Who’s Next?

The drama that is March Madness will be playing out this Sunday for the BG women’s basketball team as the Falcons look to advance out of the first round of the NCAA tournament against a resurgent Oklahoma State team.

BG (29-3), coming off its third consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament championships, hopes to complete the resumes of the most successful senior class in school history by getting the group its first win in the Big Dance.

“Just to be in the NCAA tournament is always exciting because it gives us a chance to prove who we are as a team and what we can do,” said senior forward Megan Thorburn. “Our goal is to win a game and go past the first round because as a senior class we haven’t done that.”

To advance to the second round, BG will have to get past an Oklahoma State (20-10) team that turned around a 6-22 overall and 0-16 record in the Big 12 last season to earn its first invitation to the NCAA tournament since 1996.

The Cowgirls are led by senior forward Rashidat Sadiq with 12.8 points per game and Big 12 freshman of the year, point guard Andrea Riley.

OSU made a good case for NCAA inclusion with an 8-8 conference record, including going 6-0 against the Big 12’s North schools.

“Oklahoma State is very talented, and we knew they would be coming out of the Big 12,” said BG coach Curt Miller. “They’ve certainly had a big turnaround and belong in the tournament.”

Adding to the excitement for the Falcons is the fact that team will be playing its opening and possible second round game close to home on the campus of Michigan State University. Two of the Falcons’ senior starters, Ali Mann (Chelsea, Mich.) and Thorburn (Mason, Mich.), are Michigan natives. Freshman Tara Breske (Temperance, Mich.) also hails from the state of Michigan.

This close proximity for the BG team, according to Miller, can be both a good and a bad thing.

“The great thing is the fans can travel up there, the bad news is everybody is in contact with us and hounding us for tickets with the masses that are going to be traveling up there. We just have to keep our team focused on what we need to do to win the game,” Miller said.

BG, a seven seed, would face the winner of two-seed Vanderbilt and 15-seed Delaware State if they beat Oklahoma State on Sunday.

Tip-off for the game with the Cowgirls is at 2:30 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN.