Women’s basketball team defeated Miami University and won the MAC East Division Championship

Tara Jones and Tara Jones

With a Wednesday afternoon win, the Falcons have clinched the Mid-American Conference East Division outright.

The Falcons will try to continue their MAC success on the road in Akron Saturday.

BG also secured no worse than a second seed for the MAC Tournament and are currently tied with Central Michigan University for the top seed in the MAC Tournament. With that seeding, the Falcons earned a triple-bye automatically into the semifinal round of the tournament Friday, March 14.

With the Falcons’ 73-56 win over Miami in Oxford Wednesday, BG advances to 26-3 overall and 16-1 in MAC play.

BG head coach Jennifer Roos said the Miami team they faced Wednesday was different than the team the Falcons faced at the Stroh Center Feb. 9, where BG won 91-45.

Roos said their first half in Oxford was her team’s worst half to date this season, as they were being outsmarted by the home team.

“I’m proud of our effort, especially in the second half because we were taking care of the ball, we finished the game with nine turnovers, we won the free throw battle going 21-of-24 and we made more threes than they did,” Roos said. “That’s a good combination at the end of the day when you’re still not playing your best, yet you’re able to win those three categories.”

Both teams started ice-cold from the field, combining to miss nine shots in the first two minutes of the game. It was then realized the women were using a men’s basketball for the opening minutes. The first shot taken with the correct ball was the first made shot of the game, a Miami three pointer at the 17:46 mark.

The Falcons put up just three points until 10 minutes into the first half when junior Deborah Hoekstra hit a shot from behind the arc to cut Miami’s lead in half, setting the score at 12-6. The Falcons then began to find their rhythm and inched closer to the RedHawks throughout the end of the half, going on a 22-8 run. From then on, the Falcons would begin to pull away from Miami, leading the RedHawks by double digits for the majority of the second part of the final half.

Redshirt senior Alexis Rogers led all players with 21 points and also recorded six steals on the night. Senior Jillian Halfhill and Hoekstra finished with 15 points each. Halfhill added a game-high six assists and also committed no turnovers in the match.

With the Miami game behind them, the Falcons will travel to Akron on Saturday, March 8, to take on the 20-8 Zips at 2 p.m.

The Zips are currently right behind BG in the East Division standings, sitting at second place with a 14-3 conference record, but the matchup in Akron could help determine the Falcons’ fate come time for tournament seeding. Also with a win in Akron the Falcons will claim a share of the MAC Regular Season Championship.

Akron comes into the game on a 13-game winning streak and BG enters on a 12-game winning streak.

The Zips’ conference wins at home include Ball State, Kent State, Ohio, Buffalo, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois and Miami. Their wins on the road are at Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Kent State and Buffalo.

Akron’s three conference losses came at home to Central Michigan and on the road to Miami and BG. The Falcons defeated the Zips earlier this season on Jan. 12 at the Stroh Center by a score of 81-65.

Saturday in Akron will also be Senior Day for the Zips, the conference’s hottest team according to Roos.

“They’re the hottest team in the conference right now,” Roos said. “They’re on the longest winning streak, they’re extremely difficult to play at home, they’ve changed their defensive philosophy mid-season and their kids have bought in.”