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Bowling Green wins a thriller at Iona

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Jillian Halfhill's lay-up with eighteen seconds left gave Bowling Green a 51-50 lead, and a last-second scrum for the ball secured the Falcons the win over Iona. Alexis Rogers led Bowling Green with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Damika Martinez of Iona led all scorers with 25 points, while Aaliyah Robinson added 14 off the bench. For disagreements, bright colors, intensity, pride, point guards, and a possible question of mental fortitude, join your intrepid and blanketed blogger after the jump.

On to the second game of our double-header, which features Iona and Bowling Green for whatever marbles may be relevant in a miniature tournament. Shut up, grammar check, Bowling Green is correctly capitalized.

Bowling Green's uniforms are really orange. I think TV mutes the color a lot.

Iona's been working with their academic font instead of the old athletic font. Doesn't make for a dramatic court, but it looks good on the uniforms.

We're now changed into our maroon and gold. The extra layer was warming in the cold weather.

Oh, hey, cool, the mascot decided to show up. That's a change from last year.

Iona has a very tiny cheerleader with the most impressive thigh muscles I've ever seen (however, if I can see how built your thighs are, your skirt is way too short).

Bowling Green managed to get four balls in the basket. They tried to knock them out from the bottom, but only managed to get out one. It took a bit of doing to get them all out. That's either a good sign or a bad sign. So far it looks like a good sign for BGSU's shooting. It's 30-23 BGSU at the half, and the Falcons have looked stronger as the half has gone on. It also deeply disturbs me that Damika Martinez has gone full ballhog in the second quarter. There's a definite element of Lori Ann to her game tonight, if you follow what I mean.

As one would expect from a MAC team, Bowling Green's fans are out in full force. I really do love the MAC. Not when one of my teams is playing one of their teams, but other than that I love the MAC.

That was an amazing game. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world, but it was intense, and everyone was into it. The only way it could have been better, in my admittedly biased view, would have been if Iona had pulled it off at the very end.

Abby Siefker was a big body in the middle, and threw her weight around very effectively. Jasmine Matthews brought a little bit of offensive touch. Jennifer Roos almost seemed to be looking to see which guards she thought she could trust later in the season. Judging from the minute counts, she was not impressed with what she found, but they gave the starters a break when they needed it, which might have been enough coming down the stretch.

Alexis Rogers looks like a BCS player. She has the height and the build, as well as more quickness than one would expect from a woman of her build. She dissected Iona on the inside, because they had no one who could really match up with her. (And just for the record: yeah, that offensive foul for the moving screen was a bad call. Aleesha ran headlong into her without looking.) Jillian Halfhill ran a fine offense. I love to see a good floor general doing her stuff, even if she didn't show that element of her game statistically. Sometimes a player looks like she's the person in charge when she walks out onto the floor and it's clear her teammates defer to her. Jill Stein was tough in the middle. Miriam Justinger always seemed to be in the middle of the play; I remember that 30 jersey being all up in a lot of plays, especially going after loose balls. Erica Donovan had a solid game, if not one that was particularly memorable.

Very smart play by Bowling Green. We wailed and gnashed our teeth at the lack of free throw attempts that we were given, but the Falcons really didn't commit a lot of contact that would have resulted in free throws. Jennifer Roos is one of the most involved coaches I've ever seen. She yells almost as much as I do, at least when it comes to getting her team's attention. That's not a bad thing, though I wonder if it might wear on a player after a while.

Spencer Gray intrigues me. She reminds me very much of Kia Wright from St. John's, and of the freshmen she looked the least out of her depth. She might be able to move into that point guard slot when Haley D'Angelo graduates, if she learns with some speed. Cassidee Ranger looks like she's bulked up a little bit, and with the lack of height on Iona's roster, she's being called upon as a reserve post. Given that Cassidee's strengths are three-point shooting and on-ball defense, I do not think this is a very good plan. Aurellia Cammock shows a bit of promise with her size, though it's hard to get a fair assessment as to whether she can shoot, since her minutes were all in the first half and therefore no one other than Damika Martinez was touching the ball unless they happened to rebound it. Christina Rubin looked lost, which surprises me, since she was with the team last year. Aaliyah Robinson fired up the big threes. She's instant offense. (Reminds me of another Robinson in that regard.) And Iona needed everything she had to offer.

I don't know what's wrong with Aleesha Powell, but I've met her and she seems like a nice kid, so I really hope that she's able to shake it off. But her shot was all messed up. It's like her arm strength completely evaporated over the offseason. She's always been slightly built (think Leilani Mitchell, but at 110% scale), but she looks even thinner now. Joy Adams was strangely passive today, and she didn't get down low nearly as much as I've come to expect from her. She was bringing the ball up more, too. I don't know if she's trying to diversify her game to be more of an overseas prospect, or if Coach Godsey is trying to switch her to the three because of her build, but in either case, it's not a good idea. Sabrina Jeridore was fierce on defense and hit the boards hard- I think she had four rebounds before the first media timeout. She's got to finish at the rim, and she's got to improve her stamina- she got winded a lot, and it's always apparent on her face when she's utterly gassed. Unless someone unexpected steps up to take some of the load off in the paint, she's all they have down there, and she needs to accept that responsibility as a senior and as the tallest healthy player on the roster. Haley D'Angelo has never been a shooter, and the one shot she took in this game reminded us of why she generally doesn't shoot a lot, but she needs to be a little more aggressive and force players to guard her. She's still the unquestioned leader of her team and the floor general for the Gaels, but she needs to be more of a threat. Damika Martinez was the offensive star for Iona, but she did it by volume, and the misses were bad misses. She got into a bit of a heated discussion with the coach in the middle of the first half, and her answer to whatever it was was to completely dominate the ball for the rest of the half. She brought it up, she dribbled, she shot. Not a good look. She got over it in the second half, though, and her shooting at the end of the game got Iona right back in it.

The officials in this game were not so good with the out of bounds calls. I'm really not sure how you can miss a player who's six-three and bright orange, guys.

For a mostly empty arena, the ambiance was fantastic. By the end, both groups of fans were really into the game. Iona's entire bench spent the last two defensive possessions standing and chanting. It was a heartbreaker (especially since Iona apparently tried to call timeout during the last rebound and didn't have it granted) but it was the kind of heartbreaker they would have lost heart during the second half of last year.