Its been a while, but the opposing bench is back. For those of you who don't remember, we interviewed several writers from newspapers of schools the Hoosiers played. In our latest edition we talked to Andrew Harner the women's basketball writer for BG Views, the newspaper of Bowling Green State University. Here is the Q and A.
Above the Rim: Any updates on the status of Lauren Prochaska? How much will it hurt the team if she doesn't play?
Andrew: On Monday, Curt Miller said Lauren Prochaska has a 25 percent chance of playing but will be a game time decision. He also said she is toward the doubtful side of questionable. We do not receive daily practice updates, but if she doesn't practice, it is highly unlikely she'll play.
Prochaska is a great scorer, rebounder and defender. And while all three of those things will be missed in the game if she can't go, it's ultimately losing her 40 minutes of play. She has gone the full 40 minutes several times this season and replacing those minutes will be harder than replacing her scoring, rebounding and defense. Niki McCoy is likely to see more time on the wing and Sarah Clapper and Victoria McGowan will see increased minutes off the bench. The loss of backup point guard Jessica Slagle several games ago also hurts the team's depth.
Above the Rim: With winning the MAC regular season championships how close was this team to making the NCAA tournament and how big of a disappointment was it to end up in the WNIT?
Andrew: Had this team not been in the MAC, there is no doubt in my mind they would have made the NCAA Tournament. However, once they lost to Ball State, it was pretty apparent where BG would be playing. Miller even said after the BSU game he expected to play in the WNIT.
For the fans, players and coaches, not making the tournament was a big disappointment, but everyone is still happy to be playing in the postseason, especially after upsetting Syracuse last weekend. Would they rather have been playing Tennessee in Ball State's place? Certainly. But, it seems the team has come to terms with the fact they ended up in WNIT.
Above the Rim: What are the strengths of this team? The weaknesses?
Andrew: The Falcons are sound offensively and defensively and exceptional at the free throw line. Once this team gets into the bonus, free throws can propel them over the top. As a team, they are shooting 79.3 percent. The team has averaged 74 points per game while giving up just 61.6. BG can also hurt you from three with a 36.3 percent rate, including 43.4 percent from Tracy Pontius, who hit eight in a MAC Tournament game.
The team's biggest weakness is rebounding. On the season, BG has been outrebounded 1,234-1,200, which doesn't sound like much. But, the team has given up 455 offensive rebounds, 100 more than they have grabbed themselves. Miller has been stressing rebounding all season long and there has been improvement, but at the end of the day, that is an area where BG can be beat.
Above the Rim:Who are some of the key players and what make them so good?
Andrew:Prochaska is obviously one of the best all-around players in the MAC given her MAC Player of the Year award.
Pontius is a deadly shooter if she finds her stroke. As I mentioned, she hit eight three-pointers in one game and also scored 17 points, including five three-pointers, in one overtime period against Buffalo. She isn't afraid to take the ball to the hoop either. She is very quick up and down the floor, and her motor can last all 40 minutes.
Lindsey Goldsberry is perhaps a name Indiana fans don't know much about. However, she will sacrifice her body to get a loose ball or a jumpball without hesitation. She is a defensive genius. Last game, she went out with foul trouble, but she will likely be looking to provide fans with a final farewell. She goes out of her way to do all the little things the team needs to win the game.
Above the Rim: Talk about the atmosphere of Anderson Arena and how crazy of a place it is to play there and the home court advantage there?
Andrew:Anderson Arena is a little piece of women's college basketball heaven according to Miller. That is because when that building gets full, it gets really loud. Even Niki McCoy said she couldn't hear some the plays being called against Syracuse because of the noise. Not only are the fans loud and rowdy, they are very educated about the game and understand when the team needs them to cheer. The eruption following a big shot can be just as deafening as a crowd of 10,000. Because of those fans, Anderson Arena can be an intimidating place to play, and they are a lot of the reason BG has won 19 straight games there.
Above the Rim: What is your prediction for the game against IU? Score?
Andrew:I don't mean to be a homer, but I see BG pulling off this win with or without Prochaska. However, it's not going to be a walk in the park. BG 67, Indiana 63
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