated in MAC play for the first time in 25 years. In addition to solid play and a deep bench, sophomore guard Crystal Bradford has been key to the team’s success. Bradford is averaging a near double-double (13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds) and is an early candidate for MAC Player of the Year.