Corie Buchanan hit the go-ahead shot with 4.6 seconds remaining, and the Western Michigan University women’s basketball team pulled out a 55-54 thriller Sunday at home over one of the top teams in the conference, Bowling Green.
It was the second straight win in conference play for the Broncos, and they are now 4-6 in the MAC.
Marquisha Harris led the Broncos with 13 points and ten rebounds for her forth double-double of the season.
Miracle Woods added eight points and six boards, and A.J. Johnson recorded eight points, three assists and three steals.
The Broncos connected on a season-high 50 percent of their shots on 22 of 44 tries from the field.
WMU turned the ball over 20 times and gave up 22 offensive rebounds, but they were stout defensively, limiting BGSU to 17.9 percent shooting on 39 field goals in the first half and 27.1 percent for the game.
The Broncos were physical and relentless on the defensive side of the ball and it seemed to get in the head a little bit of the Falcons players.
‘’Sometimes when we have trouble scoring, Coach says to focus on one thing you can control and that’s defensive effort,” Johnson said.
“Every loose ball has to be ours,” Harris said.
“Everyone wants to turn the corner on this team and it’s going to take every piece of energy we have.’’
The Broncos got out to a commanding 24-10 lead after Miracle Woods hit a layup with 5:05 to go in the first half, but the Falcons found a way to narrow the gap and finished the period on a 12-2 run to make it 26-20 going into halftime.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle. Jill Stein scored on a layup with 8:18 remaining to put the Falcons on top 44-42 for their biggest lead of the game.
WMU responded with a three by Jazmine Windham followed by a short jumper by Aurielle Anderson to go ahead 47-44 with 5:46 to play.
The Broncos were up 53-51 with 47 seconds to go and the Falcons with possession.
Chrissy Steffen misfired on her three-point attempt, but BGSU secured the offensive rebound and dished to Jillian Halfhill who hit a tough three to put the Falcons up 54-53.
The Broncos had 16 seconds to come up with a basket. They tried to find Harris but she could not get open, so Buchanan had the ball in her hands and it was up to her to make a play. She drove hard to her right and jump-stepped to the rim with two defenders in her face and sunk a tough floating layup with 4.6 seconds left.
The Falcons inbounded the ball and Steffen launched a half-court prayer wide right of the basket as the buzzer sounded and cheers from the crowd poured in.
Coach Shane Clipfell shuffled up the starting lineup once again for this game, and he believes the effect has been positive for his players rather than negative.
“I really feel like this could be a telling point for us,” he said.
“I really feel like this team is not only closer to understanding their roles, but more importantly accepting their roles we’re putting them in. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.”
Alexis Rogers and Steffen scored ten points apiece for the Falcons, and Deborah Hoekstra chipped in 11 off the bench.
WMU will play its next game Saturday at Ohio at 4 p.m.