Even in a loss, the team pulled itself back into the game when needed

The BG-Notre Dame contest last night brought up reminders of a classic Al Pacino line from the movie “Godfather III”: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

With 10:20 left in the second half, Notre Dame guard Lindsay Schrader made the second of two free throws to bring the score to 59-49. Down 10 points and having all kinds of trouble getting off quality shots, BG was starting to look out of it.

But then the raucous Anderson Arena crowd stepped its cheering up a notch, and the Falcons pulled themselves back into the game.

The paid attendance of 2,322 continued to get louder and BG went on a 14-4 run to take the lead 64-63. With 5:50 left in the game, it was up for grabs. In overtime, BG would not be able to take the lead again, losing 86-84 on a last-second jump shot from guard Charel Allen.

The Falcons finished out, but barely.

Notre Dame came into the contest ranked No. 16 in the nation, outscoring their opponents by an average of 30.1 points this season. But throughout the game, BG showed that it wasn’t going to back down.

BG head coach Curt Miller was impressed with the talent level of the Irish.

“[Notre Dame] is what I believe is a team clearly that has a shot at the Final Four and clearly a team I think you’re going to see go into the Tennessee game here in another few weeks at 12-1 and be ranked in the top 10 in the country,” Miller said.

But through it all, yesterday’s loss didn’t seem to hurt as much as it built character.

The younger players grew up under fire and the veterans led the way. Point guard Kate Achter led the team in scoring with 20 points. Sophomore center Tara Breske added 10. For the underclassmen, guard Lauren Prochaska scored 18 points before fouling out and fellow freshmen Crystal Murdaugh and Tracy Pontius had 14 and nine points, respectively.

Miller was proud of his team’s effort.

“Unbelievable,” Miller said. “Unbelievable effort. They had some spurts where they could’ve folded and Notre Dame could have coasted to those common 30-plus point wins this year. But every time it looked like they were going to get out to a comfortable lead our kids dug deep and really got back into it.”

“It was a gutsy performance,” he added. “We learned a lot about ourselves tonight.”

The comeback from 10 points down showed that BG could hang with some of the best the country has to offer and pull themselves back into a game when they were down.

“I think it’s what our program’s all about,” Miller said. “That we don’t give up, we feel like we can play with a lot of people. We have such a special place here at Anderson Arena with the fans’ support, that even if we felt like quitting the fans weren’t going to let us quit tonight.”

“Our team motto going into the game was believing and playing with toughness and we can hang with anyone as long as we believe we can do it,” Achter said. “We’ve got a very talented team and don’t underestimate our will power to win.”