BOWLING GREEN — At first glance, the two women’s basketball teams that will do battle today at the Stroh Center seem as different as night and day.
Visiting Central Michigan has one of the most powerful offenses in Division I basketball.
The Chippewas (18-8, 12-0 MAC) rank ninth nationally by scoring 84.2 points per game, and their average of 85.8 points in Mid-American Conference games allows them to beat opponents by an average of more than 17 points per contest.
The host team from Bowling Green finds its success through defense, ranking 13th among Division I schools by allowing just 56.3 points per game. MAC schools average just 55.8 points against the Falcons, allowing BG (21-3, 11-1) to outscore league opponents by nearly 15 points per game.
While the styles are different, the results have been the same as the MAC’s two top teams meet at 7 p.m., with BG’s lone loss coming at CMU about a month ago.
The success the two teams have had in the MAC isn’t the only similarity the two programs share.
“I think you are looking at two teams that have played together for a while,” CMU coach Sue Guevara said. “Both teams have good senior leadership, and they both have developed good chemistry.”
On Jan. 18 in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., Bowling Green held the upper hand for the first 37 minutes, only to see a frenzied press by the Chippewas lift them into a tie that forced overtime.
“I thought we made some poor decisions passing the ball some times,” BG coach Jennifer Roos said. “At times [the ball] was a bit of a hot potato.
“We’ve emphasized trapping areas, and where [on the court] the traps will occur. And we also emphasized that they have a handful of kids who will ‘shoot’ the passing lanes and take chances defensively.”
Central Michigan claimed the win in overtime, and the Falcons haven’t forgotten their only league loss this season.
“Losing there was tough for us,” BG senior Jennifer Halfhill said. “But we knew we had [another game with] them again, so we’re looking forward to playing them again.
“We’re just going to give it all we’ve got.”
While either team would get a boost to its NCAA tournament aspirations with a victory, both coaches downplayed the significance of this rematch.
“People who make decisions [on the NCAA tournament field] will look at this game,” Guevara said. “But there’s a lot more basketball to be played — for both teams.”
“It’s one of six remaining conference games, and we’ve got to get better with each game,” she said.