Despite second half lapse, Falcons surge to 71-59 victory

OXFORD, Ohio – Over the past three seasons, the BGSU women’s basketball team has enjoyed continued success. It may not have been possible without the help of their five juniors.

Since the arrival of Ali Mann, Liz Honegger, Carin Horne, Megan Thorburn and Amber Flynn, the Falcons are a combined 69-20 over three seasons of 21 wins or more. There are not too many people wondering why.

The players have helped bring BG to its best record since the 1986-87 season. They’re only two wins away from reaching the 27-2 record that was reached that year.

One reason the players have been so important is that between the five of them, only one game has been missed. Attendance has been a key for the team since every player has a defined role.

“They’re all special and they’re all huge pieces of the puzzle,” said BG coach Curt Miller. “We’d be a little lost without them.”

Ali Mann has left many opponents with no answers this season, averaging 14.7 ppg on her way to joining the 1,000 point club. She has also put in a lot of work on the boards, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game. On top of that, her presence on the perimeter is consistent – she is shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc.

“We’re a real close-knit class of juniors and we just expect big things,” Mann said. “We don’t know anything but winning. We pride ourselves on coming out and playing hard every night.”

Another stand-out is Liz Honegger. She also reached the 1,000 point milestone this season by averaging 13.3 ppg. Honegger, like her teammate Mann, is a threat inside with 7.8 rebounds per game, as well as outside, shooting nearly 35 percent from long range.

“It’s awesome, coming in freshman year, I didn’t have a lot of expectations for myself,” said Honegger. “We definitely wanted to get the program back to that winning tradition though.”

Carin Horne has provided the Falcons with a solid starter this season, as she was able to average 12 ppg. She does well on the defensive end as well, averaging more than two steals per game, which leads the team.

Megan Thorburn has helped the team tremendously as well. She has played in every game and started fifteen of them. Her 41 percent 3-point shooting has played a big part in the team’s success, and it continued last night against the Redhawks as she buried three shots from long distance during the second half.

Not to be forgotten is BG’s most effective reserve, Amber Flynn.

She averages only 12.2 minutes a game but manages 4.8 ppg in that time. Flynn is also a presence inside, as she averages 2.9 rebounds per game as well. Her effectiveness is also important, she is shooting nearly 55 percent on the year from the field.

The juniors have enjoyed their success so far, with two trips to the MAC Championship game in their three years. The first trip was their freshman year and the second trip was last year, which they won, earning them a trip to the NCAA Tournament. This year they’ve amounted a perfect 16-0 conference record, and a 25-2 record overall. They are only the fifth team to go undefeated in MAC history.

“It’s the class that put us on the map,” Miller said. “It’s certainly the class that our program is built around.”