FAIRBORN — It was Education Day Tuesday as thousands of students from the area filled the Nutter Center as Wright State hosted Bowling Green in women’s basketball.
And the Raiders learned plenty in a 69-48 loss to the Falcons — their first at home this season — in front of a record crowd of 7,547.
“I think we learned that we have to be consistent,” Coach Kari Hoffman said. “We have to be more consistent quarter-to-quarter … that’s not a surprise to us. This has happened before. It takes a little bit for us to get going and so I think being aggressive out of the gate needs to be our focus a little bit more.”
Wright State scored 10, 4, 26, and 8 points in each quarter and made just 13.3 percent of its shots in the second and fourth while failing to get to the free throw line until the second half.
“I think there’s a difference in how we’re driving the ball in the third and fourth versus the first and second and we’re way more aggressive as the game moves along,” Hoffman said. “We need to fix that and make sure we don’t have those lulls in the quarters we have them.”
The aggressiveness in the third quarter almost brought the Raiders back from a double-digit deficit. Down 24-16 to start the third and 41-23 midway through after a three pointer by Morgan Sharps, Wright State cut it to 11 with a 7-0 run, fueled by Rachel Loobie inside the paint (four points) and Layne Ferrell from long range (three points).
The Falcons (6-2) built the lead back up to 15, but the Raiders cut it to 11 two more times — once after a three-pointer by Cara VanKempen with 1:16 left and again after a layup by Kacee Baumhower with 28 seconds left. But Sharps hit a three pointer as time expired in the third to give BG a 54-40 lead after three.
The Raiders (6-4) missed just one shot in those final five minutes and made four of seven from the line. But they missed a layup and three pointer to start the fourth and the BG lead never dipped below 12 again.
“Eventually we got to the free throw line in that second half and it did help us slow the game down a bit,” Hoffman said. “We just wish we could have done that a little earlier. I felt like we were right there. We were one or two possessions away from being right in this game. It was about 10-point game the majority of the way. We just couldn’t get over that hump. We just didn’t execute great. Offensively it was a bit difficult.”
The Raiders shot just 28.6 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from three-point territory.
“I think it’s a bad day to shoot bad,” Hoffman said. “We missed a lot of good threes that we normally make. If we make three more of those at the right time, it’s a one-possession game. Instead we miss them and then we’re pressing a little bit. I think that was the difference.”
The attendance number broke the previous record of 4,762, set Dec. 31, 2001 when No. 1 UConn beat WSU, 97-39.
“Great job by our administration for getting all of these elementary and middle schools here,” Hoffman said. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere out there. Thank you for all the kids that were cheering for us. I think it was one of those situations where we knew it was going to be a tough game. I scheduled it that way on purpose, hoping that we could have the home crowd on our side. They did their part.”
Ferrell finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Loobie had 14 and six. Sharps finished with 19. Former Centerville standout Amy Velasco added 11 points for BG.
Wright State’s next game is Monday, Dec. 18 at West Virginia, followed by games against Wyoming and Presbyterian Dec. 21 and 22 in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Tournament.
Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.