All good things must come to an end: BGSU falls in Fab 4 to Columbia 77-70

Steve Iwanek, Sports Content Director

Steve Iwanek, Sports Content Director, Falcon Media Sports Network

It was even louder than Monday’s crowd.

The stakes were even higher than Monday’s game.

But after a war between two talented programs, Bowling Green fell just a bit short.

BGSU women’s basketball fell to the Columbia Lions last night at the sold-out Stroh Center, 77-70, in the Fab 4 of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

The game started off very slow for the Falcons, as the Lions were able to jump out to a 23-7 start early in the first quarter.

However, a 12-0 run to end the first made things more competitive at 23-19 heading into the second quarter.

A huge three point shot from senior Elissa Brett to end the first half made it 43-36 at the half.

In the second half, the theme of the first continued to play out, with BG able to make mini-runs, but never could get over the hump of going on an extended run to take the lead on the Lions.

At the end of the day, a 20% shooting night from beyond the arc (5-25), along with a -13 differential in the rebounding (47-34 Columbia), led the way for the blue and white to their berth into the WNIT Championship on Saturday.

Even with the return of Nyla Hampton, who missed the previous two tournament games with an ankle injury, Amy Velasco once again got the start and shined bright.

Velasco finished the night with a team-high 19 points, while adding in five assists and a pair of steals.

Lexi Fleming once again was Ms. Do-Everything, racking up 15 points while also pitching in seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.

The shooting woes for Elissa Brett just were not able to be fixed at the halftime break, as the senior finished with a tough 3-21 shooting night, an uncharacteristic performance for a player who led the way in scoring all year long for BG.

For Columbia, the two-headed monster of Abbey Hsu and Kaitlyn Davis was overwhelming for the Falcon defense.

Hsu led the way with 21 points, while Davis finished three assists shy of a triple-double, ending the night with 19 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.

Bowling Green ends the year with a 31-7 record, with 31 wins tying a school and Mid-American Conference record.

But even with all of that, seeing the community rally around the program for this postseason run was something that everyone inside the team was honored to witness.

“The things these kids have done, night in and night out, what our team’s been able to do is incredible, and with a lot of adversity,” Head Coach Robyn Fralick said. “Just really, really proud to coach them. I’m proud of the way our community has come together.”

With the team receiving so much support, it also reinforced the joy that the team brought not only to BG, but to each other.

“I talked with Sophie Dziekan the other day about how we have just found the joy in basketball again,” Junior Lexi Fleming said. “Not that we really lost it, but this team really showed and we really came together. It was so much fun, going to practice wasn’t ever a chore, gamedays were unbelievable, and we knew that when we went out there, we were going to give 100%, and it paid off by selling out Stroh.”

Now, the Bowling Green community waits to see what is next for those in the program.

Prior to the game, reports came out from the Detroit News saying Fralick is a top candidate for the open head coaching position at Michigan State University, a school she grew up five minutes away from.

If any breaking news happens, we will keep you updated on the situation.

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