BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team allowed Western Michigan to get on a bit of a run to end the first half of their contest Wednesday.
The Broncos scored five unanswered points in the final two minutes of the period, which seems harmless enough when you consider the Falcons still led 32-30 at the break.
It was not harmless: It was a foretaste of a second half that saw WMU outscore Bowling Green 44-21 and roll to a 74-53 victory at the Stroh Center.
“Their short little spurt gave them a little momentum,” BG coach Jennifer Roos said. “We went into halftime only up two. …
“In the second half they made 15 of 24 and we made 8 of 26. Just as much as we struggled to score, we struggled to stop fouling and keep them from scoring in the paint.”
Western Michigan snapped a five-game losing streak by making shots, dominating the rebounding 22-10, and making 10 of 14 free throws when the Falcons made just 4 of 8.
“Offensively they were hitting all their shots, and they were really focused and playing lock-down defense,” BG’s Carly Santoro said. “We were fouling a lot.
“We just couldn’t get it going.”
IN PICTURES: Falcons fall to Broncos in MAC action
Santoro finished with 11 points for Bowling Green (6- 19, 2-11 Mid-American Conference), which lost its third game in a row. Ashley Tunstall added 10 points for the Falcons.
Deja Wimby posted a double-double with career-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Western Michigan (15-9, 6-7 MAC). Meredith Shipman added 18 points for the Broncos, Breanna Mobley 11, and Marley Hill 10.
The Falcons rolled to a 15-4 start, making 3 of 4 3-pointers in the first five minutes, and led 19-13 after the first quarter. Bowling Green held a 32-25 advantage with just 2:22 on the clock before WMU scored the final five points of the first half.
“I was happy at halftime, but I wasn’t satisfied,” Roos said. “I thought we could have had a five- or six-point lead.”
In the second half, Bowling Green’s problems began at the defensive end as the Broncos scored on five straight possessions to take a 41-37 lead.
“I always think defense leads to offense, so once you get stops, you can get your offense going,” Santoro said. “We weren’t getting any stops, so that caused our offense to be stagnant.
“We weren’t getting what we wanted — and what we were getting in the first half.”
Then the Falcons started struggling on offense at the wrong time, making just 3 of 13 shots from the field in the third quarter and never earning a free-throw.
“We ran a couple of plays wrong, and I could have called a couple of plays differently,” Roos admitted. “And we were in foul trouble, so our rhythm was ‘off’ compared to the first half.
“I wouldn’t hang my hat on any one thing; I think it was a myriad three or four things.”
Western Michigan scored the final nine points of the third quarter to lead 50-39. Then Shipman exploded in the fourth period, making three 3-pointers on her way to 13 points in the period.
That was enough to lift the Broncos to a lead that grew to as many as 22 points, and Bowling Green came no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
“We can play 25 minutes out of 40 that are pretty good,” said Roos, whose team now has lost 9 of 10 and 14 of 16. “But those other 15? Not so much. Getting that differential to be 30-to-10, or 32-to-8, would be better.
“But our kids are still listening, and I couldn’t ask for any more from them. If we were immature, it would be different. But I respect their decision-making, both on and off the court.
“We have to dig some stuff out of them to translate into more points and more stops.”
Bowling Green’s Ashley Tunstall drives into the lane against Western Michigan. Tunstall had 10 points for the Falcons. BLADE/LORI KING