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April 18, 2024

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Mikonowicz reaches 1,000 point mark as Rockets top Falcons 82-70 in Battle of I-75

Paige Kohler (10) shooting over the Toledo defender

Saturday was a day that for Bowling Green women’s basketball, was one that was quite literally a tale of two halves.

“I wouldn’t even say it operates in results, I think it operates in the quality and level of play,” said head coach Fred Chmiel postgame. “It was not there in the first half and it was in the second half.”

A tale of two halves is not an ideal recipe of success when going up against the Toledo Rockets, who used a strong first half to pull away from the Falcons and win 82-70 in part one of the “Battle of I-75” earlier Saturday afternoon.

The game got underway with Toledo coming out of the gates hot, going up 9-2 in the first quarter behind strong defense and efficient offense all around from the midnight blue and gold.

“They were definitely capitalizing on our turnovers,” said Paige Kohler. “It’s just kind of hard to come back from that when one thing is snowballing into another.”

BG had issues taking care of the ball and getting the orange through the net, recording 13 turnovers and shooting a meager 35.7%

However, the Falcons battled and made things tight in the first half, at one point making the score just a one point difference in the second quarter. However, a 16-4 run to end the opening half put BG behind by 15.

In the second half though, BG showed a bit of fight, as after going down by as much as 17, BG was able to cut the deficit down to seven at multiple instances.

But the day belonged to the Rockets, and in particular, Sammi Mikonowicz.

“Before she even got her 1,000th point, I was like ‘congratulations Sammi!’,” said Quinesha Lockett. “But at the line she just said ‘Q, I gotta make the free throw first.”

The senior from Rossford ended up registering her 1,000th career point in a 10 point, six rebound effort. Four Rockets total had double-figures in the points column, as Sophia Wiard led the way with 18, while Lockett had 15 and Nan Garcia had 11.

For the orange and brown, Kohler led the way in scoring with 22. Erika Porter had 18 points while Morgan Sharps had 12.

In case you were wondering why Amy Velasco’s name does not appear in the usual mention of double-digit scorers, this was due to her picking up two early fouls in the first quarter, as well as fouling out in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The senior ended with eight points and four assists.

“We just had to have other people step up and put themselves in positions that some are not used to,” said Kohler.

Anytime you can beat your rival, especially on your own floor is a special day.

“I’m really proud of our players for getting this victory,” Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop said. “It was a good game between two quality teams. One thing you can always count on with this rivalry is that it’s always the most attended women’s game in the MAC. We both have storied programs with strong winning traditions. I love this rivalry, it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

Meanwhile for BG, they are not taking any outside blame. Losses are done so because of a lack of handling their controllables.

“There was nobody happy about this in our locker room,” said Chmiel. “There was nobody who thought we played a great second half and that’s something to hold onto; I think that they really realize that we can be a better team. I think they know that we are trying to be a better team so we can be in that tournament in March.”

These two teams will meet each other in just a couple of weeks, as the Rockets fly into BG on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 6 PM at the Stroh Center.

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

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