Falcons need win at Miami to keep hopes of No. 1 seed alive

Paul Barney and Paul Barney

Already locking up their sixth consecutive Mid-American Conference East Division title in Saturday’s win against Kent State, the BG women’s basketball still has one more order of business before closing out the regular season tonight at Miami — to win the outright title.

At 23-6 overall and 13-2 in the MAC, Saturday’s win meant that BG will place no worse than the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament.

The Falcons could win the outright title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament today when they take on the RedHawks at 7 p.m.

And only a simple win will do the job.

The Falcons have never been known to use the words greedy or selfish in the locker room, but now may be an exception.

“If we were ever going to be greedy, it’s now time to be greedy,” BG coach Curt Miller said. “We don’t want to share that title. We know we have a piece of the title, now it’s playing for seeds.”

Essentially, a must-win at Miami is necessary for BG to move a step closer to move into the No. 1 seed, but it won’t be easy, even despite of the RedHawks’ 8-20 overall record with a 6-9 mark in conference play.

“Miami is a very underrated team,” Miller said. “I don’t think you can look at their record. They have some of the best talent individually in the league.”

Individually, freshman Courtney Osborn leads the RedHawks in scoring with 16.8 points per game, while also leading them in assists (4.1 apg) and steals (2.5 stp).

Following Osborn, Miami sophomores Maggie Boyer and Rachael Hencke are posting 10.7 and 9.6 points per game, respectively.

The Falcons won the last meeting with Miami, downing the RedHawks 85-65 on Jan. 19 — a game in which Tracy Pontius scored a season-high 27 points.

As the series shifts to Miami and Millett Hall, the RedHawks have won three of their last four home games, and will look to use that to their advantage in their matchup with BG.

Miami will not only look to end its season by winning four of their last five at home, but will also look to make it two in a row against the Falcons in Millett Hall.

Last season in Oxford, BG was held to just 40 points as the RedHawks pulled a 45-40 upset, ending the Falcons’ 25-game winning streak.

However, the Falcons have won their last four games by an average of 14.25 points per game, which is crucial as they move forward to the MAC Tournament.

“You want to be playing your best basketball going into the MAC Tournament, so for us to be still playing for something is important because it forces the kids to focus,” Miller said.