Falcons continue to embrace underdog role in tournament

Since his own playing career, Curt Miller has loved to take the role of the underdog. This weekend will be no different.

“We love that underdog role. It’s kind of my makeup, too. I kind of will that onto the players that we need to continue to play to those strengths,” Miller said.

This week’s favorite is Arizona State. The No. 3-seeded Sun Devils have had two close calls so far in the tournament against California-Riverside and Louisville.

The Sun Devils have just two double-digit scorers, but have four others that average nine or more points. Their point guard, Briann January, averages 37 percent shooting from 3-point range and has 131 assists to just 76 turnovers.

No. 8 Arizona State is 30-4 on the season. Three of their losses came to conference foe Stanford and the other was to No. 1-seeded Tennessee. It’s an impressive resume for a team ranked one spot above BG’s last opponent, Vanderbilt.

“From afar I’ve always really respected their program,” Miller said about the Sun Devils. He doesn’t take any stock in the fact they were nearly upset in the early rounds. “They eventually wore both opponents down and were able to win down the stretch.”

That may actually be something for BG to worry about. They only have been playing seven players in the tournament and point guard Kate Achter has not had a minute of rest in either game.

The Sun Devils on the other hand have 10 players that average double-digit minutes. BG will most likely have to try to slow the game down to a reasonable pace like they did against Vanderbilt.

The Falcons have given up an average of 61 points so far in the tournament and scored 65.5. The Sun Devils average 62 points on offense and 54 on defense.

One thing that has the Falcons a little worried is the fact that Arizona State hasn’t played since Monday night. BG on the other hand finished up the second round just shy of midnight on Tuesday. That left the Sun Devils with an extra day.

“Arizona State got an extra day to prepare for us, an extra day to scout, an extra day to rest,” Miller said.

These are all just reasons for BG to call themselves the underdog though. It’s a role they love to take on.

“We’ll take it and put it in our pocket and try to use it as motivation to again over achieve and take another step,” Miller said. “We will handle the adversity and handle what we view as an unfair competitive advantage for Arizona State.”

For BG it’s all history from this point on. The Falcons are the first MAC team on the women’s side to advance as far as they have. Every win from this point on does more and more to squash any arguments about whether or not they’re the best MAC team ever. They’ve got dreams of their own though.

“We want to be that team that takes the whole thing if we can,” laughed Ali Mann, who has made a big shot down the stretch in each tournament game.

The way things are going, anything is possible for the Falcons. And as for being underdogs –

“We’re taking it and we’re running,” Achter said smiling.