Orange out

Andrew Harner and Andrew Harner

According to, there are no former Mid-American Conference players on any of its teams’ rosters. The reason that matters is because BG coach Curt Miller said his team’s second WNIT opponent, Syracuse (17-14), has WNBA talent on its roster, something BG never had to deal with during its 28-4 run during the season. But, this won’t be the first time the Falcons have run into a larger opponent in postseason play. In the NCAA Tournament three seasons ago, Miller said his team was in much of the same situation. ‘When I watch [Syracuse], it’s reminiscent of a couple years ago when we played UCLA in the NCAA Tournament,’ Miller said. ‘They have incredible individual talent; kids that will be in the WNBA in the future.’ And while Lindsey Goldsberry is the only current Falcon to be on both teams, Miller and his staff will certainly have the team prepared to face the challenge. The first step for Miller is working on rebounding, as Syracuse is one of the better rebounding teams in the country. The Orange have grabbed 1,321 rebounds on the year, including 526 off the offensive glass. BG has gotten 1,163 rebounds but have allowed 437 offensive rebounds. In Wednesday night’s first round WNIT 90-65 win over Canisius, Syracuse outrebounded the Golden Griffins by 18 despite shooting 50 percent from the field. ‘When they play well, they’re certainly one of the top 50 teams in the country,’ Miller said. But as much emphasis Miller is putting on rebounding, he also knows Syracuse has several playmakers he needs to hone in on. The Orange’s top three players – Chandrea Jones, Erica Marrow and Nicole Michael – all will cause problems for the Falcons. Miller said Jones is excellent at creating her own shot whether it be inside or outside, which is evident in her 32 percent three-point shooting percentage and her 272 rebounds. Marrow is the team’s primary three-point threat hitting 62-of-197 shots, helping her average 15.9 points per game. And Michael presents the toughest matchup according to Miller. At 6’2′, she presents size not often seen in the MAC, and she makes 46.9 percent of field goals. ‘Nicole Michael is truly a WNBA player in the future, and for us is a really difficult match up because of her length,’ Miller said. Goldsberry, after watching Wednesday night’s game, also knows the Orange won’t be an easy opponent. ‘They’re an athletic team, and they’ll get up and down [the court],’ Goldsberry said. One thing BG has going its way is home-court advantage. While they haven’t been able to practice in Anderson Arena because of the high school boy’s basketball playoffs, the players, especially Goldsberry, are still relieved they can play a postseason game in front of a home crowd. ‘I’m really excited to be playing in Anderson again,’ Goldsberry said. ‘To be able to play again where it all started.’ Last season’s WNIT game at Anderson Arena drew just 1,654, but Miller expects to draw somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 for this game. The Falcons have drawn at least 2,000 fans in their last four home games, and the WNIT contest will tipoff at 2 p.m. Sunday.