Defense anchors BG in victory

If defense wins championships, then the Falcons are off to a heck of a start on the road to another MAC Championship.

After an offseason full of hard work, hunger and high expectations, BG made a statement against Detroit-Mercy in a 68-37 victory.

With a stout defensive performance, the Falcons held Detroit to a meager 24.5 percent shooting for the night.

“We wanted to force them to make shots,” said BG coach Curt Miller. “We want people to have to work very hard to make shots against us. And certainly, we did a good job of making Detroit work, and did not allow them to make very many shots.”

Detroit-native Jasmine McCall had a very active night on both ends. She had four steals to go with four assists and a pair of boards. Her defensive prowess provided a spark off the bench on the defensive end for the Falcons.

“I thought Jasmine McCall may have played the best game of her BGSU career tonight,” Miller said. “She played with a composure that we didn’t always see during her freshman year, had some nice passes and was disruptive in the passing lanes on defense.”

The Titans woes began late in the first half – the last field goal they converted was at the 7:02 mark. That was a three-pointer by Kandace Evans that brought the Titans within five at 21-16. The rest of the half was not so kind to Detroit, which was only able to convert three free throws the rest of the way to make it 37-19 at the break after a 16-3 Falcons run.

The Falcons were also helped out by 21 points off of 25 Detroit turnovers. The Titans only scored two points off the 13 Falcon turnovers. BG also outscored Detroit in the paint 26-10 and 8-4 on the fast break.

“It is always fun to get some ‘easy’ points,” said forward Megan Thorburn. “We knew we had to increase the intensity, and once you get one [transition basket], they can just keep coming. We mainly just tried to push the ball up the floor. That’s always our main focus – push the ball and make smart passes.”

BG’s depth was another aspect that helped their case. Their bench outscored the Titans bench 25-4. Leading the way for the reserves were Whitney Taylor with 10 points and Amber Flynn with nine.

“Certainly, the play of our bench, between Amber [Flynn], Whitney [Taylor] and Jazz [McCall] gave us a huge lift in the first half,” Miller said. “They really got us going.”

Bench play will be one of BG’s strong points this season, with their depth able get the team out of tight spots.

“I knew that we could play as a team, with a little more intensity,” Flynn said. “It was a little dead out there, and I just tried to provide a spark.”

The leading scorers for BG were Ali Mann and Carin Horne who each had 11 points despite shooting a combined 5-15. Thorburn chipped in 10 points and Liz Honegger added nine for BG.

Flynn had eight boards and Horne had six. Despite the great defensive performance, the Falcons only out-rebounded the Titans 39-36.

BG is in South Bend tonight for a 7 p.m. game against Notre Dame.