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BGSU vs Iowa takeaways: Fleming finally healthy? A great sign for Falcon fans

Drake Harlett
Lexi Fleming shoots a free throw against Cleveland State

Let’s be realistic for a moment: Bowling Green did not have much of a chance against a team like Iowa.

And no, it was not the Caitlin Clark storyline, but rather the depth, size, athleticism, and efficiency of a team like the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes that was too much for a mid-major team like the Falcons.

But what really was Saturday’s game? A chance to see someone make the effort put forth look respectable.

“When we put the schedule together, that was the plan; we want to test ourselves against the best,” said assistant coach Nick DiPillo. “We know that the MAC is a tremendously-deep league, so we want to test ourselves in big games on the road.”

I tell you what, even in the loss, some players still delivered highlight-worthy performances.

Lexi Fleming? She did that in a big way.

Fleming matched Clark in points with 24, while also leading the Falcons in rebounds with seven.

Remember, she is 5’5.

But the all-around performance from Fleming is encouraging to see, not because she wasn’t doing so in the past, but rather she’s doing so in elevated style.

Last year, watching Fleming sprint, dive, get tossed around the floor for 40 minutes was like watching a WWE “No Holds Barred” match; an absolute battle that will leave you battered, bruised, and exhausted.

Part of that is Fleming’s nature and competitive edge, but in my view, it was also a testament to her left knee still not being at full potential yet.

The senior from Cincinnati suffered a season-ending knee injury going into the 2021-22 basketball season after putting together a freshman campaign that earned her the title of being the 2020-21 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year.

After missing her sophomore season, during last season’s historic run, Fleming showed flashes of her freshman self, averaging nine points and four rebounds a night for the orange and brown, while also knocking down 51 three-point field goals and finishing fourth in the MAC in steals.

This year, the numbers have elevated themselves, as Fleming is averaging 17.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists a game. In fact, Fleming has only not reached double-digits one time this season (six points against Texas State).

So pair those numbers, alongside her natural leadership abilities, and you have a player who is poised to grab the reigns of the leadership role on this team.

“Lexi has been a great leader,” said head coach Fred Chmiel earlier this season. “Even during the summer, she’s brought that group together and she’s the reason why these freshmen are so tightly knit and engrained within our team.”

Fleming and the Falcons face Wright State next on Dec. 12 at 11 AM down in Dayton.

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

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    Dennis BlueDec 11, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    Had a chance to watch the Falcons-Iowa game. In addition to Lexi’s performance, several of last yrs team showed a great of improvement. Sophie and Olivia both look to be much improved, and against one of the best opponents they’ve seen thus far.
    Hope we’ll be able to get back to campus to see them live. If not well likely had over to Akron or Kent depending on weather of course.