Chippewas escape the Stroh with an OT win

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BOWLING GREEN - Presley Hudson scored 11 of her game-high 34 points in overtime, as Central Michigan University took control during the extra session en route to a 76-65 win over the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team Saturday afternoon (Jan. 14). The Mid-American Conference thriller was held at the Stroh Center.

Sophomores Sydney Lambert (pictured) and Carly Santoro each scored 20 points in the game. Lambert went 6-for-8 from three-point range, including a triple with 2.6 seconds left in regulation that tied the game. Junior Haley Puk had 14 points, and her defense forced Hudson to miss a right-side runner as time expired in regulation.

But, Hudson, who entered the game averaging 33.9 points per game in MAC play, hit five three-pointers of her own, and was 11-of-21 overall from the field on the day. For the Chippewas (13-4, 5-0 MAC), Reyna Frost had 12 points and 23 rebounds, while Aleah Swary scored 10 points off the bench.

Both Lambert and Puk tied their respective career-high point totals. Lambert's six three-point field goals made tied the Stroh Center single-game record -- a record she already shared. The sophomore connected on six long-distance shots in last season's home win over Kent State (Jan. 23, 2016).

Santoro hit four three-pointers and Puk two vs. the Chippewas, as the Falcons (5-12, 1-4 MAC) knocked down a season-high 12 long-range shots. BG went 12-for-33 from beyond the arc on Saturday.

Hudson went 5-for-8 from long distance, as Central was 9-for-20 from three-point range.

"It was an outstanding effort by our kids, by Central Michigan and by our crowd today," said BGSU head coach Jennifer Roos. "I'm proud of our players – I thought we had great effort and execution for much of the game, but we struggled getting some defensive rebounds consistently today.

"With that said, we still had chances, but credit Reyna Frost for getting 23 rebounds, and credit Presley Hudson for hitting her scoring average (in MAC games). There's so much that I was happy with in this game, because our kids executed at both ends of the floor, but credit Central Michigan for finding a way. It was a typical BG-Central game; this has developed into an outstanding rivalry, and today was yet another great game in the series."

The game featured a total of seven ties and eight lead changes. The Falcons led for the last four-plus minutes of the first quarter and the entire second period. But, the Chippewas ended the third quarter on a 17-3 run to take a 45-38 lead into the fourth.

That Central lead reached a game-high nine points on a Tinara Moore layup that opened the fourth-quarter scoring. But, Santoro scored the game's next eight points, including three-pointers on back-to-back possessions, and when junior Rachel Myers hit a pair of free throws, BGSU had a 10-0 run and a 48-47 lead with 6:30 to go.

The teams traded buckets, before the visitors scored five-straight points to take a 54-51 lead with just over four minutes to go. Santoro tied the game with another triple at the 2:12 mark, but Cassie Breen's corner three with 1:44 left gave the Chippewas the lead once again.

Santoro's three-point try would not drop, but the Falcons forced the Chippewas into a shot-clock violation. Santoro converted a layup, but Hudson hit a pair of charity tosses with five seconds remaining.

After BG called a timeout to advance the ball over midcourt, senior Ashley Tunstall inbounded the ball to Lambert in front of the BG bench. From near the corner, the sophomore hit the game-tying trey with 2.6 seconds on the clock, sending the game to overtime.

But, after the teams traded layups in overtime, Hudson hit a jumper, then a pair of treys, with the last one giving the visitors a 71-63 lead with 1:37 to go. BG could draw no closer than seven points thereafter.

Breen opened the game's scoring with the first of the teams' combined 21 three-pointers, but Tunstall hit a layup, and Lambert knocked down treys on back-to-back BG possessions to give the Falcons an 8-7 lead. After Jewel Cotton made a pair of shots from the stripe, Lambert knocked down a pull-up jumper to begin a 9-0 BG run. Senior Abby Siefker lobbed the ball inside to Tunstall for a layup, and Puk hit a floater. When Lambert hit yet another trey with 1:20 left in the period, the Falcons' lead was 17-9.

Hudson answered with a long triple, but Lambert came back downcourt and hit a long triple try, giving the Brown and Orange a 20-12 lead after 10 minutes.

Lambert had 14 points in that first quarter, going 5-for-5 from the field, including a 4-for-4 long-range performance.

