Senior Jillian Halfhill hit a layup with 16.8 seconds to go, giving the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team a 51-50 win over Iona College Saturday afternoon (Nov. 9). The non-conference game was held at Iona's Hynes Athletics Center.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 2-0 on the young season, and BGSU captures the Iona Tip-Off Tournament title. The host Gaels drop to 1-1 on the year.
Senior Alexis Rogers led the Falcons with a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds, while Halfhill had 10 points on the day. Another senior, Jill Stein, narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and nine boards, as BG had a 39-31 advantage on the glass.
The Falcons led for most of the afternoon, and BGSU held a six-point lead, 47-41, after redshirt sophomore Erica Donovan rebounded her own miss and laid the ball up and in with four-and-a-half minutes to go. Iona's Damika Martinez responded with a pair of free throws, and Aaliyah Robinson's corner three cut BG's advantage to just 47-46 with 2:38 remaining.
Iona got the ball back after a missed shot by the Falcons, but BG forced the Gaels into a miss at the other end. An offensive foul call, however, gave the ball back to the home team, and Martinez knocked down a jumper for a 48-47 Iona lead. Martinez, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year, led all players with 25 points on the day.
Rogers answered the Martinez bucket with a hoop of her own, but Martinez came right back with another jumper. Iona led, 50-49, with 36.9 seconds on the clock.
On the ensuing possession, however, Halfhill split a pair of defenders and hit what proved to be the winning layup. Iona brought the ball over midcourt and took a timeout with 12.3 seconds left.
Out of that timeout, Martinez could not get a short jumper to drop, and Halfhill tied up an Iona player as they scrambled for the rebound. The possession arrow pointed in BG's favor with just 3.7 seconds left.
BG inbounded the ball, and Rogers was fouled with 2.9 seconds remaining. She missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, but Stein tipped the ball toward the corner, preventing an Iona player from cleanly grabbing the rebound. As the players scrambled for the ball, time expired and the Falcons had the victory.
The Falcons made just one three-point field goal in 11 tries on Saturday, compared to an 8-for-17 long-range performance by the Gaels. Robinson and Martinez combined to make seven of those eight triples.
After leading from wire to wire in Friday's (Nov. 8) 63-52 victory over Michigan, BGSU led for much of the game vs. Iona. Rogers scored on the game's first possession, and after a layup by Joy Adams tied the score, BG scored the next three points, including a floater by Donovan.
Robinson's first triple of the day would tie the game at 7-7, but sophomore Miriam Justinger found freshman Abby Siefker for a jumper from just beyond the free-throw line at the 13:25 mark.
Moments later, junior Deborah Hoekstra fed Halfhill for a three-pointer and a 12-9 advantage. That would be the Falcons' lone trey of the afternoon.
A Martinez triple sparked a 7-0 run for the home team, but layups by Stein and Rogers tied the game at 16-all with just over eight minutes remaining in the period.
A corner three from Robinson gave the hosts the lead once again, but the Falcons then went on an 11-0 run to take an eight-point lead, the largest of the day.
The run started innocently enough, as Rogers split a pair of free throws with 7:16 on the clock. Stein hit a layup, and junior Jasmine Matthews hit a floater in the lane, giving BG a 21-19 lead.
Justinger scored from just inside the three-point line, then the sophomore found Rogers slipping inside for a layup and a six-point lead. The Gaels used a timeout, but Iona failed to score on the next possession, and Rogers got an offensive rebound and hit a layup in a crowd, and BG's lead was 27-19 with 3:39 left in the half.
After that Rogers putback, neither team would score until 1:22 remained before the break, when Martinez put back her own miss. That bucket stopped a scoring drought of 6:34 for the Gaels, but Justinger answered with another long two-pointer. The Falcons wound up taking a 30-23 lead into the intermission.
Iona started strong in the second half, scoring the first five points of the half to cut the Falcons' lead to two points and prompt a BGSU timeout. Donovan hit a driving layup after an offensive rebound by Stein. Stein had four offensive rebounds within the first six minutes of the half.
After her layup, Donovan came up with a steal to give the ball back to the Falcons, and IC's Aleesha Powell was called for her second and third fouls of the game, just 23 seconds apart.
Rogers found Stein cutting down the lane for a layup, but Sabrina Jeridore answered at the other end. The Falcons led by a 34-30 score with 14:30 to go.
Points were hard to come by at both ends of the court over the next few minutes, but Justinger's nifty bounce pass split two defenders, resulting in a wide-open layup for Rogers and a six-point lead, 38-32, with nine minutes remaining.
Robinson hit a three-pointer, but Halfhill scored on a layup out of the eight-minute media timeout. Martinez was unguarded for just a split second, and took advantage of that brief opening to hit a three-pointer.
Stein knocked down a layup for a 42-38 lead, and a Halfhill pass led to another wide-open Rogers layup and a 44-38 advantage with 6:09 to go.
After a three-pointer by Martinez, the Falcons scored the next three points on a Halfhill charity toss and a Donovan putback. BGSU led by six, 47-41, with 4:45 to go, setting the stage for the frantic finish.
Martinez, as mentioned, scored 25 points, playing all 40 minutes. But, the Iona star needed 22 shots to reach that point total, as the defense of Justinger, Matthews and the Falcons forced her to work for every point she got.
Robinson added 14 points off the bench for the hosts. For the Falcons, Donovan and Justinger had seven points apiece, and Justinger led all players with five assists. Donovan and Justinger tied for game honors in steals, with three each.
Iona shot 38.5 percent from the field on the day, just slightly better than BG's 38.2% success rate.
No all-tournament team was named, but BG would have had several worthy candidates. Halfhill averaged 14.0 points and 3.5 assists in the Falcons' two wins, while Rogers had 11.0 ppg and 8.5 rebounds per game. Donovan averaged 11.0 points and 5.0 boards, while Stein scored 7.5 ppg and pulled down 10.0 rpg. Justinger averaged 6.5 points and led the Falcons in both assists (4.5 apg) and steals (2.5 spg) on the weekend.
The Falcons now will prepare to open the home portion of the 2013-14 schedule next weekend, as BG faces Niagara University on Friday night (Nov. 15). Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Stroh Center.