It's so strange to see Bowling Green not in contention at the top of the MAC East that I have to keep checking myself from describing them as a "MAC Power." This season the Falcons have been obliterated by injuries and came into this afternoon's game at Alumni Arena at just 2-8 in conference.
Fitting of their status in my head as a conference power, the Falcons had topped UB in 20 consecutive matches which seems almost impossible, but that's how good Bowling Green is. This afternoon it was all Buffalo from start to finish in a 66-45 win that was barely in doubt from the get-go.
ESPN3 broadcast team Amy Audibert and Sal Capaccio frequently referenced Bowling Green Jennifer Roos' assertion that the Falcons needed 10 made threes to be competitive in the game. UB enjoyed a double-digit lead for much of the contest, and BG was really only as close as they were thanks to 6-15 shooting from outside. Inside the arc, the Falcons were just 5-21.
The other hallmark of the game was the Buffalo defense, which in the first 12 minutes of the game held the visitors to separate five- and four-minute scoring droughts in building a 35-21 halftime lead. At both ends the Blue and White dominated down low, holding a 26-0 advantage in the paint and only leading by 14 because of BG's 3-8 shooting to UB's 1-9 from three.
Out of the break Bowling Green hit a few threes and capitalized on four Buffalo turnovers in short succession to draw within 11. (It sounds silly but it was mildly concerning at the time.) From then on, though, UB pressured the visitors' short bench for an 11-1 run that pushed the lead to 22 and effectively iced the game with 10 minutes to go.
The final 21-point margin was built on an especially balanced offense and another huge day from Kristen Sharkey, who, I don't have anything more to say. Today it was 18 points, 7 boards, and a team-leading 5 assists.
UB also got big games from Alexus Malone (12 points, 8 rebounds) and Mackenzie Loesing (13 points on 11 shots), while Stephanie Reid, playing with a mask after breaking her nose against Toledo, had an efficient 7 points on 3-5 shooting to go with 4 assists.
From a team perspective, UB had a massive 37-24 rebounding advantage and a 40-4 advantage in points in the paint. They never trailed.
Buffalo is now 6-4 in the MAC and next hits the road for the Akron Zips. Akron is one of two teams ahead of UB in the MAC East and a critical game for the Bulls if they figure to claw back into position for a bye in the MAC Tournament for the second consecutive year.