Women’s basketball suffers deja vu

Jason A. Dixon and Jason A. Dixon

A year ago, the women’s basketball team suffered a 20 point loss to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Saturday’s game was a microcosm of the events that occurred last season, as the Panthers outscored BG 27-14 over the last 15:22 of the first half to hand the Falcons a 77-52 defeat.

At first glance, it would have appeared that the Falcons could take advantage of the Panthers’ inexperience. UW-Milwaukee Head Coach Sandy Botham made a gutsy call, starting the game with five freshmen.

Kelly Kapferer started the scoring, followed by Tene Lewis’ basket that gave the Falcons a 9-8 lead. It would be the final lead that BG would have. Freshman Christine Guitierrez, who led the Panthers with 14 points, converted on a three-point play that made the score 14-9 at the 13:16 mark, before she and her freshmen counterparts gave way to the veterans.

The Falcons showed persistence throughout the first half, refusing to allow the game to be blown wide open. Stefanie Wenzel and Kapferer combined to score 12 points in the opening half, cutting the lead to 35-23 at intermission.

Both teams shot 38 percent during the half, but it was a 20-15 rebounding edge and numerous fast break points that gave the Panthers a 12-point advantage.

Head Coach Curt Miller felt that there were a lot of positives the Falcons could take into the half. However, he was disappointed in their inability to take advantage the freshmen early on.

“When we found out they were starting five freshmen, we took that as a slap in the face,” Miller said. “We wanted to come out and show that they were making a mistake, but we played down to their level and they took control.”

“I went with the freshmen because of the ineffectiveness of the upperclassmen in the last game,” Botham said. “I think the Falcons were frustrated when they were not able to take advantage of our freshmen”.

The Panthers began the second half with the same starting five, and with similar results. Karen Stocz, who scored all of her seven points in the half, and Wenzel’s game-high 15 points brought the Falcons to within 12 once again, at 57-45 with 10:29 remaining. The Panthers then used a 20-7 run to propel them to the victory and equal their record at 4-4.

The Falcons, who coming off of a tough overtime loss to Butler, shot only 34 percent from the field, committed 24 turnovers, and were out-rebounded 43-35. The loss put BG’s record at 2-6, and left Curt Miller searching for answers.

“We shuffled our rotation a bit last game, and that might be a strategy for us later on,” Miller said. “But right now, I’m just looking for the starters to step up.”

The Falcons end their pre-Christmas schedule against Wright State on December 15.

Tip-off is set for 1:00 at Anderson Arena.