Falcons topple Western Michigan

Everyone got on their feet when head coach Curt Miller returned to the court.

After being away from the team for two games due to a mild stroke he had against Eastern Michigan, Miller made his return Saturday in BG’s 67-56 win against Western Michigan.

“It was emotional for me to get a second chance … we have great fans and I can’t thank people enough for all the well wishes,” Miller said. “We have unbelievable fans and supporters of our program.”

Miller said the team made a smooth transition while he was gone and adjusted seamlessly when he returned. He was back with the team on Thursday for practice, although he was cleared almost immediately to coach.

“I wanted to take some time to understand what had just happened,” he said.

Alexis Rogers led the Falcons with 22 points and 13 rebounds and a game-high of four steals.

“It was great to have [Miller] back, his coaching was not what it normally was but we’ll do anything to have him back on the sidelines,” Rogers said.

This was her sixth double-double this season, her fifth in Mid-American Conference play.

Jessica Slagle and Chrissy Steffen also scored in double digits, 15 and 13, respectively.

BG failed to score on its first two possessions of the game, which gave WMU a quick 2-0 lead. Soon after that, Rogers forced a steal which lead to a Steffen layup to tie the game.

Persistence gave the Broncos back the lead, but Danielle Havel got inside for a layup and Slagle quickly found the three point line to make the score 7-4. Slagle’s basket marked a 14-0 run where the Broncos never led the game again.

Although WMU pressed the Falcons toward the end of the game, coming back within single digits at times, it was never enough to regain the lead.

“Championship teams need to finish better and do a better job down the stretch,” Miller said.

Rogers said usually they feed off of Miller’s energy but this time they had to create their own – there were times Miller pitched in.

“Toward the end we needed his energy and he brought it for us,” Rogers said.

The Broncos were led by Aurielle Anderson, who scored the majority of the team’s points with 29.

WMU’s high-scoring player entering Saturday’s game was Maria Ianquaniello, who was scoreless in the first half. She left the game with 11 points in the second half.

The Falcons enter the bye week 20-3 with a perfect 10-0 MAC record.

“I’m proud that the kids battled through some adversity in my absence,” Miller said.

Next, BG will take on Toledo in Savage Arena on Saturday at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on SportsTime Ohio.