Tall order for the Falcons

Kate Achter knows about UCLA’s fast-paced offense and its success from long range.

But the BGSU point guard is curious about at least one aspect of the Falcons’ first round opponent in the NCAA tournament.

“I don’t know what they feed them,” Achter said.

The answer apparently isn’t found in cafeterias at Mid-American Conference schools. The Falcons, who went unbeaten in the MAC before winning all three games in the league tournament, don’t usually come across guards who pull down 8.2 rpg like UCLA’s 6-foot Noelle Quinn. Nor are they forced to design a game-plan to stop 6-foot-4 forwards like the Bruins’ Lindsey Pluimer, who averages 10.8 ppg.

As in football, taller, larger players generally bypass opportunities at MAC universities to play in larger conferences.

“We build our program to win MAC championships and not national championships, and you can get away with undersized post players in our league,” said BG coach Curt Miller.

BG will face possibly the most height its’ seen all season when it meets the fifth-seeded Bruins at approximately 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Purdue University. UCLA, 20-10 and winners of the Pac-10 tournament, has a roster packed with eight players 6-foot or taller, including three who stand at 6-4. BG, contrarily, has just five players at 6-feet or taller, and three of them come off the bench.

“We haven’t seen that type of size in [the MAC],” said BG forward Ali Man.

Fortunately, for BG, four of the Bruins’ 6-footers aren’t critical components in terms of the stat sheet. Emma Tautolo (6-2), Consuelo Lezcano (6-4), Brittany Ringel (6-1) and Julia Pitts (6-2) combine for an average of just 1.4 ppg. Still, Miller would rather not allow UCLA’s height to become a major factor, something he thinks can be done if the Falcons can keep up with the Bruins’ tempo.

“Certainly we can’t get into a talent match-up on a one-on-one game with them, but we’ll try to come with the team concept that we’ll do what we do best and try to keep the floor spread and attack offensively,” Miller said.

Though the Falcons haven’t faced many teams that compare in size to UCLA, they regularly scrimmage against a squad comprised of men from the University.

“They’ve done a great job of preparing us the whole year for athletic, big teams,” Achter said.

Notes: Achter, like most of the Falcons, probably tuned into yesterday’s first round of the NCAA mens’ tournament. But Achter, who grew up in nearby Oregon, Ohio, spent many March days taking in the women’s tournament. “Watching Tennessee go 39-0 [in 1997-98], that’s what I remember most about college basketball when I was younger,” he said….BG forward Jessica McKenzie spent last year watching the Falcons on TV in the NCAA women’s tournament just days after her West Muskingum team was eliminated from the OHSAA tournament. “When they went to the NCAA tournament it was like, ‘Wow, I’m going there next year.'”