For 10 years, Bowling Green has been dominant in the MAC East.
First under Curt Miller, then under longtime assistant Jennifer Roos, the Falcons won eight MAC East titles, one MAC West title, eight regular season titles and five MAC tournaments. Last year’s team was 30-6 but was upset by Ball State in the MAC tournament. It had the highest RPI of any team that didn’t make the NCAA tournament and lost to eventual champion Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
Three starters on that team graduated, and only six players returned. The Falcons added five freshmen, and a transfer became eligible.
But redshirt junior Erica Donavon, a pre-season all-MAC selection and the Falcons’ leading scorer, was lost for the season two weeks ago with a knee injury. So was freshman Lauren Webb, who had played inn seven of BG’s first eight games. A redshirt freshman, Leah Bolton, has applied for what the NCAA calls a medical retirement. Two other players — senior Jasmine Matthews and sophomore Abby Siefker did not make the trip to Akron for Wednesday, leaving the Falcons with just seven players in uniform for that contest. Four of them were freshmen. (The Falcons added volleyball player Erica Fullenkamp to the roster for depth this week.)
Bowling Green lost the Akron game, 67-59. It now is 7-6 and has the same 0-2 MAC record as Kent State. Even its injury problems, Bowling Green hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record.
So if Kent State is going to beat the Falcons for the first time in four years (and second in 23 times), Saturday seems like a chance.
With Donavon out, BG’s leading scorer is 5-10 senior guard Jasmine Matthews, who has averaged 10.7 points per game. Second leading scorer is Miriam Justinger, who averages 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Justinger had originally committed to play at Kent State but asked to be released after former coach Bob Lindsay was fired.
So far this season, BG has made a total of 186 free throws this year — more than its opponents have attempted (172). The Falcons have shot 78.2% from the free-throw line. That average leads the MAC and ranks fourth in the nation.
Kent State’s foul shooting record is the opposite. It has made 56 percent of its foul shots. It has shot 181 — fewer than its opponents have attempted (194).
The Flashes may have played their best half of the season against Toledo Saturday, They trailed against the Rockets (8-4) 34-31 at halftime, and that included a basket at the buzzer. But Toledo dominated the second half to defeat Kent State 67-49,