Sydney Lambert v Bradley - Nov 15 2015 - Larry Clapper
Larry Clapper
Cincinnati native Sydney Lambert & the Falcons face the Bearcats Saturday afternoon (Larry Clapper photo)

Women's Basketball BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (BGSU Athletic Communications)

Falcons Face UC Saturday in First Road Game of Season

BGSU battles Bearcats in meeting of 2-0 teams

The Bowling Green State University women's basketball team hits the road for the first time in the 2015-16 campaign. The Falcons of head coach Jennifer Roos will travel down I-75 to face the University of Cincinnati in a Saturday (Nov. 21) contest. The Falcons and Bearcats, both 2-0 on the young season, will meet in a 2:00 p.m. start at Fifth Third Arena (13,176).

GAME NOTES: BGSU | Cincinnati
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• Freshman Carly Santoro scored all 10 of her points in the game's final 5:19, leading a fourth-quarter uprising as the Falcons downed visiting Bradley, 66-53, Sunday afternoon (Nov. 15) at the Stroh Center.

• Fellow Falcon freshman Sydney Lambert led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points, while fifth-year seniors Erica Donovan and Lauren Tibbs added 13 and 12, respectively. Tibbs had a double-double, with a game-high 12 rebounds as BGSU owned a commanding 55-31 advantage on the boards, and she also had four blocked shots.

• In addition to the four double-digit scorers, the Falcons got nine points from redshirt sophomore Kennedy Kirkpatrick.

•The Falcons trailed, 50-47, when Santoro checked into the game with 5:43 to go, but BGSU then proceeded to go on a 16-0 run, beginning with a driving layup by Lambert. Then, Santoro went to the ground to come up with a steal in BG's defensive end, ran the floor, took a pass from Lambert and drilled a three-pointer from the corner that gave the Falcons a 52-50 lead with 5:19 left.

• With just over three minutes remaining, Santoro came up with a long defensive rebound, drove the length of the court and flipped a pass across the lane to Tibbs for a transition layup and a four-point lead. Then, Santoro stole the ball from Whitney Tinjum at midcourt and headed in for an uncontested layup and a 56-50 advantage.

• Santoro and the Falcons increased that lead to nine points when senior Miriam Justinger found the freshman in the left corner for a three-pointer with 1:40 on the clock. BG forced a miss at the other end, and the ball went out of bounds to the Falcons. On the ensuing inbounds play, Donovan fired an overhead pass to Santoro, who was ahead of the pack. With a Bradley defender on her heels, the Bellevue native grabbed the ball and laid it up and in for an 11-point lead. Lambert hit a pair of free throws to conclude the 16-0 run with 41 seconds to go.

• BGSU outscored Bradley, 22-6, in that fourth quarter.

• BG shot 36.8% on the day, while holding BU to just a 27.3% success rate. Ten of the Braves' 18 successful field goals came from beyond the arc, as BU was 10-for-32 from long range. The Falcons were 5-of-20 from long distance, with Lambert and Santoro hitting two apiece.

• BG went a scorching 19-for-20 from the free-throw line. The Falcons made 18 consecutive shots from the stripe before missing with 20.8 seconds to go. BU was 7-of-11 from the line.

• The home team also enjoyed advantages of 32-12 in points in the paint, and 15-2 in second-chance points. In addition to the 12 rebounds by Tibbs, the Falcons got seven boards from Donovan and six from both Justinger and junior Abby Siefker.

Several members of the BGSU women's basketball program have ties to the city of Cincinnati and/or the Bearcats...

• Freshman Sydney Lambert's first collegiate road game probably won't seem like a road game, as it will be played in her hometown. Lambert, a native of Cincinnati (obviously), is a graduate of McAuley High School. She helped the Mohawks to a 22-4 overall record and a Girls' Greater Catholic League co-championship last year.

• Assistant coach Sahar Nusseibeh spent two seasons (2009-11) as a graduate assistant on the UC women's basketball staff. Nusseibeh joined the Bearcats' staff after graduating from American University in the spring of 2009.

