Junior Deborah Hoekstra's back-to-back three-point field goals gave the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team the lead, and the Falcons fought off every University of Toledo surge down the stretch Sunday afternoon (Feb. 2). The result was a 66-59 BGSU win in Mid-American Conference action at Savage Arena.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 18-3 overall, and BGSU is now 8-1 in MAC play. The Rockets drop to 9-11 and 4-5, respectively.
Senior Alexis Rogers led the Falcons with a double-double, posting game-high totals of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Rogers had 16 points and seven boards in the second half.
Hoekstra scored 12 points, going 4-of-7 from three-point land, while senior Jillian Halfhill had 11. Halfhill scored all 11 of her points in the second half. In fact, the point guard had all of those points in the final 4:20 of the game, including nine in the last 2:34 of the contest.
Toledo got 13 points from both Andola Dortch and Inma Zanoguera, while Brianna Jones scored 12 off the bench.
In addition to the 12-rebound day from Rogers, senior Jill Stein pulled down seven boards and Hoekstra six as BG held a 39-36 advantage on the glass.
The Falcons shot just 34.6 percent from the field on the day, but BG was 11-of-23 (47.8%) in the second half, going 7-for-11 (63.6%) from three-point range after the intermission. BG made a total of nine triples on the day, with Hoekstra and Rogers accounting for seven.
BGSU went 9-of-26 from two-point range as well as three-point range in the game. Toledo shot 37% for the game, but the Rockets were just 1-of-15 from beyond the arc.
After the Rockets took an early 7-2 lead, sophomore Miriam Justinger hit a pair of shots for the Falcons, and neither team led by more than three points over the remainder of the first period. The Rockets took a 21-20 lead into the lockerroom.
The second period saw the Falcons quickly regain the lead, as Justinger scored just 10 seconds in. BG extended the lead to six points with 15 minutes left, before the Rockets went on an 11-4 run to regain the advantage, 36-35, with 9:29 to go.
The lead changed hands several times in the next few minutes, before redshirt sophomore Erica Donovan grabbed an offensive rebound after a missed free throw, kicking the ball out to Hoekstra for a three-pointer and a 44-42 BG lead with 6:36 left. That bucket gave the Falcons the lead for good, although the outcome was far from decided.
After Zanoguera was called for an offensive foul, Hoekstra struck again. This time, she took a pass from Justinger and knocked down a triple try from dead center, giving the Brown and Orange a 47-42 lead with 5:27 to go.
Zanoguera banked home a shot, however, and after two quick fouls on Justinger, Zanoguera made a pair of free throws to cut BG's lead to one point with 4:33 remaining.
Halfhill made two charity tosses just seconds later -- the senior was a perfect 9-for-9 from the stripe -- but Dortch got herself to the line and made two shots, narrowing BG's lead to 49-48 with 3:25 left.
On BG's next possession, a three-point try would not go down, but Rogers grabbed the rebound and quickly laid the ball off the glass and through the hoop. The senior drew the fifth foul of the day on Janice Monakana, and Rogers completed the three-point play for a 52-48 lead with 3:11 to go.
Just 15 seconds later, however, Justinger was ruled to have committed a foul, which was her fifth of the day, and Ana Capotosto made two shots at the line to cut the BG lead in half. But, Halfhill drove and hit an 'and-one' shot off the glass, and her ensuing free throw was good for a 55-50 BG advantage.
The Falcons forced a UT miss, and after a BG miss, Donovan grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 1:59 remaining. Her free throws made it a seven-point game.
Toledo's Janelle Reed-Lewis hit a free throw, but missed her second try, and BG rebounded. With 1:32 to go, a foul on Dortch sent Halfhill to the line, and the senior hit both shots for a 59-51 advantage. That lead became 10 points when BG rebounded a UT miss and Halfhill again was fouled, this time with 1:15 remaining.
The teams continued their procession to the free-throw line, with Dortch, then Stein, hitting two shots each. Jones scored in the paint for the Rockets with 50.5 seconds to go, and the hosts then fouled Donovan. She split a pair of free throws, and after the second shot bounced off the iron, Dortch raced downcourt and hit a layup while drawing a foul. Her free throw cut BG's lead to 64-58 with 43.8 seconds left.
