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Kohler, Porter shine in BGSU debut

Paige+Kohler+passing+the+basketball
Drake Harlett
Paige Kohler passing the basketball

Bowling Green Women’s Basketball fans are used to seeing the likes of Lexi Fleming and Amy Velasco lead the stat categories for the team in each game, and they still were near the tops of many major stat categories Tuesday night.

But in this year’s season-opener, Falcon fans got to watch a pair of new Falcons shine bright when the team needed them the most.

Enter Paige Kohler and Erika Porter, who the two of them each collected 20 points en route to BGSU’s 89-86 win over Cleveland State.

“The first half, definitely a little nervous,” said Kohler. “But in the second half, just the trust from the coaching staff and the players just made me feel comfortable and I know that they trust me.”

Trust you they did Ms. Kohler. Trust you they did.

Kohler knocked down four three-point shots in the second half, en route to a 20-point leading performance in the points category. To go along with those 20 points, Kohler added five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.

But this is nothing new for the budding star. During her high school career at Olmsted Falls High School, Kohler helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2022-23 Division I state championship game.

“She’s just been very consistent and has been a leader of the freshmen,” said Olivia Hill. “She’s very vocal, taking charge, and just plays super hard and aggressive.”

That play was demonstrated in a brief example on Tuesday, but in high school, that style of leadership and play helped lead Kohler to being named a two-time All-Ohio First-Team selection, as well as being Cleveland.com’s Player of the Year last year.

So when you have that type of resume, you are going to have plenty of trust from your peers.

“What a lucky catch for us in getting Paige Kohler,” said head coach Fred Chmiel. “She makes those shots in practice all the time. I trust her to make those shots and make those types of decisions and she’s earned that through practice.”

Then there is the newest forward in Porter.

Porter ended the night with 20 points as well, adding seven rebounds and drawing seven fouls.

The senior forward came to BGSU after spending her freshman and sophomore seasons at Illinois and her junior season at Baylor.

As a freshman, the West Windsor, N.J. native saw action in 17 games and a pair of starts. She shot 52.4 percent from the field and was ranked second on the team in blocked shots.

In her sophomore year, Porter played in 23 games and made 12 starts for the Illini. She averaged 4.2 points and 2.3 boards in 13.0 minutes per game. She also led the team in blocks in the ’22-23 campaign, and scored a career-high 15 points in Illinois’ win over Wisconsin in the opening round of the 2022 Big Ten Tournament.

After transferring to Baylor, the numbers dipped a bit, but Porter still was able to play in 15 games for the Bears.

So you have these two, and add in Fleming, Velasco, the eventual return of Morgan Sharps, and the other pieces, and you have a team that showed glimpses of more magic that was created from just a season ago.

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

 

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