Bowling Green Basketball: Opening Weekend Preview

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013-2014 basketball season tips off today, and both Bowling Green teams are in action during the first 48 hours. What's in store for the Falcons, and how can you follow along? Find out right here.

BGSU Men's Basketball

vs Earlham (Stroh Center, Bowling Green, Ohio) -- Saturday, November 9th at 2:00 p.m. ET
Television: NONE -- Streaming: MAC Digital Network
Radio: Falcon Radio Network (flagship: WFRO-FM) -- Live Stats: BGSUFalcons.com

The Bowling Green men's basketball team opens the 2013-2014 season at home against the Earlham Quakers at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9th.  Earlham is a member of NCAA Division III and plays is the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The Quakers were 4-21 last season, although they did win their final two games.  The team is incredibly young -- all but one player on the roster is either a freshman or a sophomore.  The only exception, senior Marq Dixon, did not play for Earlham last season.  Of their seven primary players from last season (average more than 12 minutes per game), only three return -- Jack O'Flaherty, Vadial Jett and Kristian Barden.  Barden started 18 of 23 games and averaged 24.9 minutes.  He scored just 4.8 points per game but led Earlham in rebounds (7.4/game), assists (41) and blocks (34).  O'Flaherty is the Quakers' top returning scorer at 12 points per game.  He started 23 of 25 games and averaged 31.4 minutes.  However, he only gathered 2.2 rebounds per game and had 2.5 turnovers for every assist.  Jett played in just 13 games and 5.9 points per contest, but he did dish 35 assists.  That per-game total, almost 3, was easily Earlham's best.

This will be the first meeting between the two schools.  However, head coach Louis Orr is 7-0 with Bowling Green against non-Division I schools.  The Falcons, who were 11-5 at home last season, have also won 21 consecutive home openers.  The game will also serve as Orr's 800th college game as a player, assistant coach or head coach.  If the Falcons win, it will be his 500th win in those 800 games.

Last weekend, Bowling Green defeated Malone in an exhibition at the Stroh Center.  The Falcons led 47-23 at the half and cruised to an 87-60 victory.  BGSU shot 20/34 (.588) in the first half and ended the game with a 53.1% success rate.  Five players scored in double figures, led by Anthony Henderson, who poured in 17 on 7-of-14 shooting.  Cameron Black (12 points, 9 rebounds) and Chauncey Orr (16 points, 8 rebounds) both came close to recording double-doubles, as did Jehvon Clarke.  Clarke scored nine points and had a team-best ten assists.  Richaun Holmes added 16 points and three blocks.

The Falcons' defense held Malone to 28.1% shooting for the game and just 6-for-27 (.222) in the first half.  Isiah Elliott scored 14 points and secured eight rebounds to lead Malone in both categories.

This is, more-or-less, another exhibition for BGSU.  Expect the Falcons to romp here, but things will get much more real next weekend when Bowling Green welcomes South Florida to the Stroh Center.  The Falcons and the Bulls played a three-overtime thriller in Florida last December.

BGSU Women's Basketball

at Iona Tip-Off Tournament (Hynes Athletics Center, New Rochelle, N.Y.)
Game 1: vs Michigan -- Friday, November 8th at 4:00 p.m. ET
Game 2: vs Arizona -- Saturday, November 9th at 1:00 p.m. ET OR vs Iona -- Saturday, November 9th at 3:30 p.m. ET
Television: NONE -- Streaming: ICGaels.com (paid subscription)
Radio: WBGU, 88.1-FM -- Live Stats: ICGaels.com

The Bowling Green women's basketball season begins this afternoon in New York when they open the Iona Tip-Off Tournament by playing the Michigan Wolverines.

Head coach Jennifer Roos begins her second season at the Falcons' helm today and seeks to guide her team to its 11th consecutive 20-win season.  To get the schedule off on the right foot, she'll have to beat a team that BGSU has not faced in 15 years.  The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 8-3, and won the last meeting in 1998.  That was an 82-71 final in BGSU's Anderson Arena.

Michigan went 22-11 last year (9-7 in Big Ten play) but virtually the entire 2012-2013 Wolverines team is gone.  Only three of the 13 current players played at all last year.  Only two averaged more than ten minutes per game, and only one is a returning starter.  Michigan won an exhibition against Wayne State, 81-55.  In a game at a neutral site against a very inexperienced team, it would appear as if this is a golden opportunity for the Falcons to snag a big win against a team from one of the power conferences.

Win or lose, Bowling Green's opponent and game time for Saturday will not be determined until Arizona faces Iona in the second half of Friday's doubleheader.  If Bowling Green beat Michigan, they will play the Arizona/Iona winner; if they lose, they would play the Arizona/Iona loser.  If the Falcons end up playing Arizona on Saturday, the game would be the first of Saturday's doubleheader and would start at 1:00 p.m. ET.  If not, they would face Iona in the second game, which is tentatively scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The Falcons have played Arizona only once, 13 years ago in December of 2000.  The game, played in Tucson, Ariz., was the second-worst defeat in BGSU history.  The Wildcats won by 56 points (99-43).  This year's Wildcats are coming off a 12-18 season in which they won only four conference games.  However, the team has four returning starters and a very talented crop of freshmen.  They also have junior guard Candice Warthen back after Warthen missed all of last season with an injury.  Arizona won their exhibition game 80-65 (over Fort Lewis), and Warthen scored 23 points in her return.  The Wildcat freshmen, as a group, contributed 36 points and 29 of 38 total rebounds.  One, LaBrittney Jones, had 24 points and 10 rebounds by herself.

Against Iona, Bowling Green is 2-0 all-time.  Both wins came during the Curt Miller era.  The Falcons won 81-62 in Bowling Green during the 2002-2003 season, then won at a tournament in Philadelphia (62-45) three seasons later.  The Gaels won 20 games last year, including 13 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.  Like the Falcons, Iona lost to Drexel in the postseason WNIT.  Iona should be very good this year -- they return all five starters and three other letterwinners.  Among the returning players is Damika Martinez, who averaged 18.1 points per game last year and is the preseason choice for MAAC Player of the Year.  A second starter, sophomore forward Joy Adams, is also on the preseason all-conference first team.

Bowling Green defeated Tiffin last Saturday in the team's lone exhibition of the season.  The Falcons played an up-and-down first half and led just 40-26 at the break.  However, BGSU pulled away in the second half with 51 points and eventually recorded a very comfortable 91-48 victory.  The primary second-half thrust in that game was lights-out shooting.  BGSU was 21-for-32 (.656) in that second half, including an amazing 7-for-10 (.700) from three-point range.  Eight different Falcons sank a three-point shot; that group was led by Erica Donovan and Deborah Hoekstra, who each had three.  Donovan led the team with 17 points and was one of three players in double figures.  All eleven players scored at least three points.  Donovan also recorded seven rebounds.  Jill Stein was just one point shy of a double-double, as she had nine points and ten rebounds.  She also had six blocks.  Abby Siefker played 19 minutes and scored seven points, posted nine rebounds and had two blocks of her own.  The Falcon defense held Tiffin to only 15 makes in 50 shots (.300).

This is going to be a tough opening weekend for BGSU, but I think they have a solid opportunity to walk away with at least one win.  After this tournament, the Falcons will have a week off before making the regular season home debut next Saturday against Niagara.

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