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BG women’s basketball team faces Michigan in Iona University tourney

The BG women’s basketball team begins its 2013-14 season this weekend, traveling to New York for the Iona Tip-Off Tournament.

The Falcons will take on the University of Michigan in the first round on Friday, Nov. 8.

BG welcomes back seven letterwinners, including three starters, from a 2012-13 team that finished 24-11 overall and 11-5 in Mid-American Conference play. Last year’s squad finished second in the MAC East Division and advanced to the third round of the WNIT. This year’s team adds five new players to the roster, including four freshman and redshirt sophomore Erica Donovan. Donovan will see her first action after sitting out last year as a transfer from North Carolina State University. Freshman Leah Bolton is currently sidelined due to an injury.

​The Michigan Wolverines return only three letterwinners, including one starter, from a team who tied the program record for wins last year. The Wolverines finished 22-11 overall and 9-7 in the Big Ten Conference. UM returns just 11.6 percent of the team’s scoring from last season. Michigan leads the overall series with the Falcons 8-3, including wins over BG in the last two meetings. This is the first meeting between the teams in a decade and a half and marks the teams’ first-ever meeting at a neutral site.

BG Head Coach Jennifer Roos said the Michigan game will be a “fantastic matchup” because both teams are similar with welcoming many few faces. She said the Wolverines are a team they respect greatly that could still be riding the momentum from a successful season last year.

“Well, when they put on their jerseys, it still says ‘Michigan’, and they’re still in the Big Ten,” Roos said. “So, it doesn’t matter if they’re old or young, they have a tradition behind that name on their jersey.”

​In Friday’s second game, the University of Arizona plays Iona College at 6:30 p.m. The Falcons will then face either Arizona or Iona on Saturday, Nov. 9. The first game Saturday will begin at 1 p.m. and the second is at 3:30 p.m.

​Arizona finished 12-18 overall and 4-14 in Pac-12 Conference play last season. This year’s team welcomes back nine letterwinners and four starters from a year ago. The Wildcats lead the series with the Falcons 1-0. Their only meeting came in 2000, when Arizona handed BG its second-worst loss in program history, defeating the Falcons by 56 points.

​Iona returns eight letterwinners, including all five starters, from last year’s squad that finished 20-13 overall and 13-5 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Gaels advanced to the WNIT tournament last year but fell to Drexel, eventual tournament champions who also defeated the Falcons that year. The Falcons lead the series 2-0 against Iona, with their last meeting coming in 2005 where BG claimed a 62-45 victory.

​Roos said playing two games in two days will help prepare her team for their conference slate and the MAC tournament later in March. She added that the quick turnaround will test her team’s conditioning and depth, as well.

​“Any time you play back-to-back games, no matter when it is, it will be a rigorous two days for us,” Roos said.

​Friday’s game against Michigan will tip off at 4 p.m. Depending upon the outcome of that game, the Falcons will then face either Arizona at 1 p.m. or Iona at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.

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