Erica Donovan scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the first five minutes of the game, helping the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team defeat Saint Francis University, 81-66, Sunday afternoon (Dec. 29). The non-conference game was held at the Stroh Center.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 10-2 on the season. BGSU has won 10 non-conference games for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. The Red Flash dropped to 2-9 on the year.
Donovan, a redshirt sophomore, set a new career scoring best, and also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Her first 11 points helped the Brown and Orange race out to a 24-5 lead before the game was five minutes old.
Junior Deborah Hoekstra had 16 points off the bench, while sophomore Miriam Justinger scored 12 points and added a career-high nine rebounds. Seniors Jillian Halfhill and Alexis Rogers each had 10 points to round out the Falcons' quintet of double-figure scorers.
For the third time in four home games this year, BGSU never trailed. Donovan hit a three-pointer on the first possession of the game, giving the Brown and Orange the lead with just 17 seconds gone, and Rogers picked Aisha Brock's pocket at midcourt and sailed in for a layup just 25 seconds later.
Halfhill was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit each of the ensuing free throws, giving the Falcons an 8-0 lead with just over a minute and a half gone. Moments later, Halfhill took a Donovan pass and drained a three-point try from the left corner, and the hosts were up, 11-0.
After the Red Flash took a timeout, Rebecca Keegan's jumper got the visitors on the board with 2:40 elapsed. But, Rogers kicked the ball out to Donovan for a corner three, and BGSU converted back-to-back transition layups for a 19-2 advantage.
The first layup came when Rogers scored off of a nifty pass from Justinger. Then, Rogers found Donovan for an 'and-one' layup at the 16:45 mark. Donovan completed the three-point play by hitting the free throw, and the visitors used their second timeout of the game.
At that point, the Falcons had made 6-of-8 shots from the floor, including all three shots from beyond the arc, and BG was a perfect 4-of-4 from the stripe as well.
Brock knocked down a three-point shot at the 15:55 mark, but Donovan grabbed a teammate's missed shot, laying the ball back up and in, and a Rogers steal resulted in Halfhill spotting Justinger for a triple, the Falcons' fourth of the game. Just four minutes and 56 seconds into the game, the home team had a 24-5 lead.
And, for all intents and purposes, the outcome had been decided. Although the Red Flash fought valiantly the rest of the afternoon, the visitors could not cut the BGSU lead below double digits.
Alli Williams led SFU with 18 points, while Brock scored 15 and Alexa Hayward 13. Hayward sat out the entire first half, but played all 20 minutes of the second period.
BGSU enjoyed a 53-36 rebounding advantage on the day. In addition to the 10 boards by Donovan and the nine from Justinger, senior Jill Stein pulled down eight boards and Rogers seven. Hoekstra had five rebounds to go along with her 16 points.
All nine Falcons in uniform played between 17 and 28 minutes. Eight of the nine scored at least two points, and seven of the nine dished out at least one assist in the win.
The Falcons begin Mid-American Conference play on Saturday (Jan. 4), hosting the University at Buffalo in a 2:00 p.m. start at the Stroh.