The Falcons are off to a 2-0 start for the third time in the last four seasons since  Jennifer Roos became head coach, but BG has won the first two games of the year for only the fifth time in the last 18 seasons. The best start to a season in school history came in 2005-06, when BGSU won eight-straight games to begin the year, en route to a 28-3 final record and a trip to the NCAA Championships.

Freshman Sydney Lambert got her collegiate career off to a solid start. Lambert scored in double digits in each of her first two games as the Falcons opened the season with a pair of wins. Lambert averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in BGSU's wins over Illinois State (70-52) and Bradley (66-53).

• Lambert led the Falcons in scoring, assists and steals (1.5 spg) in the opening weekend, shooting .474 from the field, including a 4-for-8 performance from three-point land. She also paced BGSU in three-pointers made in the two games.

• Her well-rounded stat line in her collegiate debut included 13 points, four rebounds, a game-high five assists, a BG-best three steals and a blocked shot vs. ISU. Two of those steals came on back to back possessions, leading to a pair of three-pointers as BG went on a 21-0 run in the second quarter to seize control of the game. Then, two days later, Lambert had a team-leading 14 points in the Falcons' 66-53 win over Bradley. 

* Over the first three-plus quarters of Sunday's Bradley game, freshman Carly Santoro played a total of two minutes. But, Santoro changed the game when she checked back into the contest in the fourth quarter. Santoro scored 10 points in the game's final 5:19, leading the Falcons to a 66-53 win.

• When Santoro checked back into the game with 5:43 to go, BGSU proceeded to go on a 16-0 run. She played a total of eight minutes in Sunday's game, and went 4-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point land. She also had an assist and a pair of steals.

• The Falcons outscored the Braves, 21-3, when Santoro was on the court.

As mentioned, freshman Carly Santoro scored 10 points in just eight minutes of action in the Bradley game. In her first two career games, Santoro has scored 15 points in a total of 20 minutes.

• Bowling Green enters Saturday's Cincinnati game with a record of 2-0 on the young season. The Falcons posted two wins in a three-day span, downing both Illinois State and Bradley by double digits at the Stroh Center last weekend.

• Four players have double-digit scoring averages, led by a freshman. First-year Falcon Sydney Lambert has 13.5 points per game, and Lambert also leads the team with 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game. She has made a team-high four three-point field goals through two games.

• Senior Miriam Justinger is averaging 12.5 ppg, and also has 6.5 rebounds per game along with 2.0 apg. Fellow senior Erica Donovan has 11.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg. Donovan also has 2.0 assists per game, along with 1.0 blocked shots per contest.

• Senior Lauren Tibbs has 10.0 ppg and a team-leading 8.0 rpg through her first two games as a Falcon. The Marquette transfer is shooting 53.3 percent from the field, and leads the Falcons with 3.0 blocked per game.

• Freshman Carly Santoro and redshirt sophomore Kennedy Kirkpatrick have 7.5 and 7.0 ppg, respectively. Santoro is shooting 60.0% from the floor to date.

• Juniors Rachel Konieczki, Abby Siefker and Ashley Tunstall and sophomore Rachel Myers each have played in both games to date. Siefker has 5.0 rebounds per game and is second on the Falcons with 1.5 blocks per outing, while Tunstall has 4.5 boards per contest.

• Donovan, Justinger, Lambert, Myers and Tibbs each have started both games for the Brown and Orange this season to date.

• The Falcons are shooting 39.1% from the field, 27.9% from three-point land and an eye-popping 89.5% from the free-throw line. The opponents are shooting 30.0% from the floor, 24.5% from the arc and 68.2% from the stripe.

• BGSU has a scoring margin of +15.5 and a rebounding margin of +16.5. The Falcons have blocked 6.5 shots per game after averaging 1.5 bpg a year ago.

