Women’s basketball: ‘Cats start strong but stall out in second half

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The Ohio women’s basketball team will have to wait until it is on the road again to earn its first road victory of the season after the Bobcats fell to the Cleveland State Vikings 66-56 at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday night. 

The Vikings came out the gate with a bit of fury and took an early 8-1 lead, but it wasn’t long before the Bobcats were clawing their way back and cutting down Cleveland State’s lead. A three-pointer by Erin Balies tied the game up at 17 with less than 10 minutes left to go in the first half. Bailes led the Bobcats in scoring with 13 points. The sophomore was 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

Ohio took its first lead of the game after a steal and break away layup by Shavon Robinson. Robinson had 10 points for the ‘Cats. Ohio rode on the wake of its high-energy wave for the remainder of the first half and went into the locker room leading 27-21.

“What got us going first half is that defensively we were in tune,” said head coach Semeka Randall, explaining Ohio’s early success.

But the second half was a different story.

“In the second half, we came out a bit flat [on defense] in the first four minutes,” Randall said.

Also causing problems for the ‘Cats in the second half was CSU’s newfound energy. Halfway through the second half, CSU had regained its lead, and the composure that was not present for the team in the first. A 16-4 run within a seven-minute time span put the Vikings up 45-41. The Bobcats kept themselves within range, but CSU’s efforts proved to be too much. Shalonda Winton led all scorers with 19 points, and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Center Destinee Blue scored 14 points (all in the second half) and proved to be a player Ohio couldn't deal with for much of the game.

“They shot 60 percent in the second half, where we shot 30 percent, so that’s tough when you’re shooting that type of percentage,” said Randall, commenting on the Bobcats’ lack of offensive production late in the game. Yet, Randall has not lost any hope in this young team.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I’m still very inspired with this team because I thought we fought hard,” Randall said.

Ohio will head back to its home court on Friday as the Penguins from Youngstown State come to town to kick off the Bobcats' three-game home stand. Friday’s game is also the 1000th game in Ohio program history. Ohio hosts San Francisco in an afternoon affair on Sunday at 2 p.m. and then Niagara next Tuesday at 7 p.m.