Falcons fall short in NCAA tourneyWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Any hopes of a “Cinderella” run in the Women’s NCAA tournament evaporated in the first four minutes of the second half, as the BGSU Falcons lost to Georgia Tech 69-58.
Trailing just 33-32 at the half, the Falcons were victim to a 10-4 run by the Yellow Jackets aided by some costly BG turnovers.
“We talked the last few minute of halftime about getting off to a good start,” BGSU head coach Curt Miller said after the game. “It’s disappointing when you talk about something, and then don’t go out and execute.”
Miller said the rough stretch was especially difficult to deal with because it was déjà vu all over for the Falcons.
During last year’s tournament game against Michigan State, BGSU struggled early in the second half, and they ended up losing by 10.
“We thought with all of our experience that we would be able to get out to a better start, and we didn’t” he said.
Georgia Tech used a stifling defense and the strong inside presence of Sasha Goodlet, who scored 19 points, to seal the win.
“I thought that was a part of the chess match all day,” Miller said. “I thought we did a nice job switching her up on her defensively, but she is just such a big body.”
The Yellow Jackets pressed the entire 40 minutes of the ballgame to create 25 turnovers by the Falcons, and it was something that wore BGSU down.
“We aren’t used to being pressed like that for 40 minutes,” senior Lauren Prochaska said after her final game with the Falcons. “I thought we did alright handling it in the first half but you just get fatigued, and that is what happened to us.”
The intensive defensive pressure also created havoc for the Falcons once they got the basketball past half court. BGSU is used to a more team oriented offensive attack rather than the one on one style they were forced to play.
“We just aren’t used to having to drive the basketball all game,” sophomore guard Chrissy Steffen, who scored 16 points, said. “We are usually more team balanced and we aren’t used to that.”
Miller took Steffen’s remarks a step further.
“We actually got more layups around the basket today then we do against shorter and slower teams we face in conference,” he said.
Prochaska, who was clearly emotional after the game, received a standing ovation from the Falcon faithful who made the two hour trek south to Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
“I thought she was the best player on the floor tonight,” Miller said. “I know there were WNBA scouts here today watching her, and she was the best player out there.”
The Falcon’s all time leading scorer tacked 19 points on to her career totals in the orange and brown, but much to the chagrin of Prochaska and her fellow teammates, it was all for naught.
Senior guard Tracy Pontius had nine points to finish her career with the Falcons, while Maggie Hennegan, Jen Uhl, Jessica Slagle, Allison Papenfuss, and Danielle Havel all scored as well.
The loss to Georgia Tech caps off a tremendous run for six seniors on Miller’s squad. It was a stretch that saw them win 110 games in the class’s time at BGSU.
“I can’t say enough about this senior class,” he said. “They have been a pleasure to coach and I can’t believe that their time here is done.”
Miller got choked up when speaking about his seniors, referencing their tremendous character.
“They are not only hard workers on the court, but they are great people off it as well. It has been a joy to coach them.”
Miller and BGSU end the season 28-5 overall. This was the eleventh time in school history that the Falcons have played in the NCAA tournament. Georgia Tech will face the winner of the Ohio State/Central Florida game on Monday evening.