Freshmen step up as women's basketball falls to BGSU

Freshman guard Hannah Knoll goes for a layup, Jan. 13 in McGuirk Arena.

With 10 players in uniform, the chips were stacked against Central Michigan (3-13, 1-6) as it entered the Stroh Center on Wednesday. 

Junior guard Molly Davis was in attack mode and the Chippewas stuck with Bowling Green State (7-6, 2-2) early. But the absence of senior center Jahari Smith was too much to overcome, resulting in a 92-68 loss. 

Although BGSU was fresh off a 10-day shutdown, CMU was battling adversity of its own. 

Due to sophomores Rachel Loobie and Maryama Turkstra entering the transfer portal earlier in the week, the Chippewas' layup lines were smaller than usual. 

Missing Smith’s 10.9 rebounds per game, head coach Heather Oesterle moved junior Anika Weekes to center and started senior Kalle Martinez on the wing. 

Boasting the third-best offense in the Mid-American Conference, BGSU struggled to shake the rust off early in the contest. The Falcons started 3-for-9 from deep and the Chippewas took advantage. 

With players filling different roles, Davis took the pressure off by netting 13 points and grabbing four rebounds through 10 minutes. In addition to Davis’ success, freshmen Hanna Knoll and Karrington Gordon were on the mark from three. 

Although they won the rebounding battle and shot a season-best 3-for-5 from three in the opening quarter, the Chippewas found themselves behind going into the second. 

Instead of forcing deep threes, the Falcons began attacking the paint as CMU racked up 14 personal fouls. The Chippewas kept fighting, but when a fourth player received their second foul before halftime, BGSU took control.

CMU dominated the points in the paint and rebound categories through 10 minutes. However, Martinez exited the game after catching an elbow to the face, furthering the Chippewas' depth problem. The Falcons used a 27-15 second-quarter run to flip both in their favor by halftime. 

The foul trouble intensified for the Chippewas in the second half allowing BGSU to push its lead to 20 for the first time. 

Oesterle made adjustments to keep players fresh, but fatigue set in. Aks time ticked away in the third quarter, Gordon picked up her fifth foul. 

With four players in foul trouble, the Chippewas struggled defensively. As a result, BGSU remained hot from three, eventually sealing the 24-point victory. 

While Davis was everywhere for CMU, multiple freshmen stepped up in the loss. 

Gordon finished with 11 points, three steals, and a block while shooting 3-for-4 from deep, all career-highs. Knoll recorded nine points and set a new career-mark in assist with three. Guard Lisa Tesson added seven points and a career-high three assists. 

The Chippewas were called for 30 personal fouls, resulting in BGSU shooting 17 more free throws. 

Fouls hurt the cause, but without Smith patrolling the paint, BGSU won the rebounding battle 53-32. 

The Chippewas look to snap their five-game losing streak on Saturday when they head to Muncie, Indiana, to face Ball State at 1 p.m.