Slow Start Plagues Lady ‘Cats

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Ohio Women’s Basketball continued to struggle in Muncie, Ind., Saturday, as Ball State (8-11, 5-1) took down the Bobcats (5-13, 0-6), 77-46. Winless in the MAC, Ohio struggled early, letting the Cardinals jump out of the gate early to a 20-4 lead, an upper hand that did not dissolve throughout the day.

“It’s just very disappointing with the lackluster effort that we showed this afternoon…We just absolutely did not come out here ready to go,” head coach Semeka Randall said. Ohio shot 25 percent from the field and 13 percent from beyond the arc, both more than 25 percent worse than the Cardinals. Kiyanna Black was the only player in double-figures for Ohio, racking up 14 points in her 12th double-digit game this season.

Ball State got off to a hot start, pulling out to a 20-4 lead in the first 10 minutes of the first half. A seemingly helpless start forced Randall to sub in Ashley Jordan early in the game, but Jordan was taken out after missing two shots.  

A Bobcat team that has frequently allowed large scoring runs without a fight went on an infrequent scoring run of its own, going 18-7 in four minutes of play, its largest run of the day. The Cardinals, though, finished the half on a 15-5 run and led 42-27 at the half.  

Foul trouble seemed to characterize the second half for the Bobcats, as Ashley Fowler and Tina Fisher flirted with fouling out early. Only Fisher would foul out, finishing with 9 points on the day, all in the first half.

Ohio did cut Ball State’s lead to 10 with the score at 45-35 early in the second half, but the Cardinals only allowed 11 more points from the Bobcats for the rest of the game from that point forward, concluding with a 32-11 run.       

“We tried to adjust things and help them get ready to go and for them to come out here with this type of performance leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” Randall said. Again, we’re trying to help them out in this situation, but they’re not stepping up to the point where they have to help us out on the floor.”

The “situation” Randall refers is the plague of injuries Ohio has suffered recently, most notably in starter Shavon Robinson, who has sat due to a leg injury, and guard Mariah Byard, who suffered an ankle injury less than two weeks ago. Ohio has not won since an away game at Xaiver in early January.

The Cardinals had four players in double-digits, led by Brandy Woody with 23 points on 6-of-6 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line. After three wins in non-conference play, Ball State has climbed closer to a .500 level team and now holds one of the best records in the MAC at 5-1.

Ohio will have nearly a week to rest before its next road trip to Toledo (16-2, 4-1), who has the best overall record of any MAC team. The Green and White will return to the Convo Feb. 3 to take on Kent State.