BOWLING GREEN - Visiting Miami University fought off a comeback bid by the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team, and the RedHawks made just enough plays down the stretch to hold off the Falcons, 57-54. The Mid-American Conference game was held at the Stroh Center.
With the win, MU improves to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in MAC play. The RedHawks assume sole possession of first place in the MAC's East Division race. The Falcons, also 12-6 overall, drop to 3-2 in league play.
Hannah Robertson had just one rebound on the night, but it was very likely the key play of the game. The Falcons trailed by two points after a jumper from freshman Miriam Justinger with 1:01 left, but Miami's next possession took all but 3.6 seconds of the remaining time.
That possession saw the RedHawks get no fewer than four offensive rebounds. After Courtney Osborn, who led Miami with 14 points, missed a shot, teammate Kirsten Olowinski came up with the rebound and the visitors used a timeout with 33.8 seconds left. Olowinski had 15 boards on the night to lead all players.
Following the timeout, MU used nearly all of the shot clock before Osborn fired a three-point try. That shot was off the mark as well, but Olowinski again got the offensive board and was fouled with 6.1 seconds left.
Olowinski went to the line and misfired on two free-throw attempts. After the second miss, however, Hannah Robertson knifed between several BGSU players to grab the loose ball. The Falcons were forced to foul Robertson, and the MU junior made the first of her two charity tosses with 3.6 seconds left. She missed the second shot, and BGSU senior Danielle Havel came up with the rebound. But, Havel's last-ditch shot attempt from beyond halfcourt was off the mark, and the visitors had a rare victory over the Falcons.
The MU win snapped a seven-game series winning streak for the Falcons.
BGSU redshirt junior Alexis Rogers had a game-high 19 points along with nine rebounds for the Falcons, who had a narrow 38-37 advantage on the boards. Havel, like Rogers, narrowly missed a double-double, with nine points and a team-leading 10 rebounds. Havel also paced the Falcons with four assists.
The Falcons got out to an early 11-2 lead, primarily on the strength of Rogers. The redshirt junior scored seven points during that stretch. But, the RedHawks had the better of the play for much of the remainder of the half. MU would tie the game, 13-13, on a putback by Erica Almady, and two more buckets gave the visitors an 8-0 run and a 17-13 lead. Miami's advantage would reach eight points in the final minute of the period, before a Justinger triple narrowed the gap to five at the intermission.
The second half saw the RedHawks' lead grow to a game-high 11 points on an Olowinski layup with just under 15 minutes left. But, freshman Bailey Cairnduff hit a jumper to spark a 6-0 run, and Cairnduff's three-pointer several minutes later cut Miami's lead to just two points, 36-34, with 11:27 left in the game.
The visitors extended the lead back out to seven points on two occasions over the next few minutes, but BG battled back again, eventually tying the contest on a pair of Rogers free throws with 4:10 left. On the next possession, however, Osborn's three-pointer gave the visitors the lead for good.
BGSU shot just 28 percent from the field in the opening half, but went 13-of-29 (44.8%) in the second period en route to a 37.0% effort for the game. The RedHawks shot 41.1% on the night. The teams combined to make just five three-point field goals in 34 tries.