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Cleveland State commits technical foul in final seconds, BGSU wins in season-opening thriller

Drake Harlett
Olivia Hill and Paige Kohler chest-bump after Kohler knocks down a three against Cleveland State.

Does anyone else remember the infamous 1993 NCAA National Championship between North Carolina and Michigan, where former Wolverine-turned NBA great Chris Webber tried to call a timeout and received a technical foul?

Well folks, that situation happened again Tuesday night at the Stroh Center during Bowling Green Women’s Basketball’s season-opening 89-86 win over the Cleveland State Vikings.

The game was certainly one of those that for many, including new head coach Fred Chmiel, felt like an NCAA Tournament classic.

“It was an NCAA-type tournament game,” said Chmiel postgame. “It was that type of intensity; I’m just glad we came out on the right side.”

Getting to that point was certainly not the easiest thing to do tonight for the Falcons, as the Vikings came out of the gates red hot.

In the first quarter, the Vikings ran out to a quick 13 point lead, dominating on the offensive end with a near 71% shooting percentage and jumping out to a 28-15 start.

However in the second, that is when the tides started to turn a bit for BG, as they held CSU to just a meager 21% shooting, while ending the first half themselves with a near 45% shooting percentage.

Then the second half started.

A tale of back and forth, which featured true freshman Paige Kohler out of Olmsted Falls, Ohio knock down four three point shots, as well as the takeover of Baylor transfer Erika Porter inside, led the ability for BG to reclaim a lead after trailing by as much as 17 in the game.

But what people really remember? The final seconds.

After a timeout, junior point guard Amy Velasco inbounded the ball near Bowling Green’s bench, who received a pass after a couple around the arc, and found the glass to aid her in a wild three-point shot with 11.7 seconds to go.

CSU inbounded the ball to junior Colbi Maples, who was fouled with 9.1 seconds remaining.

Maples, however, missed both free-throw tries, and the Vikings were forced to commit a foul after a BG defensive rebound off the second miss.

Following all of that, Kohler inbounded the ball for BG and drove the length of the court to the rim, where she was fouled with 1.9 seconds to go.

Pressure of the game on the line, with BG down 86-85 at this point, Kohler made her first free throw to tie the game, but the second shot rattled off of the rim.

CSU’s Destiny Leo, off this miss, ended up grabbing the rebound and attempted to call timeout.

The problem was? The Vikings were out of timeouts.

This led to an automatic team technical foul, where senior Lexi Fleming sunk a pair of free throws to give BG the 88-86 lead, where after a few quick fouls, BG ended with the win after Velasco sank one final free throw.

All the madness of the game, and yet, it did not surprise Chmiel at all.

“The heart, the tenacity that they play with, and it’s not just the game, it’s everyday in practice,” said Chmiel. “I mean every single day they bring it. It’s rare that I ever say anything about effort; their heart is in it 100% and they earned that win.”

In the debut of the new-look Falcons, a pair of new faces cracked the 20-point mark in their first career game as a Falcon, as Kohler and Porter each racked up 20 points apiece. Fleming added 19, while Velasco had 16 to go along with a game-high eight assists.

“I think our heart was so in it. We were down four, and we didn’t quit playing,” Kohler said. “We focused on that in practice, the play’s never over until the whistle blows. I think we kept our hearts in it and played hard all the way through.”

With Fleming and Velasco, part of last year’s magical run, back in the rotation again for the orange and brown, the team is continuing to expect great things.

“That team (CSU) won their conference tournament last year, so it feels good for us that we can beat a great team that we know that all of our hard work that we’ve put in has been put to good use,” Fleming said. “Tonight, we showed it to our fans, and that’s just what you can ask for.”

For the Vikings, the loss stings for a team that played such a tough and well-played game. Maples and Leo combined for 60 of CSU’s 86 points, while Carmen Villalobos added 11 points.

BG returns to the floor on Saturday afternoon down in the lone star state, as the Falcons travel to face Texas State. Join Falcon Media Sports Network’s Brandon Loe on 88.1 FM WBGU, as he has the call from San Marcos starting at 1:45 p.m. EST.

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).


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