• Head coach Jennifer Roos and the Falcons returned a total of eight letterwinners, all of whom had started at least five games in their BGSU careers entering the season. That group included seniors Donovan and Justinger, juniors Konieczki and Siefker and sophomores Kirkpatrick, Myers, Sarah Baer and Haley Puk.

• Those eight returnees were joined by five newcomers, including a pair of transfers who were eligible to play immediately. The quintet of new faces includes Tibbs, Tunstall, Lambert, Santoro and Maddie Cole.

• Donovan was named to the Preseason All-MAC Team, despite missing most of last season due to injury. She was one of just two players conference-wide to be named to the preseason all-league team for the second-straight season.

• The 2014-15 Falcons went 9-21 overall after four players on the 12-woman preseason roster suffered season- or career-ending injuries, and a fifth missed the bulk of the conference schedule due to injury as well. The returning players entered the season with a combined total of 203 starts in the Brown and Orange.

• The Falcons have had success on the boards in the early going. BGSU outrebounded Illinois State by nine, 44-35, in the opener, and the Brown and Orange had a whopping 55-31 advantage on the glass in the Bradley game.

• BGSU's total of 55 boards vs. Bradley was the team's highest in nearly four years, since the Falcons had 60 rebounds vs. Madonna on Dec. 21, 2011. It was BG's highest total against a Division-I team in just under five years, since a 56-rebound night against Youngstown State on Nov. 17, 2010, at Anderson Arena. BGSU downed Madonna by 50 points and YSU by 46.

• BGSU's +24 rebounding margin vs. Bradley was the team's largest in exactly two years, since a 26-rebound advantage in a win over Niagara on Nov. 15, 2013. On that evening, the Falcons had 49 boards to NU's 23.

• Last season, the Falcons were sixth in the entire nation in free-throw percentage, shooting 77.0 percent from the stripe. And, if the first weekend of the season is any indication, the 2015-16 team has picked up right where the '14-15 team left off.

• BGSU shot 89.5% from the stripe over the first two games, going 34-for-38. The Falcons began the season by making 15-of-18 shots from the line (83.3%) at the line vs. Illinois State.

• Then, against Bradley, BG went 19-of-20. The Falcons hit 18 consecutive charity tosses to start the game, before missing a shot in the final minute. BGSU's 95.0% success rate in the Bradley game set a new Stroh Center record.

• The Falcons have made at least 70% of their free throws in 27 of the last 32 games, dating to the beginning of last season.

In just her second game as a Falcon, senior Lauren Tibbs had four blocked shots in BG's win over Bradley. It marked the first time in nearly five years that a BGSU player had at least four blocks, since Maggie Hennegan swatted four Cal State-Fullerton shots in a Falcon win at Anderson Arena on Dec. 4, 2010.

In addition to those four blocks, senior Lauren Tibbs had 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds vs. Bradley, for her first double-double as a Falcon and BGSU's first double-double of the young season.

• The Falcons had four first-year players on the floor in the latter stages of the fourth quarter Sunday vs. Bradley. Out of a timeout with 4:41 to go, freshmen Sydney Lambert and Carly Santoro were joined on the court by junior Ashley Tunstall and fifth-year senior Lauren Tibbs. Tibbs and Tunstall are each in their first year at BG after transferring from Marquette Univ. and Owens CC, respectively. Redshirt sophomore Kennedy Kirkpatrick was the fifth Falcon on the floor.

• That lineup played together for nearly a minute, before senior Miriam Justinger replaced Kirkpatrick with 3:50 left. The lineup included 80% newcomers until head coach Jennifer Roos made several substitutions with 2:27 to go. 

• That stretch of time coincided with the Falcons' 16-0 run that gave BG the lead for good.

• The Falcons have an overall record of 50-16 at the Stroh Center since the building opened prior to the 2011-12 season. While a 75.8% winning percentage is certainly impressive, BGSU's chances of winning at home have increased exponentially when the team scores at least 60 points.

• The Falcons scored over 60 points in each of last weekend's two wins. BGSU is now 47-2 (95.9%) when reaching the 60-point mark inside the Stroh, and BG is 29-2 when scoring at least 70 points, 12-0 when hitting the 80-point mark and 3-0 when reaching the 90-point plateau.

