5:00 PM ET, March 6, 2007
CLEVELAND -- Kate Achter watched her teammates warm up and began to worry."At shootaround, we couldn't make anything," Bowling Green's point guard said. "Balls were clanging off to halfcourt." Achter's anxiety vanished a few hours later. The top-seeded Falcons found their touch just in time. Carin Horne scored 22 points as No. 20 Bowling Green, still smarting from a late-season conference loss, moved into the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament with a 71-62 win over Toledo on Tuesday. It wasn't one of the better efforts this season for the senior-stuffed Falcons (27-3), but it was good enough to hold off the Rockets (11-19), who were led by Danielle Bishop's 19 points and 16 from Savannah Werner. Achter scored 15 points for the Falcons, who despite making 16 turnovers -- 12 in the second half -- beat Toledo for the ninth straight time and kept marching toward another trip to the NCAA tournament. "Survive and move on," Bowling Green coach Curt Miller said. "There are no more worries about pretty wins, it's all about advancing. We really wanted this one." Bowling Green was 15-0 in the MAC and on its way to a second straight perfect regular season when it lost to Ohio on Feb. 24, snapping the Falcons' 18-game winning streak. The surprising misstep at home was a wakeup call for the two-time defending MAC tourney champs, who have won 41 of 42 inside the league the past two years. "It was definitely an eye opener," Achter said of the 70-67 defeat to the Bobcats. "It took that loss to buckle down." The Falcons, whose two other losses came against No. 1 Duke (56-44) and against Notre Dame (85-81 in OT), led by 12 points in the second half before getting sloppy and allowing the Rockets back in it. But leading 56-50, senior Ali Mann scored inside and Horne, who doesn't get as much attention as her teammates, made three straight baskets -- one on a nifty left-handed layup -- as Bowling Green regained control and pushed its lead to 66-52 with 4:17 remaining. Horne came in as BG's fourth-leading scorer, but with her teammates struggling, the senior from Lima was happy to carry the scoring load. "She loves this time of year," Miller said. "We would not be where we are without Carin." Toledo's chances for an upset were done in by a lengthy cold spell in the second half. "We had some moments," Rockets coach Mark Ehlen said. "We gave them a run but offensive consistency was a problem for us. We hung around but we couldn't make the big stop or big play when we needed it." Mann added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Falcons, who will play Eastern Michigan in Friday's second semifinal. Western Michigan and Northern Illinois will play in the first semi. The Falcons, who beat the Rockets by 22 in last year's semis, are dressing just nine players. They lost two players to season-ending knee injuries and backup point guard Jasmine McCall left the team last week for undisclosed reasons. "The good thing is we have our top seven (players)," Miller said. "There isn't a coach in the league who is going to feel sorry for us." In the only meeting between the teams during the regular season, Toledo, which defeated Buffalo in the MAC's opening round on Sunday, built a 15-point lead before Bowling Green stormed back for a 73-62 win. The Falcons were determined not to let the same thing happen. With Toledo's defense making it tough to find anything inside, Bowling Green turned to its long-range game. Horne made three 3-pointers and Lindsey Goldsberry hit a pair as the Falcons opened a 40-29 halftime lead.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||21-50 (.420)||26-56 (.464)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-15 (.333)||7-22 (.318)|
|FT Made-Attempted||15-19 (.789)||12-16 (.750)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|