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September 21, 2023

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Slagle’s 19 points lead BG to 11th straight victory despite Miller’s absence

Jessica Slagle

Despite the absence of head coach Curt Miller, the BG women’s basketball team escaped Central Michigan, knocking off the Chippewas 77-72 in overtime.

With seven seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 62, senior Jessica Slagle blew by Jalisa Olive of CMU and laid it in off the glass for the 64-62 lead. Central Michigan pushed the ball up court quickly, where Taylor Johnson snuck past Danielle Havel of BG with the reverse layup to tie the game with 1.6 seconds remaining. Slagle then fired a half-court shot as time expired but fell short.

The Falcons executed in the beginning of overtime after back-to-back scores from a Slagle jumper and a Havel three-pointer, giving BG a five point lead. The Falcons never looked back and earned another Mid-American Conference victory.

“I always credit Central Michigan because they are a great team and they battled so hard today,” Slagle said. “But at that point [before overtime] we said we were going [to] execute and we are going to get every single rebound in this overtime. It was a great focus we came out with.”

BG, now 8-0 in MAC play and 18-3 overall on the season, has won 11 straight games, an impressive streak with a young team facing adversity.

“This was like the adversity bowl of 2012,” said coach Jennifer Roos, who took over as acting head coach for the contest. “The first thing I addressed to the team in the locker room was ‘welcome to Mt. Pleasant.’ This was an unbelievable environment. I think it rivals Anderson Arena.”

Miller missed his first game as head coach because of a minor stroke he suffered in this past Sunday’s victory against Eastern Michigan. He is day-to-day and his return to the hardwood is unknown.

BG led by as many as 11 in the first half and did not trail until the 4:51 mark in the second half. Slagle led the Falcons in scoring with 19 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds.

“I think everyone pulled their own weight and it was a huge growing up moment today,” Slagle said. “We took a little more control today than we usually do and it was nice to see that we could ‘do it’ too.”

Chrissy Steffen and Jasmine Matthews backed up Slagle with 14 points each. Danielle Havel also had 10 points to go with 12 rebounds for a double-double.

Central Michigan (4-4 12-10) had some missing faces as well, playing without its top three scorers: Crystal Bradford, Jessica Green and Jas’Mine Bracey. They were suspended for their role in a fight that took place on Wednesday night against Ohio.

“Central Michigan deserves a ton of recognition,” Roos said. “They had an incident that could have happened to any team and it’s an incident that they have taken care of and I respect the way they handled it.”

In a 45 minute game of constant momentum swings, the Falcons faced several obstacles. Plagued with foul trouble, BG was forced to have four of their five starters playing with four fouls in overtime and Havel eventually fouled out. Additionally, BG turned the ball over 20 times and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to the Chippewas.

Brandie Baker, who was doubtful to play because of a previous injury, led CMU with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Taylor Johnson also had 18 points and 10 rebounds as the two combined for 15 of the last 16 points for the Chippewas.

“Baker is incredibly talented,” Roos said. “We didn’t think she was going to play but she gutted it out, played hard and she really dominated the game at the end. I have to credit Brandie a lot and I have to credit Jas’Mine Matthews for digging in the way she did at the end.”

BG is back in action against Northern Illinois at the Stroh Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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