Rogers was fouled, but missed both free-throw tries, two of just five BG misses on the afternoon. The Rockets misfired on a three-point attempt, but a Falcon foul on the rebound sent Zanoguera to the line with only 27.0 seconds left. She hit the first shot, but missed the second, and the ball went out of bounds off of a Toledo player.
BG inbounded the ball, and Zanoguera quickly fouled Halfhill. The senior made her eighth and ninth consecutive free throws in the game, giving the Brown and Orange a 66-59 lead. After the Rockets missed a jumper, Stein pulled down the rebound and the Falcons ran out the clock.
The Falcons had opened the game's scoring, as Donovan found Rogers for an easy layup with just under a minute gone. BG then would go over four minutes without scoring, as the Rockets' 7-0 run included back-to-back steals and transition layups by Zanoguera. A Jones layup made it a 7-2 game.
Justinger, however, got her team back within a point, scoring on a slashing drive, then putting back a teammate's miss. After two UT free throws, Stein found Rogers for a right-side banker, and Hoekstra hit a right-wing three-pointer off of a cross-court pass by Rogers. The Falcons led, 11-9, with just over seven minutes gone.
Again, however, BGSU went cold. The Falcons did not score for just under five minutes, as the home team went on a 5-0 mini-run, capped by Zanoguera's third-chance layup after a pair of offensive boards by Sophie Reecher. But, out of the eight-minute media timeout, Justinger hit Hoekstra for another three-ball from the right wing, and the game was tied at 14-all.
A Dortch jumper gave the home team the lead, but junior Jasmine Matthews drove and drew a foul, knocking down two shots to tie the contest once again with 5:13 left before the half. Matthews then fed Stein for a long two-pointer and a BG lead, but Elena de Alfredo's long-range shot gave the Rockets a 19-18 edge.
Two Rogers free throws were answered by a Reecher layup, and the Rockets took a one-point lead into the break.
Just 10 seconds into the second half, Justinger blew past her would-be defender for a baseline layup. Neither team would score for over three minutes, but that next bucket was a three-pointer by Rogers, as the senior took a pass from Halfhill and knocked down a straightway trey.
That shot gave BG a 25-21 lead and prompted a UT timeout. It also was the first of four consecutive three-point makes in a span of less than three minutes.
Zanoguera hit a tough jumper out of the timeout, but Stein drove and kicked to Justinger for a triple from in front of the BG bench. Dortch hit two free throws, but Justinger spotted Rogers for a corner three and a 31-25 Falcon lead.
Monakana responded with a three-point play, and a Jones jumper narrowed BG's lead to a single point, but Justinger again fed Rogers for a three-pointer. This time, the shot came from out top, and the Falcons had a 34-30 lead with exactly 14 minutes remaining.
After Jones missed a pair of free throws, Rogers drew the fourth foul on Monakana with 13:25 to go, hitting one of her two tosses. UT responded with six-straight points, however, as a de Alfredo jumper and a Reed-Lewis driving layup cut the BG lead to one point before Reed-Lewis hit a jump hook shot with 9:29 remaining for a 36-35 UT advantage.
BG took a timeout, and Rogers gave her team the lead once again, hitting a tough layup inside. Jones came back with a pair of buckets for a 40-37 Toledo lead. The second layup gave her a chance for a three-point play, but her free throw was no good with 7:44 to go.
Donovan's three-pointer tied the game briefly, but Jones knocked down another layup. After Rogers made a free throw to cut Toledo's lead to 42-41, Hoekstra hit her back-to-back three-pointers to set the stage for the final six-plus minutes of action.
Justinger scored nine points and handed out a team-high five assists, while Donovan had six points and five rebounds.
Rogers was 7-of-14 from the field, as she, Justinger (4-for-6) and Hoekstra (4-of-9) accounted for 15 of BG's 18 successful field goals in the win.
BGSU now returns home for the next two games, beginning with a Wednesday night (Feb. 5) contest vs. Western Michigan University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Stroh Center.