Midseason Review: Womens Basketball

Evan Hayes and Evan Hayes

With three games remaining in their nonconference schedule, the start of the season for the Bowling Green State University Women’s Basketball team has been up and down. Sitting at 4-4, the Falcons’ strengths and weaknesses have been on full display.

After winning their two opening games in one weekend at home against Illinois State and Bradley, the Falcons dropped a pair of close games away from the Stroh Center against Cincinnati and Davidson. They followed those performances with a neutral court overtime win against Jacksonville State before returning home for a comfortable win over Evansville.

Their past two road games, however, have been blowout losses. The first came at Cleveland State by 21 points, and their most recent game at ACC opponent Virginia ended in a 29-point thumping.

The Falcons’ weaknesses have been apparent, as they have struggled in their losses to find offense. In particular, they have struggled running offensive sets and break opposing teams’ presses.

“We have a thousand press breakers, maybe we have too many. But I am completely baffled why we cannot get the ball inbounds,” head coach Jennifer Roos said after the match against Evansville. “We work on that against our practice squad, we skeleton it; we have drilled it so much. That has been an Achilles heal for us, and it’s very disappointing.”

While struggling to bring the ball up against a press has buried the Falcons in losses like the one at Virginia, their offensive execution has also been shaky. In their four losses this season, the Falcons have shot below 39 percent from the field while averaging 19 turnovers a game.

In the games they have won, the Falcons have used their ball screen offense to pound the ball inside. They have shot 46 percent from the field in those games and have executed much better offensively.

“Our goal, to be completely honest, is to play twenty-eight good minutes,” Roos said. “Twenty-eight really solid minutes, where the crowd will be like, ‘Wow that’s great execution’, or we made the extra pass.”

The Falcons focus has been on post play, trying to work the ball inside and then out. This was evident in their wins against Evansville and Jacksonville State with the 3-point shot helping them pull out victories. Kicking out from the post allowed them to average 10.5 made threes and shoot 45 percent from behind the arc in those two games.

With their offensive focus on working the ball into the post, fifth year senior center Lauren Tibbs leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 10.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game while also shooting 61.7 percent from the floor. Senior forward Miriam Justinger is second on the team with 8.5 points per game, and freshman point guard Sydney Lambert is averaging 8.4 points per game while shooting a strong 43.3 percent from 3-point range.

While this has been one of the tougher non-conference schedules the women’s basketball team has seen over the past few years, the Falcons have shown strength and resilience in the face of strong opponents and short rests between games. With senior leadership from Tibbs and Justinger and young energy from Lambert and fellow freshman Carly Santoro, the Falcons look poised to make some noise in the MAC this year.

Their next game will take place on Dec. 21 against South Dakota State. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. at the Stroh Center.