Published Tue, Feb 21, 2012 8:51 pm Dateline
On January 12, Bowling Green beat Ohio 61-49 because of a 10-0 run late in the game.
Does this scenario sound familiar? That’s probably because it is.
The Bobcats (12-15, 5-8 MAC) have not had a victory over the Falcons (22-4, 12-1 MAC) since the 2008 MAC Tournament semi-finals and the majority of these losses have been the result of a Bowling Green scoring burst toward the end of the game.
Although they try not to let it affect the upcoming game, the coaches and players are aware of this pattern.
“When they get on runs, when they hit that big shot, it’s a whole other can of worms. They take that energy and they go to another level,” senior Tenishia Benson said in describing the Falcons. “That’s what they do. They go off at critical times. They’re like that 4th quarter team and so we have to contain that and not let them go off like that at all.”
In order to overcome its eight game losing streak to Bowling Green, Ohio must retain its focus throughout the entire game. They need to push through their fatigue and control the momentum swings that are certain to occur.
Head coach Semeka Randall says, “You just gotta will yourself to win in that situation.”
Randall also noted that it is an advantage that tomorrow’s game will be played at home rather than on the road. The players are more comfortable on their own court and perform better statistically. At home, the Bobcats are 10-5 and force their opponents into 1.2 more turnovers per contest. The Bobcats hold their opponents to an average of 55.1 points in the Convocation Center - a number significantly lower than their overall average of 61.4 points allowed per game.
If the season were to end today, Ohio would be the eighth seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament, and would play a home tournament game. Ohio needs to win two games in its last three to assure itself of a top-eight seed. The 'Cats would still have a chance at receiving a home game if it won one of its last three, but if that were the case, the Bobcats would need help from other teams.
A win over Bowling Green (top-70 national RPI) would be a statement win for the program.
“They have a culture of winning. They have the mentality of winning,” Benson said. “I don’t think I’ve beaten Bowling Green since I’ve been here. That’s a problem for me. That is a huge problem."
Benson and her teammates will get their chance to change that tomorrow as the Bobcats host the Falcons at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center.