Falcons complete three-peat with victory over Ball State

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Three in a row.

BG shot 61 percent from the field and held Ball State to 34 percent on their way to a 67-53 victory in the MAC Tournament Championship, their third straight.

The winning feeling is familiar for the team, but the season has not been as easy to get through as seasons past. BG has lost two players to ACL tears and their backup point guard left the team just two weeks ago. The Falcons have used primarily a 7-player rotation the last four games.

“I’m running out of things to say about this team,” said BG coach Curt Miller. “Everybody counted us out with our depth and our adversity that we had undergone.”

Nothing has stopped BG though. A great day for their senior leader, their floor general, their unsung hero and the “best sixth man ever” translated into a walk in the park for the Falcons.

Ali Mann scored 20 points and pulled off five rebounds. She showed a little range by going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc which was needed with Liz Honegger’s limited ability.

Kate Achter poured in 18 points, pulled down six boards, had seven assists and two steals. She played all 40 minutes today and had a total of five combined minutes of rest during the tournament games.

Carin Horne earned tournament MVP honors with an 11-point, five-rebound performance and averaged 17 points in three tournament games. She has scored double-digits in every MAC Championship game for the last four years.

“[She’s a] big time player in big time games, loves that atmosphere, loves the ball in her hands,” Miller said.

Amber Flynn came off the bench for BG and as usual she added a spark. The senior scored 10 points and had seven rebounds. She was also a force on defense with two blocks, two steals and did a great job defending tough post players Julie DeMuth and Lisa Rusche. DeMuth scored just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting. It was the fourth time this season that she did not score in double figures. Rusche had eight points.

The Falcons thanked their scouting report for their ability to shut down the Cardinals inside.

“We were able to get player tendencies down to a tee,” Achter said.

BG more or less employed an inside-out strategy by shutting down the post. Without inside scoring, the Cardinals were forced to take a lot of jump shots and contested lay ups. They finished the game 18-of-53 and had 16 turnovers.

The Falcons automatically move on to the NCAA Tournament. They will find out who and where they play Monday night. As easy as it is to enjoy the conference championship, BG plans to remain focused.

“One game at a time. We’ve got to wait it out and see who we’re going to play and prepare like any other game,” Achter said.