Holding off the Flashes

Andrew Harner and Andrew Harner

It took the Falcons (4-2) awhile to get ahead of St. Francis (Penn.) last night at Anderson Arena, and once they did, it took plenty of effort to keep it that way.

Taking the lead for good with 3:14 left in the first half, the women’s basketball team had to fight hard the rest of the way, holding off a pesky Red Flash (0-5) team 77-72.

Junior guard Lauren Prochaska said the team didn’t have the energy it needed to be as successful as it was last season against St. Francis, a game the Falcons won 98-76.

‘From that start, we didn’t have the energy we needed. We came out kind of flat, and they came right at us,’ Prochaska said. ‘We just came out not ready and throughout the whole game we were lacking energy.’

Committing 26 turnovers didn’t help either.

‘To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement,’ said coach Curt Miller. ‘I’m really disappointed with how we played. We had 26 turnovers against them last year. We had 26 turnovers against them this year.

‘Last year, I thought their full court pressure bothered us. Today, I thought we did a really, really poor job of getting the ball inside.’

Getting the ball inside isn’t the typical playing style for the Falcons, as they were shooting 43.9 percent from the 3-point line coming into the game. But knowing St. Francis was going to strongly contest ball screens, Miller had to change his offensive gameplan since the majority of Falcon 3-point shots are created by using ball screens.

‘They weren’t going to give you any threes behind ball screens, so our threes were going to come off penetrate and kick, off some off-ball screens and motion,’ Miller said. ‘We weren’t going to get the amount of threes tonight, and we knew that coming into the game by the way they defend ball screens.

‘With that said, we still have to hunt for those threes, and they can come in different ways.’

BG did not do that in the first half. After three early attempts all missed, the Falcons abandoned the 3-point shot altogether.

The Falcons did find four 3-pointers in the second half, including two late in the game that helped seal the victory. Both those shots ‘- one for Prochaska and one for junior guard Tracy Pontius ‘- came off a penetrate and kick play.

But having to get the ball to the post was the root of the Falcons’ problem, as the team passed the ball out of bounds far too many times as they tried to post up.

‘We just had trouble getting into the post. That’s something we’ve been working on in practice, but obviously tonight we did not do a very good job,’ Prochaska said. ‘Twenty-six turnovers; I don’t think a coach can be pleased with that.’

One thing Miller was happy about though was his team’s improved rebounding. All the inside shots allowed his team to earn 15 offensive rebounds, and BG also played well on the defensive side, grabbing 33 rebounds.

The latter number was aided by 15 missed 3-pointers from St. Francis. But their 10 makes were another area of concern for the coach.

‘Our goal was four made threes tonight, and they obviously made 10,’ Miller said. ‘We wanted them to go two by two by two.’

The team now has a quick turnaround as they travel to Nashville on Friday to face No. 16 Vanderbilt (6-0).