BG! SU! What? BG! SU!

By Jeff Lippman - March 21, 2007


As the sounds of their fans chanting their school letters filled the Jack Breslin Center, the players, standing at halfcourt, taking bows and taking it all in, knew they had arrived.

This wasn't No. 2 Vanderbilt vs. No. 7 Bowling Green, no. This was simply the better team with the better players winning the game.

The Commodores might be champions of the mighty SEC, but in my mind and in the minds of the Falcon players and coaches, Bowling Green, champions of the MAC and the first-ever MAC team in the Sweet 16, knew they would win.

"We know we're one of the top 16 teams in the country," said the night's hero, senior leader Ali Mann.

Enough cannot be said of the determination on this team. And it all starts with the personalities.

Their coach, Curt Miller, stands about 5-feet-7--and that's being generous. A prouder coach there cannot be.

"Don't pinch me," he joked after the game.

It's not a dream, coach, you earned it.

Their star and go-to player, Mann, thrives with the ball in her hands and the game on the line. And that was apparent when, with seconds remaining and the game yet decided, she came off a pick and roll to the top of the key, took a pass from Kate Achter and drained the coffin-closing nail.

The point guard, Achter, is the scrappiest, toughest, smartest and black-and-bluest player I've seen yet this season. Her numbers aren't All-American, her heart is.

Even the two-headed center combo of Amber Flynn and Liz Honegger deserve all the credit in the world. Vanderbilt's centers, Carla Thomas and Liz Sherwood are much bigger, much stronger, but on this night at least, they weren't enough.

It's Flynn and Honegger in the Sweet 16.

In a tournament that has seen some major upsets in Ole Miss topping 2-seed and defending champ Maryland and Marist--who?--a 13-seed upsetting Ohio State and Middle Tennessee for their magically sweet run, it's Bowling Green who really belongs.

While Marist and Ole Miss are playing exceptional basketball, they still pulled major upsets.

Make no mistake, this was no upset and Bowling Green is no Cinderella.

They are just damn good.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:22 AM on March 21, 2007
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