The BG lead fluctuated between three and six points for most of the second quarter. After the Chippewas scored the first five points of the quarter, Puk ended a lengthy BG scoring drought with a straightaway trey at the 5:52 mark. Frost answered with a jumper, but Puk was fouled on a baseline drive and knocked down both shots from the stripe for a 25-19 BG lead.

Siefker kicked the ball to Santoro for a triple with 2:04 left before the half, and a pair of free throws by sophomore Maddie Cole gave the home team a 30-22 lead with 38.2 seconds left in the period. Hudson answered with a layup to cut BG's lead to six points at the intermission. The Falcons held Hudson to just five points in the first half.

In the third period, Puk hit a three-pointer after Lambert's cross-court pass, and Puk then answered a Hudson layup with a pull-up jumper. The Falcons led, 35-28, but BG would score just three points over the final 7:37 of the quarter.

A Hudson three-pointer cut the BG lead to four, and Frost split a pair of charity tosses, but Tunstall rebounded her own miss and put the ball back up and in for a 37-32 advantage.

But, Central scored the next 11 points, capped by a Swary triple in the final minute of the quarter. Senior Rachel Konieczki was fouled on a drive and split her free throws with 17.8 seconds on the clock, but Hudson knocked down a foul-line jumper just before the third-quarter horn sounded, giving her team a 45-38 lead.

Moore's layup with 8:41 to go in the fourth quarter gave CMU a nine-point lead, the largest for either team in regulation, but Santoro heated up. A Siefker steal led to a transition layup by the sophomore, and Santoro then took a Myers pass and knocked down a three-point try on BG's next possession. The Falcons got a stop, and Myers flipped the ball to Santoro, who drilled a three-pointer to cut Central's lead to one point with 7:05 to go.

After Santoro scored eight points in 67 seconds, BG got another stop, and Myers hit a pair of free throws to give the Brown and Orange the lead. Swary scored inside, but Lambert took a Tunstall pass and drained a three from the top of the arc. BG led, 51-49, with 5:39 remaining.

Hudson hit a pair of free throws, and Cotton split her two tosses out of the fourth-quarter media timeout. Then, Frost's layup made it a 54-51 CMU lead. Santoro, between two defenders under the basket, muscled a layup up and in with 3:46 remaining, and freshman Andrea Cecil came up with a steal. But, Santoro's driving shot would not drop, and Hudson hit a layup at the other end.

But, Lambert flipped the ball to a trailing Santoro, who knocked down a contested three-point try with 2:12 to go. The game was tied, and BG used a timeout.

On CMU's next possession, BG forced Swary to shoot a layup that was off target. But, Cotton grabbed the rebound and spotted Breen in the corner. Breen's three-point try found nothing but net with 1:44 to go. And, the Falcons missed a shot on the ensuing possession. But, BG forced the Chippewas into a shot-clock violation with 53.9 seconds left.

Santoro got a driving layup to drop with 38.6 seconds left, and the Falcons trailed by one. The next possession saw Hudson use up much of the shot clock by dribbling the ball near midcourt, and the CMU soph drove and shot with 11 seconds to go. The shot bounced off of the rim, but Cotton again came up with the board and flipped a pass back to Hudson. Hudson was fouled with 5.4 seconds left. She made both free throws, and BG called timeout to set up Lambert's clutch three-pointer.

Lambert blocked a Hudson layup try on the first possession of overtime, but BG turned the ball back over, and Cotton's layup gave the visitors the lead. Santoro scored on a nifty reverse layup, but Hudson hit a jumper, then saw a three-point try bounce around the rim and drop through the hoop. When her rainbow three was on target with 1:37 to go, the Chippewas had an eight-point advantage, and moments later, Central had improved teo 5-0 in the conference.

BGSU went 8-of-16 from the field in both the first and fourth quarters, and the Falcons were 5-of-9 from long distance in the latter period. After Lambert scored 14 points in the first quarter, Santoro had 15 in the fourth.

But, the Chippewas were 4-of-6 in the overtime session, including a perfect 2-for-2 (both by Hudson) from three-point land.

After facing the preseason MAC favorite, the Falcons now meet the defending league tournament champion. BGSU will continue a three-game homestand on Wednesday night (Jan. 18), hosting the University at Buffalo in a 7:00 p.m. start at the Stroh.