Second Half Struggles Lead to 61-57 Setback

Second Half Struggles Lead to 61-57 Setback
Liz Stratman

INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler women's basketball team held a 27-22 lead over Bowling Green at halftime of Monday night's game, but the advantage didn't last as the Falcons came back to win 61-57. Butler never trailed in the first half, but a 10-4 run out of the break gave BGSU the momentum they need to improve to 4-0.

Senior Daress McClung posted a double-double for Butler with 12 points and 10 rebounds. McClung owned the paint in the first half collecting nine of her 10 boards in the first 20 minutes of the game. Other Bulldogs to reach a double figure scoring total included Haley Howard and Liz Stratman. Howard scored a team-high 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting and Stratman played tough in the post to net 10 points.

BGSU was led by redshirt senior Alexis Rogers who scored a game-high 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Miriam Justinger and Jill Stein also impacted the game as Justinger poured in 13 points and Stein hauled down a team-high nine rebounds.

Butler got off to a great start to the first half as they grabbed a 6-0 lead off the tip. The lead would grow to 11 points with 1:16 remaining after a jumper from Blaire Langlois, but a 6-0 Falcon run in the final minute of the half would cut the deficit to five.

The defensive intensity picked up for BGSU in the second half as the Falcons scored 14 points off BU turnovers. Good defense sparked a run that would give Bowling Green their first lead of the game at 32-31. The one point advantage turned into a 10 point cushion with just over 13 minutes remaining, but Butler would fight back to get within five with three minutes to play after a jumper from Howard.

Two free throws from Stratman made it a single possession game with 1:26 remaining and a dribble drive jumper from Lexus Murry pushed the score to 57-56 with 52 seconds on the game clock.

Butler's 9-0 run in the final four minutes of the game would eventually tie the game at 57-57 after McClung split a pair of free throws. Erica Donovon regained the lead for BGSU on the next possession with a layup from the left block and Butler would call a timeout after the score to set up the final possession of the game.

Howard had the first look for BU out of the break, but she missed a field goal with 12 seconds remaining. The ball took a good bounce for Butler as the team got another chance to tie the game with an inbounds play with nine seconds to go. Mandy McDivitt ended up with the ball on the right wing to attempt the game-winning 3-point field goal, but the shot was blocked by Donovon which sealed the win for the Falcons.

Justinger made the score official at 61-57 with a pair of free throws to give BGSU a huge advantage at the stripe as they connected on 18-of-22 attempts compared to Butler shooting 60 percent (9-for-15). Butler was also off from 3-point range hitting just 4-of-19 from distance.

The Bulldogs will return to action with a road game at Indiana on Saturday, Nov. 23. Tip-off at Assembly Hall is scheduled for 2 p.m.