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BGSU women’s basketball defeats Butler University 61-57 in closing seconds

The BG women’s basketball team made a second half comeback in Indianapolis on Monday, Nov. 18 to come away with a 61-57 victory over Butler. The Bulldogs made a last-minute run at the Falcons, but BG was able to hold them off for the win.

The Falcons advance to 4-0 on the early season with the win over Butler, giving them their best start to a season since they started 6-0 in the 2007-08 season.

BG Head Coach Jennifer Roos said Butler made the Falcons “look silly” on the glass in the first half. The Bulldogs out-rebounded BG 25-14 in the first half. Butler especially dominated in the offensive rebound category, totaling 12 to BG’s 5 in the half. Roos said that her team was much slower than Butler in the first half.

“We haven’t had a team be outhustled honestly, in my opinion, in a really really long time and we were in the first half, and we just looked slower,” Roos said.

The focus at halftime for her team was on rebounding and playing with more of a sense of urgency to provide the Falcons with the burst of energy they needed to battle back in the second half.

“It was a big point of emphasis to talk about rebounding at halftime, but it was night and day difference between first half and second half,” Roos said.

The Falcons came out strong in the second half, taking a 32-31 lead over Butler with just under 16 minutes left to play. BG increased the lead to 10 less than three minutes later, but Butler continued to challenge the Falcons’ lead through the end of half. The Bulldogs battled back to tie the game in the final minutes with a single free throw. Butler then missed its second free throw attempt that could have given them the lead, and Falcon Jill Stein grabbed the rebound. BG’s possession ended in an Erica Donovan layup to give the Falcons the lead with 27.8 seconds left.

Coach Roos said the next 25 seconds “felt like an eternity.” Butler had three different out-of-bounds possessions after consecutive Falcon attempts at the ball that knocked it out of bounds. The Bulldogs got the ball in bounds and put up a shot from behind the arc that BG’s Donovan blocked. Miriam Justinger grabbed the ball for the Falcons and immediately got fouled with just 0.6 seconds left. Justinger converted on two free throws to secure the 61-57 win for the Falcons. Roos said this game was a “huge gut check” for the Falcons to play so well in the second half after they were so tired.

“I’m happy to get out of here with a win because this is a game that the way Butler played in the first half, got me really nervous,” Roos said. “If we didn’t make some changes after halftime, we were going to be in trouble. The team stepped up and made those changes and played with that sense of urgency like I talked about, for us to secure the victory.”

The Falcons will travel to Columbus for the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge at Value City Arena this weekend. BG will face Marist College on Friday, Old Dominion University on Saturday, and the host team The Ohio State University on Sunday.

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