• BGSU is a perfect 18-0 when scoring between 60 and 69 points at the Stroh. The Falcons are 17-2 when scoring from 70-79 points in the building. The losses came to VCU (72-71) in the 2012 WNIT and to Akron (79-71) late last season.

Regardless of venue, the Falcons' chances of winning have significantly improved when the team scores 60 or more points. Last year, BGSU reached the 60-point plateau only nine times, including just twice after Christmas. The Falcons went 8-1 in such games last winter. Two years ago, BG scored at least 60 points 29 times in 35 games, going 27-2. This year, of course, the Falcons are a perfect 2-0 when reaching or surpassing the 60-point threshold.

• The Falcons had a 21-0 run in the second quarter of the Illinois State game, and a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter against Bradley. Through two games, BGSU has had three double-digit runs, while the opponents have had none.

• Last year, BGSU had a total of 12 double-digit runs, with two 17-0 runs and no other runs of more than 13 points. The opponents had a total of 17 double-digit runs vs. the Falcons last winter.

Senior Miriam Justinger led the Falcons with 19 points in the season opener vs. Illinois State, going 7-of-11 from the field including a 3-for-5 performance from three-point range. The 19-point total matched her 2014-15 season high, and her total of seven field goals made tied her career best.

The Falcons have outscored the opponents, 42-20, in the fourth quarter through the first two games of the season.

BGSU will be looking to extend an impressive streak on Saturday at Cincinnati. The Falcons have hit at least one three-pointer in each of the last 343 games. BG has not been held without a triple in over 10 years – since Feb. 12, 2005, at Akron, when the Falcons won, 61-52, despite going 0-of-13 from long distance.

Cincinnati, like BGSU, is off to a 2-0 start to the season. The Bearcats have posted a pair of single-digit wins at home, downing Saint Francis (Pa.), 93-86, and Northern Kentucky, 71-68. Sophomore guard Ana Owens had a monster game vs. SFU, with 25 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and the Bearcats had four double-digit scorers in each of the team's two wins. Owens leads the team in scoring (19.5 ppg), rebounding (9.5 rpg) and assists (5.5 apg). Senior guard Jasmine Whitfield has 17.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg, while fifth-year senior guard Alyesha Lovett has 16.5 ppg and 4.0 apg this year to date. Junior guard Bianca Quisenberry rounds out the double-figure scorers with 11.0 ppg. Head coach Jamelle Elliott returned six letterwinners, including three starters, from the 2014-15 team. The Bearcats went 8-23 overall and 4-14 in the American Athletic Conference a year ago. UC was picked to finish 10th in the AAC in 2015-16.

• The Falcons trail Cincinnati, 10-7, in the all-time series between the teams, but BGSU won the teams' most recent meeting. Last season, the Falcons began the second half on a 10-0 run, building a double-digit lead en route to a 66-55 win over UC at the Stroh Center (Dec. 7, 2014). Erica Donovan had a double-double in that win, with a game-high 17 points along with a BG-best 10 rebounds.

• Prior to last season, the Falcons and Bearcats had not played in nearly 12 years, since an 88-57 UC win in the Queen City during the 2002-03 season. That game was the Bearcats' most lopsided series win. The previous meeting was BGSU's most lopsided series victory, as the Brown and Orange posted a 105-78 triumph inside Anderson Arena in January of 1993.

• BGSU is 6-1 in home games (1-0 at the Stroh Center), 1-7 on the road and 0-2 in neutral-site meetings vs. UC over the years. Jennifer Roos is 1-0 against the Bearcats as a collegiate head coach.

Following the UC game, the Falcons will head to Wilmington, N.C., to play a pair of games in the UNCW Hampton Inn Thanksgiving Classic. BGSU will face Davidson on Friday (Nov. 27) and Jacksonville Saturday (Nov. 28), with both games set to begin at 12:00 p.m.
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