MAC WBB Semi-finals: Falcons top Cardinals, set up Battle of I-75 in MAC Championship

Artie Abrego, Sports Reporter, Falcon Media Sports Network

The Bowling Green Falcons defeated the Ball State Cardinals 70-61 to advance to the finals of the MAC tournament.  

The opening minutes of the first quarter was tightly contested for both teams, with BG scoring 11 and Ball State scoring 12 in the opening five minutes of the matchup. 

MAC Defensive Player of the Year Nyla Hampton was a huge piece during BG’s 11-point start, scoring four points and grabbing two offensive rebounds on a single possession, which led to an Elissa Brett three for the Falcons.  

The Cardinals held the lead in the second quarter for almost the entire half, even going on a nine-point run to begin the half. BG would battle back, snapping their scoreless streak with a Lexi Fleming layup, and towards the end of the quarter, Amy Velasco hit a three that tied the game, 31-31.  

After a three-point play from Ball States Hana Muhl and a Thelma Dis Agustsdottir layup, BG went into halftime down 34-31 to the Cardinals.  

The Falcons had many struggles heading into the second half, having a 35.5% shooting percentage, 11 personal fouls, and nine turnovers. Hampton, Velasco, and Jocelyn Tate led the team in scoring, each with six points. 

Coming out of the break, BG dominated the third quarter, scoring 19 points in the quarter and not allowing any Ball State points for nearly five minutes. The orange and brown went into the fourth up 50-44. 

Bowling Green ran away with the game in the fourth quarter. The Falcons scored 20 points in the fourth, 11 of those points from Brett and six from senior forward Allison Day. 

Brett finished with 16 points, 11 coming from the fourth quarter, and went 4/7 from three, three of the four coming during the fourth quarter. Tate was dominant on the defensive end, recording three steals and two blocks.  

Ball State senior Anna Clephane led the Cardinals in scoring with 20 points on 9/18 shooting.  

Bowling Green Head Coach Robyn Fralick is excited for the hometown communities about the opportunity to play Toledo in the MAC Championship

 “I think all of Northwest Ohio is thrilled. We both have great fanbases, and we both got storied programs,” Fralick said. “Coming off that last game, I think will have some things to learn. It’s a quick turnaround, and our time between now and our tipoff will be really important”.  

 There will be another chapter in the Battle of I-75, as BG battles Toledo in the tournament championship game on Saturday, starting at 11 am. Coverage of the game can be heard on WBGU 88.1 FM, with Brandon Loe and Steve Iwanek on the call starting around 10:50.

For more information about the team, visit the athletics webpage.