BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University women's basketball team scored the first 15 points of the game to take control, and the Falcons rolled along to a 71-49 victory over Colorado State University Saturday afternoon (Dec. 1). The non-conference game was held at the Stroh Center.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 4-3 on the season, while dropping the Rams to 2-4 on the year.
Junior point guard Jillian Halfhill had the first double-double of her career, scoring 10 points and obliterating her previous career best with 13 rebounds. Halfhill also had four assists to lead all players.
Freshman Miriam Justinger led the Falcons in scoring, with 12 points in just 10 minutes vs. the Rams. Junior Jill Stein and sophomore Jasmine Matthews also hit double figures in the scoring column, with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Justinger's point total was the highest of her brief BGSU career to date, while Stein also set a career scoring high. Stein also hit the first three-point field goal of her career in the win.
Caitlin Duffy was CSU's lone double-digit scorer, with a game-high 15 points off the bench.
BGSU had an impressive 48-31 rebounding advantage, with 20 offensive boards. The Falcons also forced 18 CSU turnovers, and BG had 20 points off turnovers to the Rams' seven.
Five different Falcons scored during BG's game-opening 15-0 run, and the Falcons hit four three-point field goals in that span. CSU did not get on the scoreboard until Duffy split a pair of free throws with 13:41 left in the half, and the Rams did not make a field goal until Meghan Heimstra's offensive rebound and layup with 11:05 on the clock.
The Rams made just four field goals in the entire first half, as BGSU led by a 31-14 count at the intermission. The Falcons led by as many as 26 points in the second period before winning by 22.
Both teams failed to score on their opening possession. After BGSU held on the Rams' second possession, senior Chrissy Steffen found teammates for three-pointers on each of the Falcons' next two trips down the floor. Steffen grabbed an offensive rebound and hit Halfhill for the game-opening score with 1:32 gone, and she then spotted Matthews for a trey and a six-point lead.
When Matthews found senior Danielle Havel for a trailing three on the break, the Falcons had a 9-0 lead and the Rams took a timeout with just under three minutes gone.
Steffen split a pair of free throws out of the first media timeout of the game, and redshirt junior Alexis Rogers' drive and kick resulted in a Halfhill three from the right elbow. When Rogers took a Havel pass and hit a long two-pointer, the Falcons led by a 15-0 count, and the lead never fell below 13 points the rest of the day.
Duffy's charity toss got the visitors on the board, but Stein hit a pair of second-chance layups. The first came after Havel grabbed an offensive board and kicked it out to the junior. Then, after Kara Spotton's free throws cut the lead to 17-3, Stein corralled an offensive rebound of her own and hit another layup.
Heimstra's aforementioned bucket followed, but Matthews knocked down a jumper for the first two of seven-straight BGSU points by the sophomore. Amber Makeever connected from long distance for the visitors, but Matthews hit a floater in among the tall trees of the CSU defense, then drained another three-pointer from dead center for a 26-8 BG lead.
Moments later, Halfhill's inbounds pass led to a Rogers layup and a 28-11 lead. Neither team would score for more than five minutes, before a Steffen steal led to a Stein jumper from near three-point range. The junior's shot, from just inside the arc, put BG up by 19 points.
Duffy answered with a conventional three-point play, and a free throw by senior Allison Papenfuss gave the Falcons that 31-14 halftime edge.
BGSU had a 28-13 rebounding advantage in the first half, with the Falcons' 13 offensive boards matching CSU's total at both ends of the floor.
The Falcons' starting five combined for 24 points in the first half, while holding CSU's starters to just two points.
The Rams scored the first four points of the second half, but Stein hit from long range again. This time, she was behind the line, taking a pass from Halfhill and draining a triple try from the right corner, in front of the BGSU bench. It was, as mentioned, the first three-pointer of her Falcon career, and gave the hosts a 34-18 lead.
The Rams got back within 13 points again, but Steffen made a pair of free throws, then hit a transition three. Spotton answered with a jumper, but Halfhill banked a shot home, and Justinger's jumper gave the hosts a 20-point lead for the first time, 43-23.
After two Papenfuss throws, the Rams went on a 6-1 run that included a Duffy trey. Sam Martin's putback cut the Falcons' lead to 16 midway through the half. The lead was still 16 at the 7:49 mark when the Falcons went to work.
A pair of free throws by soph Deborah Hoekstra began an 11-2 run for the home side. Stein grabbed an offensive rebound and laid the ball back up and in, and freshman Bailey Cairnduff gave the Falcons a 22-point lead with a jumper at the 5:34 mark.
CSU's LaDeyah Forte's layup cut the BG lead to 56-36, but Halfhill responded with a layup, then spotted Cairnduff for a three-pointer in transition, and BGSU's lead was 25 points as the teams hit the final media timeout.
BGSU's two freshmen, Cairnduff and Justinger, combined for the Falcons' final 13 points of the day. Justinger scored seven points in the final 2:52, while Cairnduff had six in the last 4:40 of the contest. Each first-year Falcon made an 'and-one' layup and converted the ensuing free throw during that stretch.
Justinger's three-point play gave BGSU a 26-point lead, the largest of the game, with 1:26 left, before CSU went on a 5-1 run to end the afternoon.
The Falcons shot 37.1% from the field in the game, and BGSU went 8-of-26 from three-point range. Halfhill was a perfect 2-of-2 from long distance, while Matthews also hit a pair of triple tries.
CSU shot 43.8% from the floor in the second half to improve to 35.3% for the game. The Rams, who did not make a three-pointer in last year's meeting (a 70-57 BGSU win in Fort Collins, Colo.), were just 3-of-22 from long distance on Saturday.
In addition to BGSU's four double-digit scorers, Cairnduff had eight points, while Steffen scored six. Havel had five points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in 24 minutes.
The Falcons return to action on Wednesday (Dec. 5), closing a three-game homestand against Butler University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Stroh Center.